It is time for our Sunday piece, Presented with Comment, where each week Michael and Nicholas La Torre take a turn engaging in a debate over alt topics of interest and gauging the audience's views on the issues at hand. To do this, the authors will present examples to support their opinions and not only get the audience's view on the two sides presented, but seek feedback from the audience on alternatives as well.
This week we are debating the best alternative Christmas song and we are doing it all in one article! We had one rule when we were considering this topic. We decided the song must be an original (i.e. no covers of old Christmas carols, etc.). With that, let's take a look at our choices!
Michael - The Killers: "Don't Shoot Me Santa"
When Nicholas presented this topic to me and we got the idea hammered out (sometimes the negotiations are lengthy), I immediately knew that "Don't Shoot Me Santa" by The Killers was going to be my choice. First, it's weird. I love weird. It combines some of the more melancholic pieces of The Killers' sound (Think "The Calling") with their more melodic stuff (i.e. any of their big hits).
The song was released as a digital download in 2007 and a portions of the proceeds benefited the Product Red charity which supports the global fight against AIDS. So it's existence even went to help a great cause! It was also The Killers second ever holiday single release.
The song features Brandon Flowers and "Santa" going back and forth in the verses about Flowers' character's behavior in the song, which he describes in the fantastic hook of the track:
"Don't shoot me Santa Clause
I've been a clean living boy
I promise you, did every little thing you ask me to
I can't believe the things I'm going through
Don't shoot me Santa Clause
No one else around believes me
But the children on the block they tease me
I couldn't let them off that easy"
The chorus of this song is another big reason why I like it so much. So many holiday songs feature tales of joy, etc. Hardly ever do we get to hear of someone trying to atone for bad choices or decisions, except for that one "I Ain't Getting Nothing for Christmas" song, but let's face it, that song is awful. Maybe it's because I'm Mr. Negativity, but I want to hear about the dark side of Christmas. Hell, I would kill for a song about Krampus. Maybe that's why people call me the Grinch all the time, but I feel bad people deserve their comeuppance and if Brandon Flowers was the one to deliver it, then so be it.
In all seriousness, I hope everyone has a great holiday season and don't forget to check out the video for "Don't Shoot Me Santa" that I included below, it's great.
Nicholas - Fitz and The Tantrums: "Santa Stole My Lady."
I'm glad Michael and I chose recent works to submit for this category. One of the things I can't stand about Christmas is that so many people are afraid to stray from tradition. We didn't want to talk about 75-year-old songs sang by your favorite country artist or anything like that. The great thing about alt music is that while some aspects have been around forever, many fans of modern alt are younger. This song just turned 8 years old this year and is the perfect representation of The Tantrums' big band approach to the holidays. This track was released on the band's second EP release in November, 2010.
In this track, singer-songwriter Michael Fitzpatrick takes a jovial approach at the age ole concept of Santa Claus' influence and how if you aren't careful, he'll snatch your girl.
"Hey don't be fooled by these fairy tales
Watch out or he could do this to someone else
He took my girl and he made me cry
And that's the way I feel about Christmastime...
...Better hide your mistletoe
Break out your fire hose
Better hold your ladies close
Or before you know
You'll be all alone
You'll be all alone"
While one could read more into the track, such as whether this might be an upbeat approach to dealing with loss during the holidays, I take the meaning to be exactly as it is on the surface. Fitzpatrick is known at taking daring approaches to music, but he's also known as being an entertainer first, which is what this song aims to do.
The melody and beat are easy to follow with a great horn section that helps round out the track. Fitzpatrick's typical swing-esque performance follows the melody and beat perfectly. The song follows the typical format of a Fitz and The Tantrums song, which goes very well with holiday music. Take a listen and see why I think this is the best alt holiday song.