The holidays are a weird time. It’s time to get together with friends and family, feel all of that holiday cheer we see all over television and social media, and put on every Christmas cover we can find to make it a punk rock holiday. I’ll be the first to admit that getting into the spirit can be incredibly hard, and after hearing multiple bands cover “White Christmas” or “All I Want for Christmas is You,” things can become stale after a while. Constantly on the lookout for music that is suitable for the holidays yet stays true to my punk rock roots, Songs from Santa’s Sack has saved the day. Brought to you by Allegedly Records and Ska Box, their December compilation album will knock your Christmas sweaters off. It’s a mix of street punk, oi, and ska with a dash of the holidays thrown in. This album is sure to be a favorite in your rotation, any time of the year.
The record comes at you fast and hard right off the bat, starting with Lamonta’s “All I Got for Christmas Was Stoned,” which is one of two Christmas songs featured on the compilation. While the title is a take on the classic, “All I Want for Christmas is You,” it bears no similarity musically. Reminiscent of No Use for a Name and MxPx, it’s a ripper of a track from beginning to end. You’ll be moshing around the Christmas tree with this one.
It’s really hard to pick a favorite on this, as each song packs its own individual punch. Nevertheless, some standouts songs are The Jukebox Romantics' “First Time You, First Time Me,” Amy Gabba’s “FU Covid,” and Reuther’s “Outgrown Overgrown.” There’s something about The Jukebox Romantics that feels so familiar. With their insanely catchy hooks and classic pop-punk sound, “First Time You, First Time Me” will have you nostalgic for shows with friends during pre-pandemic times.
2020 was a terrible year, we all know this. The pandemic completely took over the music industry, shows are no longer a thing, and the closest we get to social interaction is through a computer screen with programs like Zoom or Skype. Amy Gabba’s “FU Covid” perfectly encapsulates just how tired we are of the world around us. Her voice is incredibly strong, and you can’t help but feel all the feels as she sings “We’re tired of social distancing and cancelling our plans.” We can only hope that we start seeing change and we move closer to live music, but in the meantime, we have Gabba to speak our frustrations when we need it.
If I were to rank these songs in order, I’d probably put Reuther’s “Outgrown Overgrown” at the top. A band created out of the ashes of former projects, this Detroit-based group provides consistency, melodic tunes, and a message for anyone that wants to see change. You’ll be playing this all year long, as it can certainly be a theme song for those who need a little extra push to go out and make the changes necessary to live your life.
The compilation closes with “For the Children,” by Baltimore’s Paperback Tragedy. The second Christmas song featured in the rotation, it proves to be the perfect bookend for this “holiday but not holiday” album. The tune talks about spending times without loved ones and longing for those moments again. It’s a message we can all take comfort in this year, as it serves as a somber, yet fitting reminder that we’re living in a different time.
For someone who normally doesn’t care much for the holidays, I have to give this album a 10/10. It combines just the right amount of holiday spirit and punk rock, and can be enjoyed any time of the year. Be sure to pick this up while it’s available, as it’ll for sure be a favorite for any music fan.
“All I Got for Christmas Was Stoned” - Lamonta
“First Time You, First Time Me” - The Jukebox Romantics
“Puncture Wounds” - City Escape Artist
“FU Covid” - Amy Gabba
“Free Meek Mill” - Sexy Teenagers
“Limoncello Boy” - Lucky33
“Outgrown Overgrown” - Reuther
“Hoodrat” - Working Class Stiffs
“The Block” - On the Cinder
“See You Again” - Half Past Two
“Finger Pistols” - Bored with Fire
“Enough” - 1386
“Watch Out for Cops” - War Lovers
“City on a Hill” – OC45
“For the Children” - Paperback Tragedy