We all know the Christmas songs canon: Winter Wonderland, White Christmas, Baby it’s Cold Outside, yada yada yada. What we don’t all know is just how many acts have thrown their hats into the ring since those songs were minted a zillion years ago. With new Hanson and Sia Christmas albums ready to go and only a few days until Santa arrives, it’s time to start assembling your playlists. Here are eight tracks that ought to join the classics list this year.
Hanson, Finally It’s Christmas
The opening track from Hanson’s latest album is an epic Christmas belter. You might’ve thought MMMBop was corny, but there’s a reason it was everywhere; their love of irresistible hooks makes for one hell of a holiday song.
Justin Bieber ft. Busta Rhymes, Little Drummer Boy
There are a lot of the classic’s DNA in this track by Justin Bieber and Busta Rhymes, but it’s been twisted so far that we’re going to classify it as an original. Busta’s line about accidentally getting his phone dirty because he tweeted Bieber in the middle of Christmas dinner is all-time.
Ariana Grande, Santa Tell Me
As the Second Coming of Mariah Carey, Grande furthers the holiday tradition by syncing the track’s handclaps to her slapping her friends’ behinds. You only get that kind of creative vision once a generation.
Snoop Doggy Dogg, Santa Claus Goes Straight to the Ghetto
The only thing this has in common with James Brown’s song of the same name is, uh, the name. …Straight to the Ghetto swings from spliffs to gifts, and the spirit of community versus stealing presents from your own grandpa.
Johnny Cash, Christmas As I Knew It
Like all of Cash’s tracks, this is an upbeat pop song – light-hearted and free-spirited, without a care in the world. Oh no, wait… it’s about Christmas in the middle of crippling poverty.
Run-DMC, Christmas in Hollis
When Run-DMC were first approached to do a Christmas song, they thought it’d tank their career. Rather than recording a cover, Jam Master Jay cut a beat so good it inspired the two MCs to write verses for one of the most enduring Christmas rap tracks ever.
Kurtis Blow, Christmas Rappin’
Cited by Run-DMC as the original hip-hop Christmas hit, Christmas Rappin’ takes a massive bite from Chic’s Good Times for its beat and turns it into an eight-minute Christmas party jam.
The Darkness, Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)
This made it all the way to #2 in the UK charts, but it was expected to climb to #1. What beat it? The Donnie Darko version of Mad World.