Music

Four Christmas Albums That Will Spice Up Your Holiday with Festive Tunes

Every year during December, there comes a time where the radios become a Christmas carol marathon. Meant to incite joy and start the holiday festivities, Christmas song season sounds incredibly exciting – until you turn on the radio. See, there’s a classic roster of about two dozen songs that we hear again and again. They’re fun for the first week, enjoyable by the second, but as the weeks pass, they get more and more grating. I mean, let’s be honest here, how many times can you really listen to “All I Want For Christmas Is You?” Thankfully, there’s a whole range of genres that have reimagined classic holiday songs with the artist’s unique flavor. From indie to jazz, here are four Christmas albums that’ll breathe some life to your holiday playlist.

Everyday Is Christmas – Sia

Image Credit To: Genius Lyrics

The first album on here is a smashing pop album from the mind of Sia and Greg Kurstin. The album mixes explosive hits full of ecstatic joy with much slower songs that explore the tender, expressive side of Christmas songs. The lyrics are all thematically related to the holiday season. However, many carry deeper messages than the simple hurrah of presents and Santa Claus. While fun, spunky songs still hold their place in the album (think “Puppies are Forever”), songs such as “Snowflake” speak from the heart about a loved one, all through a precious winter metaphor. Sia, of course, threw in some of her lyrical quirks, flirting with more twisted concepts (“It’s Christmastime so run for your life” in “Underneath The Mistletoe” and the entire song “Santa’s Coming For Us,” for example). The album has beautiful melodies, and Sia’s voice shines bright as usual. The album has a Christmas song for everyone with some of the best pop holiday songs I’ve ever heard.

Favorites: “Snowman”, “Underneath The Mistletoe”, “Santa’s Coming For Us”

Listen to it here

Silver And Gold – Sufjan Stevens

Image Credit: Pitchfork

Silver and Gold is a 5 CD collection of all of Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas songs. The collection is an eclectic mix of songs, all with Sufjan’s distinct sound, yet still extremely different. A blend of old religious carols, newer songs and originals from the artist also provide the listener with unique lyricism. Instruments from all families appear in Silver and Gold, from Sufjan’s stylistically classic use of guitars to soulful piano. Some songs such as “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” are almost hauntingly beautiful. Some songs are jarring as instruments clash together in an energetic burst, contrasting with tender acoustic tracks starring Sufjan’s soft voice.

Sufjan is a master at capturing a feeling or mood, and that makes this album stand out. This album feels like warming up by a hot fire. It feels like watching Christmas movies with a loved one. It feels like the cold, dark quiet of winter nights, or the smash of holiday cheer in your face. It is a wonderful album, that captures every part of winter and the holidays. 

Favorites: “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!”, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, “Barcarola (You Must Be A Christmas Tree)

Listen to it here 

Simply Christmas – Leslie Odom Jr.

Image Credit: IndieSound

The shining star of Simply Christmas is the heavy jazz presence in the tracks. A hallmark of the former Hamilton stars’ personal discography is how he soulfully sings to the sound of classic jazz instrumentals and Leslie Odom Jr. has a phenomenal voice that is beautifully smooth. As indicated by the title, the songs are simple, but by no means does that take away from the album. The songs aren’t dramatic or complex, but they are to the point, focusing on creating songs that are soothing, tender and full of emotion. There are no crazy fanfares of bells and trumpets to take away from the meaning of the song. Most songs are comprised of Odom’s voice and a slow piano tune. There are some subtle jazzy drums in the background, as well as trumpets occasionally, but their placement is also purposeful. It is a poignant Christmas album from the heart. It is indeed, Simply Christmas. 

Favorites: “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, “Ave Maria”, “The Christmas Waltz”

Listen to it here

The Beach Boys Christmas Album –The Beach Boys

Image Credit To: Discogs

We’re throwing it way back with this final album by the surf rock legends The Beach Boys. This album is really unique as the songs are divided into two different styles: the classic beach vibes of the Beach Boys, and a much more classical and orchestral take on carols. Songs such as “Santa’s Beard” ooze feel-good retro, and are shamelessly campy. These are the songs to blast in your room while dancing around or when you’re having some holiday fun with family. On the other side, songs such as “We Three Kings Of Orient” or “White Christmas” effectively utilities the band’s harmonies to create beautiful pieces. This album is a fantastic mashup of retro cheesiness that’s brought back to Earth with classical pieces.

Favorites: “The Man With All The Toys”, “Blue Christmas”, “Merry Christmas, Baby”

Listen to it here

Featured Image Credit: Kieran White/ Unsplash

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