Stocking Fillers: Best Christmas Songs of 2012by Holly Williams | 18 December 2012
Many consider Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' the last true Christmas song to be released; it's hard to believe that was back in 1994! Since then, there's been a sputtering of jovial Christmas releases, but nothing that seems to stand the test of time. 2012 has actually delivered a handful of relatively acceptable additions - both cover of classic tracks and original tracks. Here are a few of the tracks you might be hearing more of over Christmas.
Cee Lo Green - All I Need Is Love ft. The Muppets
Topping the list has got to be Cee Lo Green's new Christmas hit. The Muppets are as entertaining as ever in the video when the singer breaks down in his car and has to join their festivities; even Pepe the Prawn gives us a little rap solo halfway through the track. And while Cee Lo sings about only needing love at Christmas, Santa Claus (incidentally, in the form of Craig Robinson from 'The Office') shimmies down the chimney, Lo-Co the Cee-Lo Muppet is introduced and all those timeless lovable characters sing along to the chorus to the tune of, what else, 'Mahna Mahna'. The track appears on Cee Lo's new seasonal release 'Cee-Lo's Magic Moment'.
Dog Is Dead - Wonderful Christmastime
Considering that they're relatively new kids on the block, Dog Is Dead have certainly not failed on the Christmas song front like so many other artists these days. Their multi-instrumental cover of Sir Paul McCartney's 1979 hit is so good, we'd rather listen to it than the original (well, for this year at least) and certainly, their video adds a dose of much needed fun too. This isn't Dog Is Dead's first attempt at a Christmas cover, last year they recorded a brilliant version of The Waitresses 1981 hit 'Christmas Wrapping', which is also well worth a watch! The best thing about 'Wonderful Christmastime' is that it's now available for free download. Sometimes the best things really do come for free!
Some might say it's overdone, but Dinah Shore and Buddy Clark's classic seasonal track 'Baby, It's Cold Outside' will always remain one of the best and Rufus Wainwright's rendition with Sharon Van Etten reminds us just how brilliant it is. It's almost like a 'Best Of.' for Rufus' voice as we experience his full and extensive vocal range alongside his elegant piano playing. Sharon is just as entrancing; her voice so beautifully lingering on this track though with its usual raspy appeal. It's just a shame that there isn't some snowy, romantic music video to go with it yet, but it does appear on the new compilation album 'Holidays Rule'.
Peace - All I Want For Christmas Is You / Creep (Mash Up)
Peace are a band you'll be hearing more of in 2013 and this little mash up of Radiohead's Creep & Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You goes a little way to explaining why. Two songs from two completely different genres brought together during a performance on BBC Radio 6. Lead singer Harrison's drawling, coarse vocals pulls it all together as he sings 'All I Want For Christmas' pretty much in the same tune as the original, against a backing track for 'Creep'. Perhaps not the most joyful of all Christmas renditions, yet sometimes it's just nice to embrace a moment of melancholy.
Andy Burrows - Light The Night (The Snowman and The Snowdog)
Light The Night is the lead track from the soundtrack for the highly anticipated new film The Snowman and The Snowdog set to air on Channel 4 in the UK over Christmas. The former Razorlight drummer might be hoping to replicate the success of Walking In The Air, but even if it doesn't garner the same critical acclaim, we're sure it'll suit the tempo of the film perfectly, and the video shows just that. In it, a young boy dreams of flying after watching 'The Snowman and the Snow Dog' but no matter how many helium balloons and elaborate devices he uses, he cannot leave the ground. That is until a young girl takes pity on him and wishes upon the star at the top of the tree.
Huey And The New Yorkers - Christmas By The Side Of The Road
Christmastime is the time of year that sparks generosity in everyone; it's that time when helping the less fortunate is something that is on everybody's mind. Huey Morgan's newest track 'Christmas By The Side Of The Road' is testament to that as he is sending all royalties to the Help for Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project charities to help those wounded and ill military workers and war veterans that perhaps won't have the best holiday season this year. For the video, he even spent a day busking on the freezing cold streets of London.
The Killers - I Feel It In My Bones
Though they've never delivered a 'classic' Christmas track, The Killers and their annual Christmas singles have been a nice bonus over the last seven years and this year's 'I Feel It In My Bones' is no different. It serves as a sequel to their rather hilarious 2007 festive song 'Don't Shoot Me Santa'. The video again features Ryan Pardey from Halloween Town as the vengeful, eggnog supping, motorcycle riding Santa Claus that The Killers are terrified of and try to persuade that they have been good this year to no avail. Out of all seven of their seasonal back catalogue, this is definitely one of our favourites. With a black comedy like atmosphere about the track, it's a laugh to listen to as well as having a super catchy guitar riff throughout. Brandon Flowers powerful vocals are as compelling as ever as he yells: 'Maybe I was naughty once but now I'm ni-i-ice!'
Christina Perri - Something About December
We all love a good old soppy number at Christmas and Christina Perri has just the right amount of sentimental slushiness with her new track 'Something About December' which features on her latest EP 'A Very Merry Perri Christmas'. The heart-warming video for the track features Perri reminiscing about family Christmases past. With the slow and gentle piano playing and Perri's soft and feminine vocals, there's a familiar Carpenters-esque vibe delivered in this quaint little track.
So, those were some of the best ones, but there have also been a number of typically cheesy offerings, the kind of Christmas tracks that act as a form of aural marmite, you either love 'em or hate 'em. It's also worth remembering the tracks and album that are so far beyond cheese that they're simply terrible. speaking of which, you're probably best off avoiding Olivia Newton John and John Travolta's new collaborative album 'This Christmas', in particular the title track!
From all at Contactmusic, have a Merry Christmas!