There are plenty of bad Christmas songs, but queuing up a decent Christmas rock song around the holiday is an even tougher ask. That’s because artists in the genre tend to shy away from holiday material, no doubt believing it could tarnish their too-cool-for-school-as-well-as-sentimentality posture. But you can only play so much Bing Crosby and Mariah Carey, and there are more rocking gems out there, though they tend to ride under the radar.
Many rock icons have tried their hand at Christmastime staples, with mixed results. (Sometimes it is better to leave things to Crosby and the other classic crooners, after all.) But from Chuck Berry and Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen, guitar gods have successfully livened up the otherwise straight-laced proceedings, or at least given the tunes more personality. Meanwhile, other rockers have just gotten, well, a little weird with things, whether it’s peak Weird Al taking the piss, the Pretenders getting new wave, or Fall Out Boy shutting down any chance of mistletoe romance. All around, they prove that with the right imagination, you can inject a harder-rocking spirit into Christmas music—mall holiday playlists be damned.
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