by bryan russo

1.Christmas Time Again by Lynyrd Skynyrd

Released in 2000

Breakdown: Skynyrd shows the world what a Southern Christmas is all about, and it has nothing to do with sweet tea and the girl next door….more than likely, it’s about rebel yells and awkward silences around the supper table when the whiskey bottle is empty.

Key tracks: “Santa’s Messin’ With the Kid”, “Santa Wants Some Lovin’”

2. Christmas on Death Row by Various Artists

Released in 1996

Breakdown: Suge Knight wanted to showcase his second tier of Death Row Artists, and this is what they came up with. We wouldn’t pretend to make this up…it’s really out there.

Key Tracks: “Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto” by Nate Dogg and Snoop Dogg and the explicit versions of “Silent Night” and “Frosty the Snowman” by 6 Feet Deep. Seriously.

3. Romantic Christmas by John Tesh

Released in 1992

Breakdown: Remember that story where the man in some vowel state would go into convulsions every time he heard the voice of Entertainment Tonight co-host Mary Hart. Well, this twitching I feel behind my left eye when I hear smooth new-age hog-mog keyboardist and former tv personality John Tesh, could send listeners into a similar state of shaking.

Key Tracks: None….unless you like all instrumental versions of holiday classics as if you were getting a root canal in a dentist’s office or getting some sort of spa treatment.

If I’m being honest, I would rather hear a double box set of Mary Hart and nasally blowhard Pat O’Brien duets of Yanni classics than listen to this.

4. A Twisted Christmas by Twisted Sister

released in 2006 (we may never know why their label waited so long to release this little stocking stuffer)

breakdown: A rawkus Christmas highlighted by guyliner, leather pants, and screaming loud power chords. A sure-fire hit in high school metal shops around the holidays circa 1985-1989. Yet, due to release date missing the group’s stardom by almost two decades, they got the high school metal-heads after their dreams had been crushed and no one actually cared if they were in fact going to “take it anymore”, as they willingly have been taking it for years, most notably, from their jerk-off managers at Big Lots.

Key Tracks: The version of “O Come All Ye Faithful” put to the tune of…..wait for it, “We’re Not Going To Take It.”—How original.

5. Christmas in The Stars: The Star Wars Christmas Album

Released in 1996, but it was recorded in 1980.

Breakdown: This is a holiday miracle for geeks, dorks, sportos, motorheads, dorks, and dweebs (and maybe even sluts) all over the world, but the funny thing that the songs were written by someone with a Yale education, recorded by a chart topping disco producer, and featured a duet between C-3PO and an 18-year-old kid from New Jersey called Jon Bongovi (who later changed his name to Jon Bon Jovi). As Christmas album folklore has it, the aforementioned producer heard the young Jersey Boy sing (in between sweeping the floors in the music studio) and basically gave him his big break. So in essence, the same music studio that produced Bon Jovi’s 1983 breakout hit “Runaway” was also the same one used for recording “R2-D2’s We Wish You a Merry X Mas.”

Key Tracks: “What Do You Get a Wookie For Christmas (When He Already Has A Comb?)

Have a Happy Holidays, and if all else fails, get yourself a copy of the greatest Christmas album ever made: The Muppets Christmas with John Denver.

An album so awesome, even John Denver couldn’t screw it up.