As soon as the clock struck midnight on Halloween, my friends and I started playing Christmas music to ring in the next phase of the holiday season. Our small socially distanced gathering almost immediately left behind the previous day’s celebrations, as memories of Halloween movies like “Twitches” and “Halloweentown” faded into the background. We danced around my friend’s basement, with Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” and a few other Christmas songs on repeat.
Every year, Carey defrosts just in time for the holiday season, when her song “All I Want for Christmas” charts in the year’s top 10 despite being released 26 years ago. Everyone can recognize this Christmas staple from the iconic chime sequence played at the beginning. Although the song is terribly catchy, covered by hundreds of artists, beloved by radio stations and enjoyed by millions of people, I cannot be the only one to think it’s time for a change. Many artists have released Christmas songs or albums that are relatively unknown and have not gotten a fraction of the success Carey received. It’s time to spice up your annual holiday season playlist and explore new classics this year.
Liam Payne and Dixie D’Amelio’s “Naughty List” Will Get You In The Holiday Spirit
Payne and D’Amelio announced their surprise collaboration via social media and released their song, “Naughty List,” in late October. The storyline of the song follows the former One Direction member and TikTok influencer as they meet at a holiday party and fall in love shortly thereafter.
The song starts with Payne singing about how he met a girl and gave his coat to her because she was cold. In the chorus, he claims to have gotten on Santa’s naughty list because he “saw the way we kissed.” D’Amelio joins in the second verse and sings about how Payne pursued her. The two end the song singing, “We were s’posed to take it slow, Baby, you’re my favorite gift, Now we’re on the naughty list.” D’Amelio and Payne’s Christmas track is a genuine pop song that showcases both of their talents and raises the holiday spirit amongst fans.
Meghan Trainor’s “A Very Trainor Christmas” is a Combination of New Songs and Classic Covers
Meghan Trainor released her first Christmas album this year, titled “A Very Trainor Christmas.” The record is a collection of 18 songs that are a unique combination of covers and new tracks. Trainor adds her personal flair to songs like “Last Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” “Sleigh Ride” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Although the album did not gain instant popularity, there are numerous original songs that are sure to become your next Christmas favorite.
My favorite song on the album is “Holidays,” a collaboration between Trainor and the band Earth, Wind & Fire. The song captures the vibe of the Christmas season with everyone attending parties and celebrating the holiday. Trainor sings about putting aside your worries to celebrate and, “Get ready for the holi-, holi-, holidays.” Earth, Wind & Fire contributed their iconic jazz-funk stylings and harmonized with Trainor during the chorus. They later join in at the end to sing, “Lemme hеar you say, ‘I’m ready for the holiday,’ Call the family up, tell em we’re on our way.”
“Christmas Got Me Blue” is another fan favorite on the album. The song describes what it is like to experience heartbreak and loneliness during the holiday season. Despite depicting a depressing subject, the song is relatively upbeat. Trainor sings about how she is doing all the usual Christmas festivities by herself because, “you ain’t comin’ home. Ever since you left, my broken heart is so cold.” Trainor wants to spend Christmas Eve with her significant other but is well aware he won’t show up.
Country Music Is Brewing New Christmas Songs
Country music has long produced classic holiday hits and the new releases are continuing this tradition. Dan + Shay, a country music duo, released their first original Christmas song, titled “Take Me Home For Christmas.” The song describes the desire to visit your significant other’s hometown during the holiday season. The lead singer longs to meet his girlfriend’s friends and family. He wants her to, “Show me ’round your town, Take me where you used to watch the snow come down.” The song continues to highlight the singer’s fascination with learning everything about his partner, before finally asking, “Oh, won’t you take me home for Christmas?”
In October, Dolly Parton released “A Holly Dolly Christmas,” her first Christmas album in nearly 30 years. One song that has been charting extremely well is her collaboration with the king of Christmas music, Michael Bublé, called “Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas.” The artists sing from the perspective of two lovers who just want to cuddle with each other for the holidays to beat the winter cold. Parton sings, “Ah, the snow is fallin’, passion’s callin’. A glass of wine or two.” They are snowed in and have nothing else to do but, “cuddle up and cozy down” with each other. Parton brings her unique voice while Bublé contributes his iconic old school flair to this mellow holiday song. “Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas” is definitely something you do not want to miss.
This Holiday Season, Let’s Be Open-Minded About the Classics
In the realm of Christmas music, very few songs attain “classic” status. We are very hesitant to add new songs to the ranks of “Jingle Bells” and “White Christmas.” Many of the Christmas songs that play on the radio and in shopping centers during the holiday season are decades old, from the ’40s and the ’50s. With artists releasing Christmas albums every holiday season, we should be open to listening to new holiday songs and updating our “Christmas classics” list.