‘Tis the season for merriment and covers of great Christmas songs from centuries past. *Today I learned: Joy to the World was first published in 1719. We all have our favourites, and in the spirit of sharing, here are some recent gems (in no particular order) for you to belt out after one cup of eggnog too many.
1. Coldplay – Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. You know what I love about this song? The quiet, understated mix of piano and Chris Martin’s English accent. So very quaint. Did I mention this is my favourite Christmas tune? Weird coincidence it's first.
2. Amy Winehouse – I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. Oh that voice, still haunting us from the great beyond. Amy brings her signature jazz flare, dropping notes high and low, and conjures up a swanky Speakeasy decked out in evergreens and twinkle lights.
3. First Aid Kit – Blue Christmas. Stripped down to the bare bones of vocals and acoustic guitar/keyboard, this adorable sister duo puts a folksy spin on the holiday classic. Their harmonizing is off the charts too – go ahead, grab a friend and try it yourself.
4. Zooey Deschanel and Leon Redbone - Baby It's Cold Outside. It's hard to redo a classic done so well as this one; you gotta love the Bing Crosby/Doris Day or Johnny Mercer/Margaret Whiting versions. But Zooey and Leon pull it off, retaining that feel for 1950s courtship while making it memorable with their contrasting vocals.
5. Florence + the Machine – Last Christmas. Oh, Flo. Calling upon her much loved harp and guitar, Florence and the gang bring us a classic that feels very fresh. Her powerful vocals beautifully match the plinking of each harp chord and make you feel those previously overlooked lyrics. "I'll give it [her heart] to someone special..." *Note: Excessive drinking and this song should be done with caution.
6. Weezer - We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Released in 2008, Weezer's "Christmas with Weezer" album packs traditional holiday carols with a punch. This particular song rocks with the electric guitar, really emphasizing the "we [abso-f@#$%*#$-lutely] wish you a merry Christmas" so many of us wish we could write in our Christmas cards.
7. My Morning Jacket - Silent Night. With a departure into the soft and soulful, My Morning Jacket delivers a gorgeous Silent Night that is reminiscent of Mr. Neil Young. Really, just a beautiful rendition.
8. Jack Black and Jason Segel – Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy. A College Humor Christmas classic? Yep. Initially released as a spoof on
Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s version, this Jack & Jason Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy actually, seriously rocks. I already knew Jack could sing, but Jason is a recent emergence in the actor-singer universe. Together with some animation, a serious drum beat and electric guitar, these dudes bring some spice to the season.
9. Bright Eyes - White Christmas. Take it down a notch with Bright Eyes and their peaceful, snuggle-up-in-a-snuggy cover of White Christmas. Alternatively, it would make a great song to watch snowflakes fall with.
10. The Eurhythmics – Winter Wonderland. Okay fine, this one isn’t a recent discovery, but it’s just so good I couldn’t not put it on here. So pull on your neon patched ‘80s winter coat and take that GT sno -racer for a spin to this holiday treasure.
So there you have it - some (potentially) new songs for your holiday track. Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Holidays!