Christmas time isn’t at all times so merry. Elevated contact with button-pushing members of the family? The monetary pressures of gift-giving? A continuing barrage of Mariah Carey’s “All I Need For Christmas Is You”? It’s sufficient to make you wish to a punch a snowman and rip the festive lights proper off your coworker’s cubicle.

Luckily on your interior Grinch, there are Christmas songs on the market that talk to not-so-jolly experiences round this time of the yr. Listed here are 5 new songs from 2014 — some originals, some covers — which you could play if you’re not feeling the vacation spirit.

The Killers, “Joel, the Lump of Coal”
If Frozen introduced the waterworks, keep away from the Killers’ newest Christmas track — it would immediate sufficient heat and salty tears to soften Olaf. The Killers have launched a brand new holiday-themed observe yearly since 2006, and whereas the fabric isn’t at all times uplifting — see final yr’s lonely “Christmas in LA” — no track of theirs has been as downright miserable as “Joel, the Lump of Coal,” about a little bit piece of anthracite who “simply desires to maintain Santa heat and make the elves cozy.” When Joel mistakenly believes he’ll grow to be a cherished Christmas reward for a fortunate boy or aim, he’s ridiculed by the elves — “What child would ever need you / You’re as filthy as might be” — earlier than studying a beneficial lesson about friendship. “Joel, the Lump of Coal” is likely to be the one Christmas track to make you cry and train you a lesson in regards to the environmental risks of burning fossil fuels.

Sam Smith, “Have Your self A Merry Little Christmas”
“I’m going to placed on some Sam Smith to cheer myself up,” stated nobody ever. With songs like “Keep With Me” and “I’m Not the Solely One” below his belt, the soulful British singer is extra prone to soundtrack a dismal night time in than a festive vacation gathering. “Have Your self a Merry Little Christmas” doesn’t have essentially the most uplifting again story to start with — within the 1944 movie Meet Me in St. Louis, Esther (Judy Garland) sings it to her daughter, Tootie, to raise her spirits after Tootie’s father publicizes he’s leaving. But the 22-year-old’s tackle the track manages to make the melancholy track even sadder, in all probability as a result of it’s sung by somebody who despises Christmas music. “I hate Christmas songs, it’s true,” Smith stated throughout a current radio interview. “However [‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’] is the one track I’d ever try to sing, due to Judy Garland singing it.”

Liz Phair, “Ho Ho Ho”
The indie-rock queen’s first unique track since 2012 fulfilled a longtime want. “I’ve at all times wished to put in writing a dystopian Christmas track,” Phair stated in a press release about “Ho Ho Ho,” her contribution to Amazon’s All Is Vibrant playlist. “Holidays are a time of emotional turbulence, of unpredictable highs and lows. The retail and promoting sectors invoice it as the best time of the yr, however some seasons you’re saddled with an actual clunker!” A jagged guitar riff accompanies lyrics about but one other dysfunctional household gathering from the esteemed singer-songwriter: “All I wished was one excellent Christmas / all I received was some coal and a few switches,” Phair sings. No less than there’s a silver lining within the observe’s message — as she asks within the bridge, is anyone’s Christmas actually that excellent?

Mark Kozelek, “Christmas Time Is Right here”
Mark Kozelek writes songs that make you wish to name your loved ones and inform them how a lot you’re keen on them. On Benji, his sixth album as Solar Kil Moon, Kozelek confronted his personal mortality and the fragility of human life with heartbreaking monological elegies: on “Carissa,” he remembers his second cousin who died in a tragic freak accident, and on “Micheline,” he displays on the passings of his grandmother and a pricey buddy who had a mind aneurysm. So for those who thought this A Charlie Brown Christmas basic already provoked a whole lot of emotions, brace your self for Kozelek’s sparse, acoustic interpreation, full with the unique Charlie Brown dialogue: “I like getting presents and sending Christmas playing cards and adorning bushes and all that, however I’m nonetheless not glad,” Kozelek sings, “I at all times find yourself feeling depressed.” The track seems on Kozelek’s Christmas album, Sings Christmas Carols, which got here out in November.

Meghan Trainor, “I’ll Be House”
This isn’t a tragic track, no less than when it comes to its lyrics, however it can make you are feeling dangerous about all the tough stuff you’ve stated about Meghan Trainor for the reason that 20-year-old broke by with “All About That Bass.” (The track ended up on TIME’s High 10 Worst Songs of 2014 checklist.) Not like her hit single or its carbon-copy follow-up, “Lips Are Movin’,” there aren’t any handclaps or upright bass sounds on “I’ll Be House.” As a substitute, a easy piano ballad reveals off the singer’s voice (the prettiest it has ever sounded amid all her quasi-raps), her songwriting abilities (she penned the observe herself) and what seems like her ukelele abilities (an instrument she’s been recognized to play). The observe seems on Epic Information’ new compilation, the I’ll Be House For Christmas EP, which additionally options contributions from Fiona Apple, Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson.

Write to Nolan Feeney at nolan.feeney@time.com.



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