The 10 Best Songs for Jilted Lovers

Skley via Flickr
Let's be honest here: Valentine's Day is the most annoying, garbage holiday ever invented. It's such cloying BS, a day where corporations literally victimize the entire population of U.S. single people into feeling bad for being single, and scare the hell out of those who are in relationships lest they feel like they "haven't done enough" for the big day.

It's a fucking fiasco, and doesn't celebrate love in any form. It celebrates candy, flowers and the color red. If you hate all that as much as I do, these are ten songs you'll probably enjoy because they're full of the vitriol and venom that this holiday instills in us all, whether we want to admit it or not.

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10 Sexy Christmas Songs to Stuff Your Chimney Right

Note: This is one of Rocks Off's favorite holiday-themed blogs we've ever run, and it's still fresh today. Pardon the pun, and enjoy!

The approach of Christmas presents a number of dilemmas. Should you put the moves on that hot co-worker at the holiday party? Is now really the best time to come out to your heavily Pentecostal family? And what brand of top-shelf vodka best drowns out the drone of your in-laws and the shrieks of your cousins' children?

Rocks Off has your answers: 1. Yes; 2. Of course; 3. Trick question; use scotch. But that's only because we want to address a bigger issue. Musically speaking, the holiday season sucks. It's six weeks of the same carols you grew weary of 20 years ago and "Father Christmas" by the Kinks. People wonder why so many people kill themselves in the month of December - it's because they can't handle "O Come All Ye Faithful" one more goddamned time.

But if you're like us, you can't deny your baser urges. Our desire to hear the nasty stuff doesn't just go away between Thanksgiving and New Year's. What are the options for discerning listeners who want to reconcile their love of sleazy music with the holidays? Allow us to offer the following suggestions.

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Blue Christmas: A Love Story

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Photo by Marco Torres
This is a love story. I'd like to think that it's still being written, although the reality is that the last chapter may have already been recorded. First things first: I caused this. I hurt her. And now we are no longer united. It was a beautiful thing, our love. Still is. But not all love stories have happy endings.

I once saw the phrase "Love Stories Suck" on the street when I was traveling. Although I quickly and angrily posted it on Instagram and wanted to believe that to be true, my heart told me otherwise. Not all of them suck. I had hope for mine then, and still hold onto hope even now.

Music is, or was, a big part of our relationship. From concerts to car rides to streaming audio, it was more than just background noise to us. We cherished music in our own way, and shared quite a few of our favorite songs with one another. We could constantly send each other new tracks as we discovered them, their lyrics describing us sometimes too perfectly.

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10 Frightfully Festive Goth Christmas Carols

Categories: Holidaze

Note: In a new holiday tradition, Rocks Off would like to re-present to our readers this 2011 blog of the blackest Christmas songs we would find.

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Dude, religious Christmas is pretty macabre. All kinds of scandal, sex with a ghost, strangers bringing mystical gifts, and everyone predicting this young couple's baby's death like its glorious wonderful thing. Oh and a decree to slaughter all male babies the next day... what could be more goth?"

-- Kassi Gooch

Far be it from us to argue with Kassi. Some people say that depression rates go up during the holidays, and they're wrong. It's just that incidents of goth occur more frequently. So for your listening pleasure we've put together a special playlist so that Santa knows to drop off some boots and stuff with ankhs on it this year. A little black tape for a blue Christmas, if you catch our drift.

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Five Christmas Songs That Will Totally Bum You Out

Categories: Holidaze

Note: This article originally appeared in December 2010. Rocks Off brought it back for all you grinches out there. Happy Festivus!

Flickr Commons/Public Domain
5. Steve Earle & Emmylou Harris, "Christmas In Washington"
Steve Earle recounts how he felt while we were gearing up to (sort of, almost, kind of, not really) elect George W. Bush for the first time. He begs Woody Guthrie, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and other defenders of the downtrodden to come back from the grave - we assume not as zombies -- and keep us safe from the union busters, the railroad barons and the warmongers who would spend the next eight years running roughshod over the Constitution.

