Indie Rock Christmas Cry-Fest

Tired of Happy Holiday Songs? Tune In and Sob With This Playlist.

“Hey Parker, It’s Christmas”
Ryan Adams
Written before the tragic break-up of alt-rock dream team Parker Posey and Ryan Adams, this song is sweet and just the right amount of sad—the precise recipe for a perfect holiday song.

“Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
Death Cab For Cutie
Weirdly sad Christmas song + eternally sad Ben Gibbard = One of the best covers of all time. No, seriously.

“Blue Christmas”
Bright Eyes
Arguably the best cover of the Elvis classic, making it number two in the “depressing bands covering equally depressing holiday songs” list. Also, it’s the very best song on all of Bright Eyes’ A Christmas Album.

“Listening to Otis Redding at Home During Christmas”
Okkervil River
Sure, Otis Redding sings his fair share of Christmas songs, but why listen to those when you could hear Will Sheff sing a super sad ditty about returning to your childhood home, wondering what it might have been like if you’d stayed there forever?
And hey, if you’re heading back to your parents’ place this weekend, it may start to hit a little too close to home.

“This Christmas Mix”
Louis XIV
Hailed by NME as “music to fail rehab to,” Louis XIV pulls a surprisingly jaunty move in this live Christmas song, where they don’t even swear once!

“It’s Christmas Time”
Yo La Tengo
In case you didn’t notice the overwhelming glee around you, Yo La Tengo will remind you, probably around 60 times, that it is, in fact, Christmas Time.

“Little Drummer Boy”
The Dandy Warhols
The only people that could ever make the word “drum” sound like some sort of vague drug reference.

“Christmas Party”
The Walkmen
Half spoken-word, half harmonic chorus of the drunken recounts of a Christmas party, this song is one you could probably convince even the Scroogiest of family members to sing along to.

“Xmas Cake”
Rilo Kiley
Beware: this is probably a bad song for students to listen to during the holiday season considering it talks about graduation, credit cards and loan debt, which could turn any Christmas party into an instant cry-fest. Thanks a lot, Jenny Lewis.

“Christmas Time Is Here Again”
My Morning Jacket
Almost comically similar to what one would imagine a My Morning Jacket holiday song would sound like—that being exactly like every other MMJ song ever recorded.

“Annunciation Day / Born on Christmas Day”
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
For the love of God, don’t play this around your religious grandparents. Ted Leo is punk rock.

“Joy to the World”
Sufjan Stevens
In case you didn’t know, Sufjan Stevens has released, like, a million Christmas songs for some reason. Here’s one of them.

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