Christmas songs hidden in plain sight: the holiday’s secret gems


Chris Ruiz-Torres

Playboi Carti (left), Lord Worm (middle) and Bladee (right).

Holiday music is a cornerstone of the holiday spirit. People spend months looking forward to blasting holiday songs and albums. However, these songs do not always come from conventional places. Sometimes albums and songs may appear run of the mill, but are actually carol-ready wonders in disguise. 

Everyone knows Run-D.M.C’s iconic “Chrisrmas in Hollis,” but many fail to acknowledge the new Christmas and Rap album fusion that was released just two years ago. 

Playboi Carti’s “Whole Lotta Red” released on Dec. 25, 2020. While many may see this as nothing more than marketing, it is actually a very obvious green flag that marks the album’s Christmas-y undertones.

From the very first listen of the album listeners will notice Carti’s use of the adlib “what.” This is used as a way to acknowledge the children of the world wondering what they will be receiving for Christmas. It also serves as a nod to Ron Howard’s adaptation of “How the Grinch stole Christmas,” where the Grinch is referred to as a what instead of a who. 

The references to the iconic film do not end there, though, as shortly into the project Carti shows us the Grinch’s point of view.

“On That Time” serves as insight into the plottings of the Grinch. Carti exclaims “Ridin’ round with my draco,” alluding to the Grinch’s dog, Max, which he uses to travel to and from Whoville.

 Carti fully takes in the Grinch’s personality and admits, with no shame, how he steals gifts from the Whos when he says “and I am taking s***.”

Carti also presents some social commentary with his track “New Tank,” in which he states “I got dirt on my face.” This is a reference to the Grinch’s bad living conditions shown in his many renditions. The Grinch is often seen living in a dilapidated house inside of a cave.

Carti does not only give us the Grinch’s point of view; however, he also dons the mask of the Christmas icon, Santa Claus, on his track “Meh.” 

Carti comments on how commonplace it is for people to dress as Santa Claus with his line “all these [people] dressing like me.” He also touches on the gift giving tradition of Christmas with his line “I am rocking all Givenchy, yeah, for free.” Givenchy is a designer brand, something often asked for during Christmastime. 

“Whole Lotta Red” is great, but some people may be looking for a more intense, cynical Christmas album. In that regard, Canadian death metal band Cryptopsy has everyone covered with their album “None so Vile.” “None so Vile” showcases a much grittier view of Christmas and its traditions.

“Graves of the Fathers” is a way of shining light on all the children pleading for forgiveness from Santa Claus, hoping to be removed from the infamous “naughty list.”

Lord Worm, the vocalist of Cryptopsy, shows us the mind of a child pleading for forgiveness, despite not knowing what they did wrong with the line “forgive me for what I do not know.”

In the same song, Lord Worm references Christmas stockings with “nature abhors a vacuum, the same is true to a tomb…it can not be empty.” The “tomb” in this song refers to a stocking being left empty, as a vacuum is empty of matter if the child is naughty.

Cryptopsy critiques the Christmas spirit a few songs later with the track “Benedictine Convulsions.”

Lord worm delivers a hate letter to Christmas caroling, in which groups of people go door to door singing holiday themed songs, with the line “We sing thy praises without end; No matter how rabid the oppressor.” Lord Worm is showing us his annoyance with the activity.

Lord Worm has always been an avid denier of Santa Claus’ existence. He further pushes this narrative with the line “I am Messiah, the grand delusion,” in which Santa Claus is called a being of delusion.

“Phobophile” comes near the end of the album and serves as a powerful showcase of the fear that comes from Santa Claus’ “Elves on the shelf.”

Lord Worm expresses his hatred towards the elves with the line “The wretched living are mine alone,” insulting the elves and calling them wretched.

The line “they have ‘caught’ me as they call it,” is a show of fear from Lord Worm. The elves are often noted to be spies for Santa Claus, collecting information on those who have been naughty.

Lord Worm’s portrays the song’s protagonist being confronted by the elves with his line “the amoral alien speaks,” denouncing the elves as aliens unperturbed by the concepts of morality

Cryptopsy is fantastic, but some find it to be too gritty. This is where Bladee and Ecco2k, one of the strongest duos in the underground rap scene, come in with their collaborative album “Crest.”

The project’s first track, “The Flag is Raised,” has Bladee making the statement “I am coming home, Virginia-inia.” This, however, is not true. Bladee is not in fact from Virginia, he is Swedish. Aside from the blatant lie, this context is extremely important. Swedish people often celebrate Christmas by going to church. This adds context to the rest of the song. 

 This lie is soon followed by a chorus of “Maria, Maria, Maria, Holy Gloria.” Bladee has never made an official statement regarding his religious beliefs, but fans have speculated that he is vaguely religious. This makes sense seeing as how Sweden has a very traditional, theistic culture surrounding Christmas.

Bladee also states “here comes the feeling, you should never let it go.” This is clearly a reference to the fabled Christmas spirit. Bladee believes ones should never let that lose sight of the joy that spawns from Christmas

In the backend of the Album, Bladee and Ecco2k write a song full of love, but not to a person. This song is dedicated to a beloved Christmas tradition from Sweden.

In “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” Bladee expresses his never ending love for the Swedish Christmas beverage glögg.

Ecco2k provides some fantastic vocals while Bladee confesses his passion for the alcoholic Christmas beverage crafted with blanched almonds and raisins.

Bladee’s heartfelt request to taste the citrusy beverage is shown with ¨like me, love me, touch me.” Soon after, he shows us a much more vulnerable side of himself. The line “let me go, you can’t hold onto ghosts” is an obvious remark from Bladee on the sadness he feels when Christmas passes, as this means it is no longer glögg season. This is one of the strongest examples of Bladee’s focus on Christmas music, but it is also present in many of his other tracks, such as “Western Union” and “1:1.”

Christmas music is often hidden in plain sight; these were only a few examples of how the holiday spirit invades every corner of the music industry. 

For more not-so-Christmas Christmas songs, follow this link to a spotify playlist: