Five new Christmas songs that deserve a listen

Ashley Winward

Christmas time is finally here, and with that many go instantly to what I call the “retail classics.” You know what I’m talking about—those same five songs you always hear in your favorite retail store.

Yoko Ono and The Flaming Lips cover “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” (AP Photo)
Yoko Ono and The Flaming Lips cover “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” (AP Photo)

“All I want for Christmas is You” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” are great songs, don’t get me wrong, but I believe that, much like your iPod, even your Christmas playlist needs an update at least once a year. Who knows if you’re missing out on something great just because you’re still hung up over songs that came out in the 30s (yes I’m talking about you “Winter Wonderland”). While I will admit there are a lot of bad Christmas songs, there have been some new holiday releases that I would certainly put on at my Christmas party this year.

Seth Macfarlane and Norah Jones – “Little Jack Frost Get Lost” Seth MacFarlane of Family Guy fame has proved that his talents expand far past the TV screen many times, including his album, Music is Better than Words in 2011. This year he’s back with a Christmas album Holiday for Swing and this duet with the beautiful Norah Jones is something I would listen to as I’m unwinding with a glass of eggnog by the fire. It’s a beautifully produced swing tune and the subtle jabs at the holiday cold are there but not as overbearing as some Family Guy jokes can be.

Johnnyswim – “Christmas Day” Speaking of something that you can curl up by the fire with, Johnnyswim has the most gorgeous acoustic track with “Christmas Day.” The harmonies and the sleigh bells makes me feel warm inside. The lyrics are also so sweet and wonderfully crafted, my favorite being, “I’m too old to be so excited” showing that even as we get older it’s still okay to wake up feeling like a kid on Christmas morning. Any country or acoustic fans would love this song on their Christmas playlist.

Judith Own and Harry Shearer – “Christmas with the Devil” Now, while this is a cover of an older song, the new way in which it was performed makes all the difference. The original song was written by Spinal Tap, however this cover by Own and her husband Shearer uses only piano and an upright bass to bring a smoother jazz feel to the song. Another thing that I love about this song is that if you purchase it, it will benefit a mental health organization called Bring Change 2 Mind. A great song with a great cause tied to it!

The Both – “Nothing Left to Do (Let’s Make This Christmas Blue)” While the holiday season is all about good spirits and happiness, it’s not always the most wonderful time of the year for everyone. The Both put just the right spin on the classic elements of Christmas time with a melancholy twist.

It’s okay to be sad at Christmas time whether it be missing a loved one or just because the holiday season makes you feel a little blue. I put this song on my list for all of those people and I hope that you can find something to brighten your spirits this holiday season even a tiny bit.

The Flaming Lips and Yoko Ono – “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” I end my list with a classic with a new twist that absolutely blew me away. “Happy Xmas (War is Over)” was covered by The Flaming Lips, originally sung by the late great John Lennon; however they invited his wife Yoko Ono to sing on the track as well. The mix of The Flaming Lips usual psychedelic twist on things with Yoko Ono’s voice made this song absolutely mesmerizing. I also love this song itself because I think that it brings a hope and optimism into the New Year, something I think we all need.

I wish all of my readers a Happy Holidays, whatever you celebrate and I can’t wait to bring you all new music in the New Year!