The Hives and Cyndi Lauper "A Christmas Duel"

The Hives and Cyndi Lauper "A Christmas Duel"
The easiest way to tell if Christmas has arrived is all in the music. Whether it's grocery shopping or just switching stations in your car, the sound of Christmas always seems to beat shop displays or home decorations (not counting those insufferable people who refuse to take down their lights after the holidays) to the punch.

Sure, the glut of Christmas albums has already reared its ugly head, thanks to the (lack of) efforts by the usual sorts — Enya, Anne Murray, Aretha Franklin — but with every ten or so releases your mom would appreciate in her stocking there's the odd one cut out for you and me.

An odd pairing, for sure, but former Maroon 5 tour-mates the Hives and the original girl that just wanted to have fun, Cyndi Lauper, have teamed up for a joint effort that throws it back to when Christmas music was something special — y'know, when it was all about brawling spouses.

Okay, so it isn't exactly "Silver Bells." Howlin' Pelle begins on a sour note, admitting, "I got no gift this year, and I slept with your sister," and then adds: "I married you last year.../but I was drunk as a skunk," but that's the kind of tongue-in-cheek confessions we want from our holiday favourites. Or at least that's what I'm looking for: music that just so happens to recall the glorious wall of sound used to record A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector, but with a climax that rings off zingers like: "So whatever you say, it’s all fine by me/Who the fuck anyway wants a Christmas tree/’Cos the snow keeps on falling even though we were bad/It’ll cover the filth, we should both just be glad.”

Basically, it's the musical equivalent of Bad Santa.

And how about Cyndi Lauper? I know she's already had an official comeback, especially within the GLBT community, but hearing her duel Pelle with "I slept with your brother/I wrecked your daddy’s car” brings her back into my consciousness for the first time since she was goofing off with Chunk, the Feldmeister and Andre the Giant.

You can grab the tune over at the Hives' official site for free from November 28 to 30. After that, you'll have to pay for it from the usual digital retailers. As far as I know, it's not seeing a physical release — sorry, no Xmas tree-shaped vinyl this time.

The Hives and Cyndi Lauper "A Christmas Duel"