Mixtape Mondays | Sad Santa

Monday, December 12, 2016 0 Comments A+ a-

A post by Charlie Hole,
a.k.a @charliehole

Christmas time can often get too jolly.

The shameless joy on a child’s face as they unwrap their presents, the unconstrained merriment of long-distance loved ones as they’re reunited after time apart, and the unforgivable levels of good-will aimed at unsuspecting strangers. It’s all a bit much, isn’t it?

If you’re finding yourself accidentally over-joyed this Christmas, pour yourself a vat of mulled wine, curl up around the fire and indulge in these festive heartbreakers to get your emotions back on an even keel.

What draws you in more in Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis, Tom Waits' piano or voice?

First down the chimney of despair, we’ve got The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl’s Fairytale of New York. By far the greatest Christmas song ever written and I’ll bare knuckle fight anyone who tries to tell me differently. If Christmas means anything to anyone, it means that Shane MacGowan is in a Dublin pub, toothless and shit-faced, drinking dry his royalties. And frankly, good luck to the bloke.

I heard that a publisher once offered The Pogues’ manager £60K for their back catalog. He said “You can have it for thirty”. The publisher was taken aback…

- But I just offered you double that?!
- I can’t give Shane MacGowan £60k, he’ll die... The man once left twelve-hundred quid in the back of a cab.

Now that’s probably not true. But who cares.

Some people complain he can’t sing, but these are people who’ve watched too much X Factor. People who judge "singing" on hitting all the notes in a scale or sounding like Mariah Carey. Singing is about so much more than that. It’s all about carrying an emotion, conveying real feelings and communicating truth. When Shane MacGowan sings “I love you baby”, it doesn’t sound cheesy in the slightest, you feel it in your actual gut, you believe him, and that’s what matters.

Ever heard Ronan Keating try to sing this song? It’s note perfect. And shit.

"You scumbag
You maggot
You cheap lousy faggot
Happy Christmas your arse
I pray God
It's our last"

Lovely stuff…

Next up from under the tree of misery is the Tom Waits’ classic, Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis.

Christmas Card.
From A Hooker.
In Minn-e-a-polis.

Show me a better song title and I’ll show you a liar.

But it gets better than the title, the song is a masterpiece. A letter from a prostitute about her pregnancy and her new boyfriend who "takes me out dancin’ every Saturday night". It’s the sweetest Christmas song about an escort you’ll ever hear. Fact.

At the end of the song there’s a twist and you find out none of the story is true, she’s just in prison and needs to borrow money to pay her lawyer. No-one writes in a more absurd way than Tom Waits and I just love this line right here about grease in hair.

"Hey Charley I think about you
Every time I pass a fillin' station
On account of all the grease
You used to wear in your hair"

The last song I want to show you from the stocking of suffering is River, by Joni Mitchell. Now, if this song doesn’t make you weep then you’re not allowed out in public. Go straight to jail and do not pass go.

Mixtape Mondays | Sad Santa

When she sings "It’s coming on Christmas, they’re cutting down trees", you realise what an intelligent songwriter Joni Mitchell is. She’s taken something usually associated with joy and happiness and turned it into a negative emotion. When she talks about the tree being cut down - rather than the tree being put up in people’s homes like a traditional Christmas song would - you see the whole thing from a different perspective. She turns convention on its head and draws you in to her world of heartbreak and loss.

"I'm so hard to handle
I'm selfish and I'm sad
Now I've gone and lost the best baby
That I ever had
I wish I had a river I could skate away on"

She’s self-deprecating, you sympathise with her, mourn with her. But it’s not just about the lyrics here. Her trembling falsetto will bring even the most fervent merrymakers to their knees. The power of music is incredible and Joni makes you feel it right where it hurts.

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the playlist, but not too much eh…

Merry Christmas x

P.S. If anyone has any suggestions for the playlist then stick a comment below or tweet me @charliehole and I’ll check it out!