Hmm... come to think of it, it might have been an easier job for some zombies. Earle's foreboding seems almost prophetic in hindsight, as Clinton was still president when he wrote the song, but then again it's not hard to prognosticate that Republicans will sell the country to corporations, persecute every minority without enough money to buy them off, and bomb the shit out of foreign brown people.

Even so, that makes Steve Earle one of the first to write a "we're all fucked" song in relation to that time period, so kudos for that.

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The 12 Bars of Christmas and Then Some

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photos by Marco Torres
"I'm too pretty to look like a devil!"
-- the gentleman in the photo above

Christmas is only two days away. Another year full of laughs and cries and cheers and tears. A year spent with family and friends is never a bad one. And when the time for visiting family is done, once the dishes are in the sink, and the Christmas tree is lit, that's the best time to party.

The holiday weekend before Christmas is always full of ugly sweaters, events named with a cute holiday pun, and winter spice flavored everything. For those who live out of town and come home to Houston for the week, these few days after landing but before the family obligations is like a "Get Out of Jail Free" pass. As the great American poet A$AP Rocky states: "Go wild for the night, fuck being polite!"

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Saturday Night Live's 12 Best Holiday Musical Guests

Categories: Holidaze, TV Party

Photo by Wally Gobetz/Flickr Commons
Watching the Saturday Night Live Christmas special last week, I was reminded how the show has revered -- and skewered -- the holiday season over the years. From Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song" to Alec Baldwin's "Schweddy Balls," the show's churned out enough holiday-themed material to keep us laughing for 12 days of Christmas, or at least "eight crazy nights."

Those December episodes have also featured some incredible music. With more than a few dozen to choose from, it was easy picking 12 SNL musical guests who made our holidays merry and bright.

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"Joy to the World, Our Teacher's Dead": What the Hell Is That All About?

Categories: Holidaze

A couple of years back I got obsessed with finding out the origin of "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells." Believe it or not I was actually able to track it down to pretty definitively to a single 5th-grade classroom in Dunkirk, Indiana. It's made we wonder what other interesting Christmas parodies I could explore. This brings me to...

Joy to the world, the teacher's dead

We barbecued her head!

What happened to the body?

We flushed it down the potty!

And round and round it went,

And round and round it went

And rouuund and round and round it went

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15 Odd Christmas Gifts for Musicians

Categories: Holidaze

Note: Rocks Off originally published this blog in November 2011 and people keep looking at it, so we figured we might as well put it back at the top of our queue. Call it a holiday tradition.

As the timeless tale of the Little Drummer Boy reminds us, there is no greater gift than the gift of music. But what about those on your Christmas list who already have plenty of music in their lives? Buying gifts for musicians is no easy task -- most of them already own the entire Rush discography, and subtle hints that maybe, possibly they should consider taking lessons are impossible to wrap.

That's why it's necessary to think a bit outside the box when stuffing a musician's stocking. Because reading is easier than thinking, Rocks Off has taken the generous step of compiling this handy list of odd, interesting and downright cool gift ideas for the musicians in your life. Just don't forget the earplugs -- for yourself.

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Bruce & Kelly: A Couple That Plays Together, Stays Together

Categories: Holidaze, Texas Me

Photos courtesy of LC Media
This may be the single cutest photo we have ever run on Rocks Off.
After spending a majority of the past 12 Decembers singing season's greetings to audiences around Texas and across the nation, how on Earth are Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis not sick to death of holiday music at this point?

"Well, I don't know," laughs Willis by phone from the couple's home in Austin. "We still have a good time. There's something about playing music with someone that you love. We don't take it too seriously."

A few times a year Willis says their bass player will break into the first few bars of "Santa Baby" to groans all around, and by the end of their holiday run admits they can be prone to wishing "Merry effing Christmas" to each other.

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