It's the holiday season, which means Christmas music. Lots and lots or Christmas music, most of which was written before the people listening to it were even alive. While "Jingle Bells" and "We Three Kings" are great, and resilient, we're devoting this year to finding the best Christmas song written since 1989. We continue today with #8, and a novelty Christmas song for the modern era from Fountains of Wayne.
#8: Fountains of Wayne, "I Want an Alien for Christmas" (1997)
Last Christmas, I had the honor of interviewing Fountains of Wayne's Chris Collingswood and Adam Schlesinger about their band's two entries into the Christmas music canon. While Chris was more forthcoming about the inspirations and reactions to his song (the also-excellent "Man in the Santa Suit"), Adam revealed the single most surprising detail: "I Want an Alien for Christmas" was supposed to be a Hanson song.
Had it appeared on 1997's Snowed In, it still might've made the list. The song captures everything there is to love about fantastical gifts, and the novelty songs they inspire: tough-but-earnest requests, imaginitive lists of potential usage, and the outsized expectations that only come from the minds of children gripped by Santa fever. It's also a great slice of '90s power-pop, which gives it the edge over older cuts like "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas."
Retail programmers agree; unlike many songs on this list, "I Want an Alien for Christmas" has already made the jump onto more traditional holiday playlists. The next time you're at Target, keep one ear open, and one eye on the skies.