Indi’s alternative holiday playlist – 2020 – Preamble

by | December 6, 2020

It’s that time of year again—time for Indi’s alternative holiday playlist!

Indi’s alternative holiday playlist 2020:

  • » Preamble «


🍁 = Canadian
= New this year

Every year I put together a list of songs that sound different from the usual holiday fare you hear endlessly piped over the radio or store PA systems. It’s a way to escape to an alternative soundscape, and maybe discover new artists or genres, or at the very least a new song you can spin for the holidays.

This being Canadian Atheist, of course, another aspect of the list is that I try to feature songs that are:

  1. Canadian; and
  2. nonreligious.

For more details about the what the list is about, and the criteria by which songs are chosen, you can check out the solicitation post. You can also check out last year’s list there.

The list is 100 songs, which I’ll split into 10 10-song chunks, and post each bit once a day Monday to Friday for the next two weeks. At the end of that, I’ll post a summary post with the whole list and some downloadable playlists you can grab… though, bear in mind, Canadian Atheist does not actually host the songs; the playlists are just lists of links to the songs on media sites like YouTube, so you have to be connected to the Internet to actually play the playlists.

Oh, another thing; the songs are numbered, but the list isn’t ranked. That is to say, song #21 is neither (necessarily) better nor worse than song #20 or #22. In fact, I’ve ordered the list in such a way that the 10-song chunks each has a sort of mini-theme, and is designed to be listened to on its own. That way, each day’s post is its own experience.

The “exception” to that rule, sorta, is the “top 10” chunk, and particularly the #1 song. Again, the “top 10” songs aren’t (necessarily) the “best” songs, they’re just the songs that best satisfy the list’s criteria (which, again, mostly boil down to “Canadian” and “nonreligious”). And the #1 song won’t necessarily be the “best” song in any sense… except in the sense that it is a song that satisfies the list’s criteria quite well, and it’s the song I want to leave ringing in your ear; the song on the list that I think best encapsulates the gestalt of the past year.

So if your favourite song on the list has a low number, please don’t send me hate mail! Actually—and this is completely true—many of my absolute faves on the list aren’t in the top 10.

Last year’s list was a bit of a departure from the usual format. It was kinda the “wrap-up” list for the 2010s. What I did for that list was go back through all the songs I’d considered for previous lists, and pick out all the ones that hadn’t made the cut. So it was kind of a list of B-sides.

This year I’ve returned to the usual formula, and we’re kicking off the 2020s with 23 new entries from such acts as The Killers, Beck, and The Burning Hell. I also included a few entries from huge pop stars like Carly Rae Jepsen, Meghan Trainor, and Lil Nas X. How did I manage that on a list that’s supposed to be alternatives to what’s (over)played on mainstream radio? Simple: all the songs from these artists are brand new releases… some of them barely a couple weeks old. They can’t be overplayed—though they will likely be in the future—because there just hasn’t been time yet. This isn’t something I’m going to be doing regularly in future lists, but I thought it would be a neat way to introduce people to some current pop stars (something that the usual list format doesn’t really give much opportunity to do).

That’s it for introduction! Starting tomorrow (Monday), and for every weekday the next two weeks, Indi’s alternative holiday playlist—the 2020 edition—will be comin’ at ya!

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