For several Decembers, I’ve been hoping fun. would finally leave a full-length Christmas album under the tree. It hasn’t happened yet, but the two Christmas songs they have released make it clear that these guys were born to spread holiday cheer. Luckily, Nate Ruess, Jack Antonoff, and Andrew Dost have all been involved in other great projects. With a little bit of digging, we can build our own fun. Christmas album to tide us over for another year.
“Sleigh Ride” by fun.: This Christmas miracle is one of the two genuine holiday fun. songs we can use. The syncopated beat and indie pop charm also make it the best arrangement of “Sleigh Ride” I’ve ever heard.
“Believe in Me” by fun.: Another real-deal jam, fun.’s “Believe in Me” is a retro holiday gem and a dead ringer for the Beach Boys. As they complain about not getting the gifts they wanted, they even poke fun at their own album with the disappointed line, “when I asked them for fun, they bought me Aim and Ignite.”
“Holly Jolly Christmas” by the Format: Before Nate Ruess’ former band, the Format, split off to pursue new projects, they stuffed our stockings with an excellent cover of “Holly Jolly Christmas.” While Ruess bounces through the familiar lyrics, you can imagine how great he would sound on every other Christmas standard in existence.
“I’m Ready to Move On/Wild Heart Reprise” by Bleachers feat. Yoko Ono: Thanks to Yoko Ono and Jack Antonoff’s new solo project, Bleachers, we can keep the Christmas spirit going on our homemade release. As Ono sings peacefully, “Snow is falling all the time / Snow is smiling all the time,” this song becomes a perfect fit.
“Bells” by Anathallo: Andrew Dost’s former indie rock band, Anathallo, provides the next track with this exquisite little hymn. The ringing bells layered throughout almost make it too good to be true for our imaginary Christmas album.
“All Alone” by fun.: Since it’s the season of giving, we have to include fun.’s “All Alone.” I for one would love to receive a wind-up souvenir from Nate Ruess, but the girl in the song was not too pleased with the toy.
“Do You Believe in Magic?” by the Format: On their B-Sides & Rarities collection, Nate Ruess’ former project also brought us this flawless cover of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s 1965 hit. Christmas magic is all about believing, right?
“Diamonds in the Sky” by Steel Train: Antonoff’s previous group, Steel Train, blessed us with another Christmas-y song before they put on their last show. The title just sparkles in all the right ways, and the line, “we are on holiday forever,” makes it a spot-on addition.
“Benson Hedges” by fun.: Not only does fun. rock out like a church choir on this track, but there are references to hitting the slopes and “a city that doesn’t snow.” When you throw in the holy ghosts, the mountaintops, and the cold, it just works.
“Wake Me” by Bleachers: Another present from Antonoff’s new project, “Wake Me” has one of those great “last Christmas, I gave you my heart” kind of melodies. Something about those staccato plucks and the idea of “starting a fire in me,” makes this work really well on a holiday mix.
“Threes” by the Format: In this beautiful Format demo, Ruess sings about wandering through Manhattan and how it’s been the worst year of his life, which definitely suits the season. The line that really earns it a spot is “Could you please grow out your hair? / Grow it dark and long like the winter.”
“Snowman” by Anathallo: Thank you Andrew Dost of the past! Our Christmas album wouldn’t be complete without a snowman.
“The Gambler” by fun.: Remember the winter of ’86, when the fields had frozen over? You can reminisce on it with Ruess as you build a fire and wait for your kids to come home and visit (wistful sigh).
“Stars” by fun.: I mean, stars go on top of Christmas trees right? Too stretchy? That’s okay. We made it through one more year.