Wait a second! Christmas will be here in six days?!?! Are you frickin’ kidding me? Seriously! THE holiday of all holidays will be here in less than a week. And, while I have been working on my Christmas music collection since October 1, as I always do, the tragedies of the past month have tampered with my perception of time.
Now, do you catch that I have been working on my Christmas music collection? That’s right, I am one of those rare weirdos that loves to collect digital files of Christmas music, particularly those recorded since 1970. Ever since I heard Elton John’s “Step into Christmas” back in 1974 or 1975 on American Bandstand, I have been intrigued by contemporary artists covering Christmas standards or recording their own originals. A couple of years ago, on a Black Friday Record Store Day, I purchased the documentary about the collectors of Christmas music called Jingle Bell Rocks! While watching it, I discovered that I was NOT the only weirdo who, in much more modest standards, had a Christmas music collection. Famous people in the movie who all have vast Christmas music collections include off-beat movie director John Waters, leader of indie pop greats The Flaming Lips Wayne Coyne and hip hop legend Joseph “Run” Simmons of Run-DMC.
Thus far, my collection is small, very small, in fact, when compared to the massive collections of some depicted in the movie. Thus far, my collection tends to be mp3s. Still, I have amassed a nice collection. Christmas music seems to be a nice month-long diversion from the pop rock I listen to. Sure, much of the versions of “Have a Merry Little Christmas” are lame. Punk versions of these yuletide hits tend to be pretentious, which is counter intuitive since the punks were supposed to be keeping it real. On the other hand, pop and power pop artist consistently create the better versions of contemporary Christmas songs.
Unfortunately, we are in the midst of a 23-year dry spell for Christmas songs becoming big hits. The last big pop hit that was a Christmas song was Mariah Carey’s transcendent “All I Want for Christmas for You”. The song is so well-written that versions recorded by punk, alternative, metal and rap artists have all made very interesting covers. On the other hand, I think radio’s use of extremely small playlists are squeezing some would-be new Christmas standards from getting any airplay. Some great recent songs have been recorded recently by the likes of Cee Lo Green, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Coldplay, Leona Lewis, fun. and Fetty Wap. Yet, few have heard these songs, any of which would have made excellent new Yuletide standards. Then again, it did take 25 years before we started regularly hearing Vince Vance & the Valiants’ “All I Want for Christmas”. And, that song was released in 1989!
Anyway, I have made a playlist of some of my favorite pop-oriented Christmas songs released primarily during the 2010s with a couple of older songs from the Aughties. Here are my Christmas 2017 pop playlist.
Christmas 2017: Christmas According to Ryan Seacrest
- Ariana Grande – “Santa Tell Me” (2013)
- Band Aid 30 – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (2014)
- Bebe Rexha – “Count on Christmas” (2017)
- Carly Rae Jepsen – “Last Christmas” (2015)
- Cee Lo Green feat. The Muppets – “All I Need Is Love” (2012)
- Colbie Caillat feat. Gavin DeGraw – “Christmas in the Sand” (2012)
- Fetty Wap feat. Monty – “Merry Xmas” (2015)
- fun. – “Sleigh Ride” (2012)
- Girls Aloud – “Not Tonight Santa” (2005)
- Gwen Stefani feat. Blake Shelton – “You Make It Feel like Christmas” (2017)
- Justin Bieber – “Mistletoe” (2011)
- Katy Perry – “Everyday Is a Holiday” (2015)
- Kelly Clarkson – “Christmas Eve” (2017)
- Kylie Minogue – “Every Day’s like Christmas” (2015)
- Lady Gaga feat. Space Cowboy – “Christmas Tree” (2008)
- Liz Phair – “Ho Ho Ho” (2014)
- Mariah Carey – “Oh Santa!” (2010)
- Neon Trees – “Wish List” (2012)
- Oh, Hush! – “Disco Christmas” (2009)
- OneRepublic – “Christmas Without You” (2012)
- Sam Smith – “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” (2014)
- The Cheetah Girls – “The Perfect Christmas (2005)
- The Regrettes – “Marshmallow World” (2016)
- Tuxedo – “Wonderful Christmastime” (2014)
- Wonder Girls – “Best Christmas Ever” (2012)
There you have it! My list of some my favorite pop Christmas songs that have been released in the past decade or so. Check ’em out!