It’s safe to say the festive fever is upon me and there ain’t no cure. Well, except for January, which normally proves dauntingly sufficient, but we shan’t think about it for at least another few weeks. As a part of my twelve-day countdown to the big night of many celebrations, I have assembled a mighty list of unmissable films to feast your eyes on. However, sitting on my desk this morning I realised I had forgotten something just as important! One cannot simply enjoy December to its fullest potential without the company of a good Christmas playlist. Precisely for those reasons, today’s post will give you ten songs to listen and love for a truly Yule-inspired day!
1. Fun. – “Sleigh Ride”
Their rhythmic take on this classic tune has some deeply defined beats in between an orchestra of string instruments, with the occasional drop of atmospheric horns. Now backtrack and try to pronounce that sentence full speed three times in a row, I double dare you, heck, I’ll even triple dare you. Nate Ruess’s soaring vocals bring a sense of pop slash punk, slash indie influences, which turn out to be a sweet and exhilarating jam. Let’s put it like this, if “Home Alone”‘s soundtrack got a nifty, chilled 2015 re-mix, then this track would be heavily featured on the album.
9. The Bird & The Bee – “Carol of the Bells”
Imagine you were sneaking out of your bedroom on Christmas night, hunting for a glimpse of Santa. The danger of forbidden business weighs on you as the stairs become lesser and lower. You tiptoe from the kitchen to the corridor, edging past the living room corner. This is what “Carol of the Bells” sounds like – quiet, yet playful. Listening to the low voice of vocalist Inara George brings a wave of childish mischief, which adds a special note to every bedtime.
8. The Vamps – “Hallelujah”
I’m not normally one for boy bands under my own age of twenty, but The Vamps deserve a place on this list. Their rendition of necessary track “Hallelujah” is simultaneously sensual and strong. The voice to blame is Bradley Simpson’s, although bandmate James McVey’s stripped down guitar accompaniment is a flawless, gentle accolade. It’s a slow song, so if you prefer classic, jazzy varieties, you might want to give this one a miss. I happen to quite enjoy a healthy mix of styles on one playlist, so I’m adding it to today’s countdown.
7. Bing Crosby – “Litte Jack Frost, Get Lost” ft. Peggy Lee
Bet you thought I’d forgotten the old-school unmissables. Ha! You were wrong, buster, I got this front covered, too! Bing Crosby has become a Christmas necessity to households around the globe. His critically acclaimed festive tunes have been remastered into a 2014 assembly called “Bing Crosby’s Christmas”, which is full of Hollywood Gold Era songs. What an ageless, swing recording of a true appreciation for the holidays, only few vintage artists can compare to!
6. The Raveonettes – “The Christmas Song”
This one is a wrapped up nineties with a pretty bow on top. It definitely applies for the chilled crew amongst you, featuring leisurely, punk guitars, low, dragging voices and the perfect rhythm for a slow dance with your lover. Although the song is from 2003, it carries a sprinkle of Radiohead and Nirvana inside, which mixes better than you’d think with the ol’ Yule moods.
5. Jessie J – “Man With the Bag”
Before you judge this song as “too pop” or “not my kind of artist”, just trust me and give it a listen. Although Jessie J’s voice is able to stretch acrobatics from here to the Moon and back, the girl deserves some props for keeping it mild. A full orchestra on the instrumentals and a quintessential jazz fluctuations on her vocals, it verges more on Peggy Lee territory than an Ariana Grande number. There was potential to go full Mariah Carrey, but Jessie restrained from that, resulting in a classy track, rather than a radio smash.
4. Elvis Presley – “Blue Christmas”
It’s almost midnight and you’re sat in front of a pointless television show, sipping a barely warm glass of mulled wine. The snow is piling outside, but you don’t care enough to plow it off the driveway. If this scenario sounds vaguely familiar, this song is your go-to deal. Elvis’s charmingly elegant, rock song “Blue Christmas” makes your “not really giving a fuck” into “fucking this shit”, from zero to sixty in point two seconds.
3. Pentatonix – “White Winter Hymnal”
This is the only song on my list, which is performed a cappella. Pentatonix are famous for their exceptional variety of voices and tonalities, which seem to be utilised magically in this track, harmonising throughout. It’s positive, poetic and atmospheric – a winning combination for a great morning attitude. “White Winter Hymnal” would be perfect to sing with the family around a warm, crackling fire.
2. Kanye West – “Christmas in Harlem”
This one’s for my hip-hop people, and just when you thought I’d ignored a portion of my crew. A personal favourite part of this track is Teyana Taylor’s hook, which will get you lip synching under your breath or even screaming at the top of your lungs while baking those gingerbread cookies. If you learn the rap verses, you could even end up showing off to hipster cousins with some mad game.
1. Seth MacFarlane – “Baby It’s Cold Outside” ft. Sara Bareilles
Undoubtedly my favourite song on this countdown. It combines the best of both worlds – a modern recording with its own special flavour and timeless voices, which pop above the triumphant instrumentals. We all know and love Seth MacFarlane as the goofy Peter Griffin from “Family Guy”, but this side of him completely blindsides any casual television audience member. The entire album I pulled this out of – “Holiday For Swing!”, is mesmerising and tasteful. I recommend it for a long road trip or background music to any household chore.
Destiny’s Child – “Carol of the Bells”
It has Beyonce front and centre stage performing damn good voice acrobatics. Michelle and Kelly are in the role of background bells. The most R’n’B Christmas you could ever have imagined.