Wouldn’t you know, a Christmas song. Actually one of the only tolerable Christmas songs in the world. There’s very few things I find more irritating than Christmas music, making the holiday season a bit of a slog. Most Christmas songs are so sappy it’s like mainlining maple syrup. This one is blessedly free of togetherness, Santa, snowmen, or reindeer. Of course it would take a Shane MacGowan to write a Christmas tune that takes place in a New York City drunk tank, and don’t forget the sheer joy of angelic-voiced Kirsty MacColl singing “you cheap lousy faggot, Merry Christmas your arse.” It’s been voted most popular Christmas song year after year, probably because it’s a rare shot of real-life amid all the canned sentimentality of the season. Though we all sometimes dream about ‘walking in a winter wonderland’ on Christmas, it’s not the end-of-year season without a dose fighting and bitterness and regrets and drunkenly wallowing in your own crushed-up dreams. And people want to hear a song about that, at least once, to cut through the idealized image of holiday cheer.