If the letter “A” is any indication, there is going to be a lot of Prince on this list. But if you know me, you might have already figured as much.
“Another Lonely Christmas” came out when I was 8, and it immediately intrigued me. Up until then, my experience with holiday music was either joyfully tranquil (Nat “King” Cole) or joyfully exuberant (The Jackson 5, Salsoul Orchestra). “Another Lonely Christmas” is not tranquil, it is not exuberant, and it is DEFINITELY not joyful. “Another Lonely Christmas” was my first indication that the holidays were always a great time for everyone.
TL; DR: Prince has been getting himself drunk as a skunk on banana daiquiries for the past seven years because the love of his life unexpectedly died on Christmas day. There’s no Santa coming down the chimney, no reindeer on a sleigh, no unwrapping gifts.
“Another Lonely Christmas” came out at the end of 1984, when he was at the peak of its popularity. It’s the B-side to “I Would Die 4 U”, and I’d actually say it’s the superior song. It’s also one of his most Hendrix-like, thanks to Prince speak-singing the verses, a serious echo effect applied to his voice, and some tasty, tasty guitar heroics.
I was talking to a date today about how underrated Prince is as a guitarist. Here’s a good example of him just fucking shredding. Hard rock gospel blues amazingness (and one of the few ‘80s songs mixed in a way that certain instruments can only be heard on one channel, although since I don’t have an apparatus in which I can switch from left channel to right channel, I can’t say for certain which side the drums are on but I do know for sure the drums are mixed so as to come out of one speaker much more prominently than the other…)
“Another Lonely Christmas” is also one of the few holiday-related songs that I feel totally comfortable listening to out of season.
And now that Prince isn’t here, even sadder than it was originally.