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What we’re listening to this week #28 – the Alternative Christmas playlist

Welcome to this week’s Studio soundtrack which, of course, is a Christmas playlist with a Design Bridge twist – there’s no Slade, Pogues or Mariah to be found here. So sit back, grab something mulled (maybe a mince pie, too) and let your WWLTTW playlist curator Andy tell the story of this week’s festive playlist…


It’s the season to be jolly, with some snow, festive cheer and excess. Oh, and some of those sentimental Christmas movies on the Christmas 24 Channel.

Our brief for this week’s List is to create an Alternative Christmas, a slightly different take on the usual favourites that you’ve been hearing over the speakers of your favourite retail experiences.

So, this collection of 43 songs (one for every day of Christmas) is a spectrum from celebratory to cynical, from snowball fights to warm introspectiveness, all carefully constructed to suit however merry or humbug-y you feel throughout the holidays.

And be reassured that, like Groundhog Day, we’ll be back again next year and the year after, until we get it right.

If you haven’t heard the news then here’s an announcement. Blitzen Trapper – Christmas is Coming Soon:

Come on Sue and Sally, we’re going shopping before they sell out of everything. Tom Paxton – We are going to get our Christmas Tree:

Our first dose of winterness, coldness and beauty. Two Gallants – Winter’s Youth:

Just what is it that you want for Christmas? Aztec Camera – All I need is everything:

Why does everybody moan about Christmas? You should be grateful, you should be satisfied, but at least there’s a Returns Department. Tracey Thorn – Sister Winter:

There’s this girl we know who hangs out with shepherds. The Black Crowes – She Talks To Angels:

More about shepherds, who seem to be very popular at this time of year. And, if you haven’t got a squeezebox, it might not be too late to get one delivered. Kate Rusby – Sweet Bells:

If it does snow, please take the proper precautions (maybe a hat and gloves?). Yazoo – Winter Kills:

Here’s Mick and Keef and the boys with some words of warning if you don’t get your beloved some of those gloves and a hat. The Rolling Stones – She’s So Cold:

For when that snow turns to rain. Although we do wonder that a certain soda brand hasn’t managed to turn the Blues into Reds. Canned Heat – Christmas Blues:

Look Lyle, no one thinks you’re stupid, honestly. A bit odd, maybe. Lyle Lovett – Christmas Morning:

Bruce, maybe you could cheer that old curmudgeon up? Can you tell him about the night being dark but the sidewalk’s bright and lined with the light of the living? Bruce Springsteen – Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out:

Should you wear bad Christmas jumpers? Here’s proof that you can wear black but “still keep your heart alive”. Siouxsie and the Banshees – Israel:

Don’t leave it too late to do the right thing. Don’t wait until the sleigh bells start ringing (at about 1:50) because it’s way too late by then. Steely Dan – Charlie Freak:

Let’s get back to traditional carols, the sort of thing you really want people singing loudly on your doorstep. The Dickies – Silent Night:

And another traditional carol (we got the jokes out of some cut-priced crackers). Chuck Berry – Carol:

Seriously, let’s get back to the traditions. And they don’t come more serious than this. Simon & Garfunkel – Silent Night/7 O’ Clock News:

Too much gin? Can’t remember what those Heralds were singing? Let us spell it out for you; G.L.O.R.I.A...


Mando Diao:


Laura Branigan:

For everyone who opens that present and can’t quite describe it, here’s Jim with some words that might help. James Morrison – You Give Me Something:

This is a sneak preview of the Eastenders Christmas Special. Rancid – Xmas Eve (She Got Up And Left Me):

Not dramatic enough for you? Perhaps the Eastenders’ scriptwriters should get this guy in to crank up the strife for next year. Tom Waits – Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis:

And this is perfect for Boxing Day. First Aid Kit – Winter Is All Over You (Baauer Remix):

If you would like some of that authentic First Aid Kit sound, look what we found. Lily & Madeleine – In the Bleak Midwinter:

Christmas can be a very depressing time of year, especially if someone buys little Dave, Martin and Andy those synthesisers they want – they’re going to drive Auntie Maud round the bend. Depeche Mode – Christmas Island:

Now remember, stick to woolly hats, gloves and socks, because not everyone wants you to pick out lingerie for them. Floyd Dixon – Empty Stocking Blues:

This is a public safety announcement. There is a Santa impersonator hanging around, be careful out there. JET – Back Door Santa:

Not sure if this Santa fellow is really someone you should be spending any time with. Mabel Scott – Boogie Woogie Santa Claus:

Would Phil Spector make the perfect Bad Santa? Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Death Cab for Cutie:

Darlene Love:

Don’t listen to us. You have to believe. If you don’t believe, Santa won’t come. New Order – True Faith:

Joni, we think your being unreasonable with this Christmas List of yours – how the hell are we going to get enough paper to wrap it? Joni Mitchell – River:

“The music’s kind of cheesy”. Oh, thank you, that was the sound we were going for. Have you tried the Eggnog? Sufjan Stevens – Lumberjack Christmas/ No One Can Save You from Christmases Past:

We could just get together and jump around a bit until we all fall over. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – This Time Of Year:

Not up for the endless partying, Eddie? Pearl Jam – Let Me Sleep:

There are important questions that need answers. Well, do you? Frozen – Do You Want to Build a Snowman:

It’s time to go home. Just a few more for the road before we leave.

Can’t you hear them bells a-ring and ring? Bill Monroe – Christmas Time’s A-Coming:

Well, goodbye old England until next year’s snow. Laura Marling – Goodbye England Covered in Snow:

“I’ll be back by Christmas”. Robert Wyatt – Shipbuilding:

If only. Jake Bugg – Happy Christmas (War is Over):

That’s it, kids. You open your presents while the grown ups nod indulgently and do that Bing Crosby, Rosemary Clooney, Danny Kaye thing that we do every year. Iggy Pop – White Christmas:

We found most of these tracks on Spotify and put them into a playlist so you can take them home for the holidays. It’s our gift to you. Subscribe to WWLTTW on Spotify here.

There’s nothing more for us to add, except to say go in peace and jingle bells to you all.

Good luck and goodwill.


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