Standout Track: No. 3, “It Looks Like Christmas Time Is Here Again.” The song’s clashing cymbals and twinkly guitar notes—and Edward Donohue’s cheerful, nasal voice—mask the fact this is a minute and four seconds of Christmas revisionism: The jolly old elf is a Grinch-like thief. Donohue sings about the time he was “sleeping soundly on a winter’s eve/Ever dreaming of Santa and his toys,” when Father Christmas “came in and he took my clothes.”
Musical Motivation: Donohue, 29, the sole member of Her Majesty’s Orchestra, finds traditional Christmas carols limiting. “There should be other kinds of Christmas songs,” says the Petworth resident. And there should be other kinds of Clauses. “I’m always thinking of weird, alternate Santas,” he says. The Kris Kringle of “It Looks Like Christmas Time Is Here Again” just can’t stop taking. “And stole my shoes/And he got my wife,” Donohue sings. “And he read my mind/And he took my soul/And he got my life.”
Donohue, a fan of The Nutcracker, isn’t embittered about the most wonderful time of the year—he just likes to reimagine the holiday. “I like to put myself in a fantasy world,” he says. One where Santa won’t check this Christmas List twice, one hopes.
The Rift Is in the Giving: Over the past couple of years, Donohue has written and recorded many of the tunes compiled on A Christmas List as gifts for his friends. “Christmas Is Calling” is for Melissa, “Santa Claws” is for the 13th Street Ladies, “Egg Nog Your House” is for Scott (watch out, Scott). What did his friends think of Donohue’s selfless acts? “Some people were jealous of other people’s songs.”—Kim Gooden