This is not your father’s anarchic punk Christmas. The punks in the new holiday compilation from Fearless Records, Punk Goes Christmas, are a gentle lot content on cuddling warm embraces under the mistletoe and marveling over Santa’s solid gold Cadillac. These punks are moderate mainstream rockers with holiday songs more indebted to Brenda Lee than The Sex Pistols.
William Beckett’s “Do You Hear What I Hear?” is so void of irony, so traditional, you might as well be hearing it at Catholic Mass. Even Alvin and The Chipmunks probably have a more sparkling rendition of this religious chestnut.
There are more familiar punk leanings on Man Overboard’s snotty “Father Christmas,” with a jagged garage guitar backing up a leftist sentiment of an unfair Santa who gives “all the toys to the rich little boys.” The song is all about rolling Santa for his money and is as radical as this album gets.
Set It Off’s “This Christmas (I’ll Burn It to the Ground)” sounds more Halloween than Christmas. It offers a traditional version of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” morphing with a Gothic-dripping Christmas rampage concerning a can of gasoline. Not only does grandma get run over by a reindeer, she is burned alive at the stake.
But mostly these are safe radio-friendly songs your grandmother might tap her foot along to. New Found Glory’s “Nothing for Christmas” is an acoustic-strumming folksy love song about wanting nothing for Christmas because “I got what I needed … it’s you” (much like “I got you babe”). The Summer Set’s “This Christmas” is a slick and danceable glitter ball of kiddie techno culture. That is as fine as Top 40 radio gets.
Is this punk? Absolutely not. But it is a most agreeable grab bag of Christmas candy. These young punks still believe in Santa Claus.