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December 20, 2018

This Christmas Playlist

This Christmas Playlist

The Low-fi team
BACKSTAGE — PLAYLIST

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This week’s post is a Christmas playlist. It’s this time of the year. But don’t fret, Mariah Carey, George Michael and the likes are nowhere to be found. Instead, you can be sure that the Low-Fi Backstage team has put together some gems you’ve never heard of or had forgotten about.

Thank you all for a great 2018! We can’t wait to cook up some more music shenanigans in 2019.

Anders: Noël sous les tropiques by Cœur de Pirate

It's French and quirky but I *like* French and quirky.

The song title translates to "Christmas in the Tropics" and is from an EP with sad Xmas songs that I stumbled over by an accident. I'm usually a pretty happy person but I love weepy indie music. The singer possesses a Vanessa Paradis kind of quirkiness and the only instruments are a ukulele and a Hammond organ. Take that as a recommendation or a warning.

(If you are into more traditional take on Christmas, check out Nat King Cole’s rendition of "O Holy Night")

Delia: Merry Something to You by DEVO

Okay, I confess: I *actively* look for preposterous or weirdly endearing songs to add to my awkward Christmas playlist. In last year's Christmas playlist, I set out on the mission of spreading the trippy cheer of Sufjan Stevens and, I admit: it was tempting to go down the same path. But, not long ago, a 99% invisible podcast episode about Devolutionary Design drew my attention to one of the most misunderstood bands of all times: DEVO (stop laughing and search for it). That particular research rabbit hole is why I'm able to bring you this gem:

"Merry Something to You" keeps it short and sweet and brings on far less pressure than the politically correct title seems to suggest. So, to quote the greats:


"Eat, bite, drink up, nibble, gobble, chew

Happy Holidays!

Believe what you want to, nothing's really true

Happy Holidays!"

Troels: Gremlin Credits by Jerry Goldsmith

When you think of Christmas, you may not immediately think of small evil creatures. For me, however, watching Gremlins has been a Christmas tradition ever since we recorded it on VHS when I was a child. While other people listen to Mariah Carey, I sit back and enjoy the carnage as the nasty gremlins do their best to ruin the holiday season for everyone through sabotage, trickery and a little bit of murder.

This version starts with a catchy up-tempo combination of synth and orchestra dominated by brass instruments, representing the carnage of the gremlins, then makes a couple of transitions into softer orchestrated themes representing the adorable mogwai before ending on the original. Fun fact: I heard this played live by an orchestra at DR Koncerthuset. It was glorious.

Jana: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses

For the past 13 years I’ve had this little tradition where I put together a new Christmas playlist every year. The songs on there don’t necessarily have to be Christmas songs as such. As long as they sound like falling snowflakes and twinkling lights, they pass the test. So when creating one of these yearly playlists, I accidentally stumbled on the American new wave slash post-punk band The Waitresses and what turned out to be one of their smash hits Christmas Wrapping.


This song was released way back in 1981 when the band’s label was putting together a Christmas compilation from the artists on their roster (yes, before Last Christmas had even happened). The Waitresses’ guitarist Chris Butler quickly threw together some of his unused riffs, wrote the lyrics in a taxi on his way to the studio and voila - one of the coolest Christmas songs was born. The story in the lyrics is funky; a busy single woman, who is a total Christmas-sceptic turns into a happy Christmas enthusiast.That combined with the cathartic trumpet interlude in-between verses just makes you want to get up from your seat and throw your arms in the air as a true gospel choir singer. This tune restored my belief in good, down-to-earth Christmas songs.

Jana: Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses

For the past 13 years I’ve had this little tradition where I put together a new Christmas playlist every year. The songs on there don’t necessarily have to be Christmas songs as such. As long as they sound like falling snowflakes and twinkling lights, they pass the test. So when creating one of these yearly playlists, I accidentally stumbled on the American new wave slash post-punk band The Waitresses and what turned out to be one of their smash hits Christmas Wrapping.


This song was released way back in 1981 when the band’s label was putting together a Christmas compilation from the artists on their roster (yes, before Last Christmas had even happened). The Waitresses’ guitarist Chris Butler quickly threw together some of his unused riffs, wrote the lyrics in a taxi on his way to the studio and voila - one of the coolest Christmas songs was born. The story in the lyrics is funky; a busy single woman, who is a total Christmas-sceptic turns into a happy Christmas enthusiast. That combined with the cathartic trumpet interlude in-between verses just makes you want to get up from your seat and throw your arms in the air as a true gospel choir singer. This tune restored my belief in good, down-to-earth Christmas songs.

Erika: Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano

Sometimes, you just have to go with the classics. Feliz Navidad is the soundtrack of the figurative and literal peak of my high school crush and it brings back memories of those giddy times every year.

It was the winter of 2009. Blushing cheeks could finally be blamed on the cold air instead of teenage embarrassment. My class got the task to decorate the school’s Christmas tree. Tree-topper in hand, the tallest - and arguably handsomest - of my classmates climbed onto a chair, looking around for the lightest girl to carry. I couldn’t believe my lucky genes. Atop my crush’s shoulders, my uncontainable excitement was spilling out into a grin. It was a Christmas miracle. For three wonderfully unbearable years, it was the most physical contact we were to share.

But back to Feliz Navidad. Decorating the tree wasn't our only responsibility - we also had to sing a carol in front of the entire school. Perhaps it was my red coat that yanked me out of anonymity that yuletide, or maybe my head teacher’s obsession with empowering the quiet kids, but the next thing I knew was that I’m picking out the carol and leading a hoard of angsty teens in rehearsal. For a class studying six foreign languages altogether, a multilingual piece with few lyrics to memorize felt like the perfect choice. Carolling into the mics, we sounded less than angelic, but - under a self-inflicted confetti shower - we looked cuter than any chubby cherub.

Christy: Christmas (Baby please come home) by Darlene Love

There's a saying out there “an oldie but a goodie”. That saying definitely applies to this oldie as it is an obligatory Christmas classic!

The song itself is enchanting and laced with Christmas spirit. Darlene Love's passionate and strong vocals could hypnotize you into a cozy wintery-daze. If that wasn't enticing enough, there's also CHER and The Blossoms doing backing vocals. AND it may or may not have inspired another little Christmas song, you might have heard of, called “All I want for Christmas is you”.

Personally, Christmas has always represented being home with my loved ones. Recently, this has developed into a desperate need to be with my sweetheart for Christmas because, as the song suggests, Christmas just wouldn't be the same alone. I know. It's cheesy but isn't that what Christmas is about — embracing the cheese? Lucky for me, this year my baby will be home! Thanks, Santa!

Mihaela: My Little Drum by Vince Guaraldi Trio

I am embracing Christmas for the first time. I got my first Christmas tree as an adult. And, like, decorated it. That’s a big deal for someone who has been mostly ignoring or making fun of the holiday since they were 13. To give you an example, for last year’s Christmas song playlist, my entry was a song called “It’s Christmas and I hate you”.

However, as newly converted Christmas enthusiast (that’s a strong word) I am going for the classics. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a beautiful album and I had a hard time choosing one song, but “My Little Drum” always gets me excited, so I am going with it. There is something about that choir that builds up so much anticipation. Have a listen and get excited!

Here are all the entries in a neat Spotify playlist that is going to grow throughout the holidays as inspiration (and snaps) strikes.

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