(Theme From) Chariots of Fire – The Bad Plus
Traveling over 60,000 miles and dividing up proper parcels into countless households all in one night requires organization, resourcefulness, and above all, speed. The powerhouse jazz trio’s cover of Chariots of Fire lights a flame under Santa’s white ass and keeps him moving steadily through Asia.
In a Big Country – Big Country
Usually about half way through delivering rugby balls and stuffed koalas to Australia’s children, Santa is reminded that he is flying over not only a country, but an entire continent. After delivering gifts to huge landmasses like Russia and China, he needs a little reminder that in a big country dreams tend to stay with you.
Lake Marie – John Prine
Drifting over the brilliant blue Indian Ocean at 12,000 MPH takes a little less than a half hour. John Prine’s spoken word narrative about divorce and heartache with the refrain of, “We were standing by peaceful waters,” reminds Santa that children live with just as many problems as anyone else in the world. Rejuvenated, and filled with belief in his cause, he focuses his gaze and heads back toward mainland Asia.
Second Leg: 12:00 am – 3:00 am
by Kevin Smallwood
Long Train Running – Doobie Brothers
At this point The Claus has consumed so many poorly baked cookies and varieties of milk that he begins to question the rationale behind his purpose. He has spread much joy – and though physically satiated, he feels a profound and existential emptiness. They say behind every great man, there stands a great woman and Mrs. Claus is no exception. Exiting India, The Claus passes through the fractured, remnant countries of the Iron Curtain with a longing in his heart that can only be soothed by the trademark sound of the Doobie Brothers…because without her love, where would he be now?
Filthy/Gorgeous – Scissor Sisters
Every year The Claus enters his native Western Europe and is instantly embraced by a wave of nostalgia. The musk of hand rolled cigarette smoke reminds him of the dance clubs, sexual freedom and lower hygienic standards of his European youth. Heavily clustered Bavarian housing and an abundance of chimneys present an opportunity to make up for lost time. Leaping from his sleigh, the jolly old codger chooses a band named for a sexual position between two women and proceeds to make it rain gift-wrap throughout the Old World.
7 Nation Army – Ben L’Oncle Soul
Sandy boots and desert heat make the Middle East a tough place to keep your cool. Face it, the predominately Sunni nations of Islam don’t have much need for The Claus, nor do they have a lot of chimneys. His work is twofold: Bring cheer to the Christian coalition forces and lob coal from his sleigh over the Hindu Kush – all while avoiding RPG fire from the Taliban. When one’s work is vested in such dichotomy, it’s best to be armed with a soundtrack that fits the oxymoron of “joy during wartime.” Luckily, Ben L’Oncle Soul’s cover of the White Stripes is funkily foreboding enough to keep The Claus on his merry toes.
Change Africa – Toto ft. Jay-Z
It goes without saying that you can’t enter the cradle of man without conceding to the musical mural that is Toto’s Africa. Twenty-eight years after its release, The Claus has chosen to forego the original composition and acknowledge the modern art of the mash-up. In the ultimate Christmas miracle, former coal recipient Sean Carter (aka Jay-Z) gifts The Claus with an audio escort from the Rock of Gibraltar into Africa.
Superman Theme – John Williams
Nearing the final leg of his trip, The Claus has reached a sobering tipping point. He’s come too far to turn back and the way forward is far more difficult. The America’s are near and nowhere else is Christmas held in higher regard. As if the pressure wasn’t enough, his route requires the sleigh to pass by nemesis territory…the South Pole. Only a grizzled old man of immense fortitude could annually accept these burdens for the joy of others. As John Williams’s symphony reaches sleigh shattering decibels, The Claus takes off faster than a speeding fat man destined for Cape Horn, South America.
Third Leg: 3:00 am – 6:00 am
by Jonathan Kosakow
Chiclete Com Banana – Gilberto Gil
As a Jew, I’ve always imagined Santa to be a big cornball. The kind of guy who cries during dog food commercials. But it would be plain ignorant of me to ignore the fact that he’s probably one of the more cultured dudes in the world. And of course, he needs to get down once in a while – who doesn’t? And what better time to swing than as you’re coming up South America from below. It’s only fitting that the Claus would throw on some Gilberto Gil, at the same time a tribute to Brazil while letting his radical activist come out, just a little.
Hey Pocky Way – The Meters
Something about being in the Caribbean makes a fat man want to throw on a Hawaiian shirt and dance. Don’t ask me why: I’m usually the dude sitting under an umbrella surrounded by empty Pina Coladas. I bet it’s something about being worried the party’ll end soon, and Santa must be worried. He doesn’t get out much, and the tropics always mean the end of his trip is near. So get down, fat man, get down.
Coffee – Motel Motel
I’d guess all that dancing made St. Nick a little tired, he needs a pick-me-up to get him through these last few deliveries. But all the Starbucks in Texas are closed at this hour, Mrs. Claus took all his pills and Santa forgot to meet his dealer in Colombia. Luckily, he spends a lot of time undercover in Brooklyn, staying hip to what the kids are listening to these days.
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere – Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Canada. Even Santa knows this is nowhere, but those kids still need presents! Santa remembers when Neil Young was one of those kids, and he still remembers all those years Neil asked for a guitar. He salutes the Canadian, and remembers home is so close.
How It Ends – DeVotchka
It’s that time. The reindeer are tired, Rudolph’s nose burned out somewhere near Alaska, and Mrs. Clause is staring at her watch, tapping her foot on the driveway as Santa pulls his sleigh into the garage. The party’s over, buddy. Your one night out for the year is done. Take off your coat, find a seat on the toilet, and start making up that list for next year.
Now, here’s an embedded version of Santa’s playlist…