You don’t have an outlet for your Christmas angst because all the ones in the house are plugged with string lights. And you don’t have a channel for your Yuletide rage because all that’s on TV is 24-hours of A Christmas Story. Here at Rawkcus, we’re helping you endure the most wonderful time of the year with twelve original, angsty Christmas tracks sure to spike your eggnog—and possibly shoot your eye out.
On the 1st day of Christmas: “Christmas By the Phone” by Good Charlotte
Twin brothers Joel and Benji Madden have never been shy about expressing their issues with their walk-out father in songs such as “The Story Of My Old Man” and “Emotionless.” The stripped-down bare-bones acoustic guitar and vocals in “Christmas by the Phone” captures the loneliness of not having family around for the holidays.
The Nutcracker: And now the mistletoe's hanging / For no reason at all / And all the presents are still wrapped / But you don't even call
On the 2nd day of Christmas: “Merry Flippin' Christmas (Happy Freakin' New Year)” by Bowling for Soup
With two Christmas albums under their big black belts, Bowling for Soup has a lot of “mothertrucking Christmas cheer.” What’s especially admirable about this repetitive yet jolly track is how ingeniously cheeky and half-assed the whole thing is to the point where the band even admits it in the second verse.
The Nutcracker: This is our second Christmas album / It's only got five songs or so / Most of them were made up / While in Boise, Idaho
On the 3rd Day of Christmas: “Ex-Miss” by New Found Glory
New Found Glory are probably the least-subtle in expressing their holiday angst, flat out stating, “This holiday is overrated” in the first line of the chorus. But the various bells that chime hopefully throughout the track hint that the band will still have some Christmas cheer in them once the puny “Ex-Miss” is out of the picture.
The Nutcracker: Another year, this time, I'll regret that I spent too much time and money on you
On the 4th day of Christmas: “Yule Shoot Your Eye Out” by Fall Out Boy
While the title of this FOB song gives a playful nod to the warning that haunts Ralphie throughout A Christmas Story, the lyrics in this acoustic tune ring more morbidly than the cheerful jingle bells sounding in the background. This effective blend of uplifting beats and cutting phrases is what brought the band to the forefront of emo pop, and as Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz harmonize, you can almost hear them thinking, “Please, oh please, DO shoot your eye out!”
The Nutcracker: And all I want this year is you to dedicate your last breath to me / Before you bury yourself alive
On the 5th day of Christmas: “Christmas Celebration” by Weezer
If you’re looking for a post-grunge, Christmas-themed fight anthem as background music to kicking hokey plastic yard decorations down, this is it. Lead vocalist Rivers Cuomo chants each verse as a hypnotic mantra countering the same old Christmas routine, as Patrick Wilson’s drum-slamming, cymbal-clashing can’t help but build up enough adrenaline to land the listener on Santa’s naughty list.
The Nutcracker: Carolers are singing / Registers ka-chinging / And the presents are in place / But I’d rather eat some mace / ‘Cos that eggnog always makes me sick
On the 6th day of Christmas: “My Christmas List” by Simple Plan
Even The Great White North can’t escape the all-consuming consumerism that accompanies Christmas mainstream every year. These Canadian punk-pop stars unabashedly demand just about everything that comes to mind just because it’s Christmas and, well, they can. It’s the kind of head-bobbing song to keep you awake as you slug through last minute shopping sessions – like the rhythmic tribal bloodlust of trampling feet at Walmart on Black Friday.
The Nutcracker: I want a lifetime supply / Of Skittles and Slurpees and Eskimo pies / I want a DVD / A big screen TV / Just bring me things that I don’t need
On the 7th day of Christmas: “Father Christmas” by The Kinks
The Ghost of Christmas Past digs some old-school, British angst with this 1977 single. The Kink’s “Father Christmas” harks back to when angst had nothing to do with not getting the girl or being understood. It’s about the universal, cultural hardship of class conflict, and is a rally cry for the lower class wanting what they really need—jobs and money—and not having their time wasted or their problems insulted on Christmas with “silly toys.”
The Nutcracker: Have yourself a merry merry Christmas / Have yourself a good time / But remember the kids who got nothin' / While you're drinkin' down your wine
On the 8th day of Christmas: “Christmas is Going to the Dogs” by Eels
Finally there’s an answer to whether or not dogs are as obsessed with the holiday season as their human companions are—and it’s “no.” Dogs are much happier with the simpler things in life: sitting by the fire, chewing on chew toys, and avoiding the whole mess. The subdued, melancholy vocals of E sing out for the canines who can’t express their Christmas woes. He’s backed by a steady rhythm that peaks for the chorus and is mixed with static and bells to achieve a wholly holiday sound.
The Nutcracker: Now when I sleep I like to dream / Of rabbits in the snow / Jumping right into my jaws / From their rabbit holes / Take one home and set him down / Right next to your shoes / Wake up to a big surprise / My gift to you
On the 9th day of Christmas: “Don't Shoot Me Santa” by The Killers
If the title isn’t enough to pique your curiosity, then maybe you should skip down to the next song. The Killers begin with a sung dialogue between lead vocalist Brandon Flowers and featured artist Ryan Pardey as “Santa,” and takes a sudden twist both lyrically and musically when it’s revealed that “Santa’s got a bullet in his gun.” The remainder of the song has Flowers begging for his life with recurring dismissals from Pardey. It’s delightfully absurd, unexpected, and unprecedented, and will leave you wondering above all, “Why?”
The Nutcracker: Oh Santa / I've been waiting on you / 'That’s funny kid / Because I’ve been coming for you'
On the 10th day of Christmas: “I Won't Be Home for Christmas” by Blink-182
A middle finger to the heartfelt wartime classic, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” this tune is everything we could have hoped for in a Blink-182 holiday song. Its angry energy vibrates through every chord and lashes out against the hypocrisy of being “nice to the people you can’t stand all year” just for the holidays—so much so that the narrator winds up in jail, asking only for bail.
The Nutcracker: You people scare me / Please stay away from my home / If you don’t wanna get beat down / Just leave the presents and then leave me alone
On the 11th day of Christmas: “Merry Christmas, Kiss My Ass” by All Time Low
If it were possible to ignore all the references to Christmas, this song is one that’s worth using to fuel your angst year-round. Alex Gaskarth lures us into comfort in the first verse with soft vocals that sound like the prancing and pawing of little hooves before slamming down the clatter on the chorus backed by Jack Barakat. Together they put everything you want to say at the end of a “trashy” relationship into a tried-and-true three-word package—“kiss my ass.”
The Nutcracker: I’m jingle belling / And everyone’s yelling / We’ll drink 'til the bars shut us down / Ain’t that just what Christmas is all about?
Holiday Bonus: It’s worth watching the meltdown of Stuart the Office Puppet in the equally-fun music video.
On the 12th day of Christmas: “Every Snowflake Is Different (Just Like You)” by My Chemical Romance
This unexpected MCR holiday treasure is the musical equivalent of hiding a pickle in a Christmas tree. “Every Snowflake Is Different (Just Like You)” was first performed on the Children’s show, Yo Gabba Gabba!, though it doesn’t sound unlike something the band would release on their own. It’s a celebration of individuality, and taken out of the context of a kid’s show, it’s a humorous, self-deprecating throwback for 20-somethings who spent their emo years hanging on Gerard Way’s every theatrical word. At only a minute and a half long, the song leaves you wanting much, much more.
The Nutcracker: Different shapes and different size / Like every star up in the sky / Every snowflake's different just like you
Holiday Bonus: Watch the band dress up in brightly colored snowsuits and jump up and down with cartoonishly-big grins on their faces in an emo winter wonderland.