Christmas songs have a tendency to be beat-you-over-the-head literal. Whether they tell the story of Jesus or of Santa, the narrative arc leaves limited room for creativity. John Cale’s “Child’s Christmas in Wales” provides a refreshingly poetic counterpoint. The Velvet Underground alumnus first released this holiday downer on his 1973 album Paris 1919, basing the tune off a Dylan Thomas story of the same name. “Ten murdered oranges bled on board ship” proves a bit more thought-provoking than “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire” (though you may think twice about inviting Mr. Cale to your Christmas party).
Indie stalwarts Superchunk covered “Child’s Christmas” for the CD accompanying the new issue of MOJO magazine, in stores today. The piano featured so prominently on the original is nowhere to be found, but the crunchy glaze gives the tune suitable heft. The face-melting guitar solo helps. Stream it below.
Check out more Superchunk at their website.