Every year we hear a lot of the same classic holiday songs. There’s no denying the holiday power of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas,” or DMX’s “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.” But bless the artists who keep pushing the holiday music envelope and are giving us new tunes to break up the monotony of the season. So with that, these were the songs, albums, and more that stole the show this holiday season.
There I Ruined It’s Mariah Carey x Twisted Sister Christmas Mash-Up
You didn’t think you were gonna get through this list without a Mariah Carey song, did you? So we’ll get it out of the way right now, but it’s not what you think. The folks at the There I Ruined It YouTube channel present some of the most unpredictable mash-ups of songs. Think Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” expertly collided with a K-Pop band. For the holiday season, however, they have taken the liberty of mashing up Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” with Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take it” in dedication to “the warriors of Christmas retail during another Mariah Carey Season.” It’s the stuff that holiday heavy metal dreams are made of. I wonder if Mariah’s gotten wind of this one yet? While she’d probably be repulsed, she’d certainly applaud the fact that the song is part of the “Un-Ruin Christmas” fundraiser for Toys For Tots. Donate here.
HAIM’s Reboot of Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song”
The Sandman created a timeless joint back in his SNL days with “The Hanukkah Song,” but who better to give it a re-fresh than Los Angeles’ most famous trio of Jewish sisters, Haim? But you know what the funniest thing is about this song? It’s the little differences. Maya Rudolph, Japanese Breakfast, and Bryce and Aaron Dessner of The National kick off the tune’s laundry list of famous Jews, then instead of naming who “eats together at the Carnegie Deli” (a la Sandler’s original), Este, Alana, and Danielle swap in LA institution “Canter’s Deli.” The Haim version has a distinct knack for including prevalent pop culture personalities and lines like “Doja Cat’s half-Jewish, Chalamet’s half too. Put ‘em both together, what a fine-looking Jew!” would make the Sandman proud. The big payoff comes at the end of the clip, when we find out that the video released during Hanukkah, is actually a clever ruse to tease their 2022 tour.
The LCD Soundsystem Holiday Special Featuring the All My Friends Sitcom
If you hadn’t heard yet, the Omicron coronavirus variant forced LCD Soundsystem to cancel the final three shows of their 20-night residency at New York City venue Brooklyn Steel. It’s definitely the prudent move given the circumstances in NYC right now, but rest assured, you can celebrate with LCD Soundsystem on Christmas week by watching their brand new holiday special. The LCD Soundsystem Holiday Special is part concert and part LCD sitcom, and the sitcom is directed by comedic genius Eric Wareheim. It stars Wareheim as James Murphy, alongside Macaulay Culkin, Aparna Nancherla, Luenelle, and more. It airs on December 22nd via Amazon Music here and the trailer below is can’t miss stuff.
Jhené Aiko – “Wrap Me Up”
A holiday love song from Aiko, “Wrap Me Up” opens with jingle bells and a harp as she hopes to spend the holiday season with a lover by the fire. Where a lot of holiday pop comes across as an over-produced year-end formality, Aiko’s gorgeous voice is undeniable here. She evokes the imagery of the sights, sounds, and feel of the holiday season as she sings:
“Every December you’d make sure you’re here
So I pray as soon as I wake
That we spend today up under each other
‘Cause there’s nothing more I need
Than you here with me, no gift would be better”
A Very She & Him Christmas Deluxe Edition
There is no album I’ve played more this holiday season than the now classic and officially ten years old holiday album from the She & Him duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. Deschanel’s voice has this built-in nostalgia that makes us think about her singing Christmas carols in the movie Elf, an iconic modern Christmas tale if there ever was one. But I digress, because the deluxe version of A Very She & Him Christmas comes with new bonus material like a cover of Madonna’s “Holiday,” and a splendid take on “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” that’s a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. Also, all proceeds from album sales benefit 826 National, which funds creative writing programs for kids. Get it at Bandcamp.
Nathaniel Rateliff and Jon Batiste’s Video Magic On “Run Rudolph Run”
Chuck Berry’s raucous “Run Rudolph Run” always seems to call to mind the Home Alone scene when the McAllister family is running for dear life through Chicago’s O’Hare Airport as they attempt to barely make their flight to Paris. Now the soul and folk rock and roll of Nathaniel Rateliff meets the dizzying multi-instrumentalism of 11-time 2022 Grammy Award nominee Jon Batiste on this new version. Debuted at the end of a Late Night With Stephen Colbert episode (where Batiste serves as the bandleader), they totally do Berry’s bluesy song justice. But the way they filmed their video is eye-popping to say the least, as our eyes are drawn to multiple Jons and Nathaniels playing the song. Watch it below.
Gucci Mane and 1017’s So Icy Christmas mixtape
Gucci Mane has put his East Atlanta Santa series to bed and now has the So Icy Christmas mixtape on deck featuring artists from his 1017 records label. 1017 Signees like Big Scarr, BigWalkDog, Enchanting, and Hotboy Wes grace tracks on the album that don’t necessarily fit into the holiday theme, but it’s the Christmas bangers that Gucci Mane himself is on that stand out best. Album opener “Street Ni66a Christmas” is produced by long-time collaborator Zaytoven. “All I Want For Christmas” is a street rap Christmas carol for the ages, where Gucci Mane spits: “All I want for Christmas is my Glock with the extension / A handgun with some monkey nuts, that’s all I want for Christmas.” He then takes a moment to say a prayer for Young Dolph on the Metro Boomin and Zaytoven-produced tribute track, “Long Live Dolph.” As far as holiday music traditions in rap go, Gucci Mane might as well be on his way to sainthood.
Kurstin x Grohl: The Hanukkah Sessions 2021
Picking up on the tradition they started last year, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and super-producer Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia, Foos) posted a YouTube video of them performing a cover of a song by a Jewish artist on each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. It was something to look forward during Hanukkah with Grohl (not Jewish) and Kurstin (Jewish) performing songs like Van Halen’s “Jump” (shout out David Lee Roth,) “Copacabana” with Grohl doing his best Barry Manilow impression, and Amy Winehouse’s “Take The Box,” with Grohl’s daughter Violet on lead vocals.
Jucee Froot As A Raunchy Grinch In The “Christmas List” Video”
Christmas just got a little more ratchet with Jucee Froot’s latest…errrr…holiday video. The rapper tips her Santa cap to the magic of Dr. Seuss with her provocative Grinch costume that spares no detail (all the way down to the green body paint. Uproxx Hip-Hop Editor Aaron Williams said this one best: “Her daughter’s also in the video, which lends another layer of heightened absurdism to the proceedings as Jucee reels off a Christmas list that will probably not only land her on the naughty list, but also send Santa to the doghouse for a week should Mrs. Claus peek over his shoulder while reading it.” Smash that play button below.
Beach Bunny – “Christmas Caller”
Holidays or not, this is just a damn great song and a welcome addition to the indie rock holiday music canon. Singer Lili Trifilio has a knack for oh so sweet hooks and she rides a poppy guitar hook on this one while delivering sugar cookie and cinnamon spice dusted “doo doo doos.”
Some of the artists covered here are Warner Music artists. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.