This Must Be The Playlist: David Byrne has put together a Christmas mixtape. Assembled for NPR‘s Fresh Air, the 19-track collection features selections by a varied lineup of yuletide tunes by artists ranging from The Pogues to Prince.

As the former Talking Heads frontman explained to NPR, recording a holiday song is a bit of a gamble. “On one hand, Christmas songs are perennial … so you’re kind of… you’re set for your song royalties or whatever,” Byrne said. “But if it doesn’t click, you’ve just got this embarrassing thing.”

While Talking Heads, who broke up in 1992, never recorded a proper Christmas song, Byrne tried his hand at a holiday carol with “Fat Man’s Comin'”. The song about holiday Ho, Ho, Ho-er Santa Claus originally came from the sessions for Byrne’s 2012 collaborative album with St. VincentLove This Giant. Though Byrne performed the song live in 2014, the studio recording didn’t see the light of day until Byrne released it last year as a Christmas surprise for fans.

“I sometimes have a tendency to take things a little bit literally,” Byrne told NPR of the song. “So I looked at the whole Santa [phenomenon] and said, well, what if I just described this exactly as what’s happening? Here’s a stranger who’s sneaking, breaking into your house, basically, leaving packages — and dressed in a rather strange outfit. I thought, what if I just write that?”

Related: Wishful Thinking: Stephen Colbert Invites Reunited Talking Heads To Perform During Revealing Interview [Videos]

Plenty of other artists have rolled the dice on recording a Christmas song, including Paul Simon (“Getting Ready For Christmas”), LCD Soundsystem (“christmas will break your heart”), James Brown (“Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto”), and Run-D.M.C. (“Christmas In Hollis”), all of whom appear on Byrne’s playlist. Indie emo-folkie Phoebe Bridgers has even made a yearly tradition of it (her 2020 cover of Merle Haggard‘s “If We Make It Through December” is featured on the playlist, too). Byrne even included The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” in tribute to the late singer-songwriter Shane MacGowan, who passed away last month at the age of 65 and whom Byrne called “a great songwriter.”

Check out the David Byrne Christmas playlist from NPR’s Fresh Air. Check out his liner notes for each song here.

David Byrne x Fresh Air (Christmas Playlist)