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A playlist for Christmas curated by the ever-confessional @emodiary05

Here’s a load of sadboy Christmas bangers for when Buble and Mariah just aren't depressing enough

The present is, as you know, bad and terrifying. For that reason and many others I prefer to live in the past: the early 2000s, when Myspace, MSN, and emo dominated everything and the internet was still fun rather than a cesspit of bad takes and terrible news. That’s also why I started Emo Diary, a side project where I put on emo nights and publish tweets and zines of extracts from my old diary from when I was 13, alongside song lyrics, ticket stubs, and other ephemera from a simpler time.

Give or take maybe three songs, Christmas music can, for the most part, be a bit shit. It’s often obnoxiously cheery, disregarding the darker feelings of the season: the deep, existential sadness and boredom that the pressure to be jolly forces to the surface; the loneliness that the expectation of family time can highlight; the biting cold and seasonal depression that no Christmas tree can cure. Plus, it just kind of sucks. When you spend 11 months of the year listening to music that bangs, pure Buble through December can be a shock to the system.

But what do you listen to when you still want to be festive without a) feeling worse or b) betraying your true self? I have got you covered. While emo music and the festive season mightn’t immediately make sense together, they’ve been officially intertwined since emo cutie and prophet Seth Cohen brought Chrismukkah to our screens over a soundtrack of Bright Eyes in 2003. Since then (and a little before) there have inexplicably been countless original festive tracks and entire Christmas covers albums by emo and pop punk bands (Punk Goes Christmas, Bright Eyes’ A Christmas Album, Jimmy Eat World’s Christmas EP).

For the saddest of seasons, we’ve curated a playlist of all the best emo bangers – narrowing it down from tens more. There are some covers in there; the sadness already present in “Last Christmas” and “Blue Christmas” is brought out even more by Jim Adkins’ and Conor Oberst’s sadboy vocals, while Gerard Way brings an edge to “All I Want For Christmas” that (sorry Mariah) it kinda needed. But for the most part, the playlist is full of original seasonal tracks; bands taking everything they were already whining about and giving them a festive twist in, among others, Fall Out Boy’s “Yule Shoot Your Eye Out”, New Found Glory’s “Ex-Miss”, and Good Charlotte’s “Christmas by the Phone” from their brand new Christmas EP.

We’ve taken some liberties with the definition of emo in order to include, as well as some O.C. soundtrack and pop punk Christmas classics, The Hives and Cyndi Lauper’s “A Christmas Duel”, which is, arguably, an even better bitter Christmas breakup banger than “Fairytale of New York”. Wrap up warm, put our playlist on, and you might be feeling a little more festive (if still sad) very soon.

You can listen to the full playlist below. Although, if lyrics like all I want this year is for you to dedicate your last breath to me before you bury yourself alive don’t get you all excited for the season, maybe it’s not for you.

Lead illustration by Florence Guan