Sleigh Bells: Not Just For Christmas Anymore

Categories: Lists

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Christmastime: A time for family, for giving, and much to the displeasure of many, a time for incessantly grating holiday music. Christmas spirit frozen in cheesy songs monopolizes radio stations and relentlessly stalks our every step.

A key component of much holiday music is often the percussive addition of ever-festive sleigh bells, which, while they may be annoying in Christmas' myriad songs of winter wonderlands, are actually pretty cool when heard in non-holiday tunes. Just when we thought jingle bells were exclusive to Christmas songs, we dug up a whole sleigh-full of non-holiday tracks that incorporate commonly yuletide bells.

Not on the list? Noise-pop darlings Sleigh Bells - but not to worry, you're bound to see them topping innumerable 2010 Best-of lists. Here are some of our favorite sleigh-bell tunes.

10. The Stills, "Animals + Insects": Sleigh bells, which enter this song at the 40-second mark, counteract a miserably brooding "Oh my God" chorus and the singer's promise to "throw grenades at a Christmas choir."


9. Best Coast, "Our Deal": The use of sleigh bells is quite the contrast to the otherwise sunny garage-pop tune, but works effortlessly, making their entrance at the 33-second mark.


8. Björk, "Fúsi Hreindýr": This one's for the Björk superfans. The singer's 1993 album Debut actually came sixteen years after her first official self-titled release, recorded in her native Icelandic when she was just eleven years old. Though an undoubtedly precocious feat for such a tender age, Björk's naïveté is hinted via the instant incorporation of sleigh bells at the 10-second mark.


7. Grizzly Bear, "Ready Able": Amidst a sea of artistic gloom, sleigh bells ring around the 1:48 mark. Grizzly Bear is known in part for their tasteful use of experimental percussive instruments, and this Veckatimest track is no exception.


6. The Stooges, "I Wanna Be Your Dog": Sleigh bells enter this song at the 23-second mark and linger as its main percussive complement throughout the song's entirety, a converse addition to the song's proto-punk attitude.



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