Festive Five: Contemporary Christmas Classics

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For me, the end of year holidays are, without a doubt, the most wonderful time of the year. Some of my favourite songs are Christmas anthems, but they can become a little repetitive. With that in mind, here are a few you may wish to add to your seasonal selection!

A festive playlist is my go-to at this time of year, and as much as I love the classics, one problem is that there just aren’t all that many to choose from. Just about every festive song famously performed by Frank Sinatra has spawned multiple covers which only occasionally get close to the brilliance of his versions; while themed number ones from years gone by are brilliant the first few times, but by the tenth listen even those as peerless as ‘Fairytale of New York’ have lost some of their appeal.

So what’s one to do on a December evening, when wrapped up in a seasonal jumper with a mince pie on the go? Add to that playlist of course – the more festive tracks, the merrier, and the less tiresome they’ll become! Here are some additions you may wish to consider …

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings – Just Another Christmas Song

2016 was the year in which we bade a sad farewell to David Bowie, Prince and Leonard Cohen, as well as the wonderful Sharon Lafaye Jones. Jones and her group, The Dap Kings, released ‘Just Another Christmas Song’ only last year and I must say it’s one of my faves. The horn section complements Jones’ effortless vocal in a way which seems to somehow improve my mood tenfold every time I hear it. Their entire 2015 album (It’s a Holiday Soul Party) is well worth a listen: it’s packed full of fabulously soulful renditions of tunes which you may well recognise!

Coldplay – Christmas Lights

I can’t believe that ‘Christmas Lights’ is six years old this time around! Though, if we’re playing by the unwritten rules and only listening to seasonal tracks during the final month of the year, I suppose it’s only half a year old in those terms. I usually share Orange Is The New Black’s Flaca’s disdain for Coldplay, but I think ‘Christmas Lights’ is a bit special. There’s something about the softly spoken opening and its piano accompaniment that even manages to warm the heart of this Coldplay-sceptic!

Golden Rules – Night Shifts At Christmas

Golden Rules is a collaboration between American vocalist Eric Biddines and British producer Paul White. The duo worked together to put out an album in 2015 which included the outstanding ‘It’s Over’, and released this seasonal tune later in the year. Biddines’ vocals are on point for ‘Night Shifts …’, which has a thought provoking message about doing the best for those who you love at Christmas time, while the prominent percussion in the background gave an inkling of the sort of sound which White would go on to utilise when producing Danny Brown’s 2016 album, Atrocity Exhibition.

Ellie Goulding – Your Song

When is a song not a Christmas song, but rather a song that just happened to be in the charts around that time of year? I reckon we can give Ellie’s version of a song originally performed by Elton John the benefit of the doubt and say it’s a Christmas track thanks to its use in a particularly cute John Lewis advert from 2010. We certainly heard it just about every year that year. Goulding’s vocal is a little more pared back than Elton’s original, and the accompaniment also reduced mainly to a similar level to ‘Christmas Lights’, but the song works all the better for it when it comes to conveying the tenderness and sincerity of its lyrics.

Justin Bieber – Mistletoe

Back in 2011, Bieber had only recently ditched the trademark hairstyle sported during his rise to fame via YouTube and was only just beginning to develop his extensive tattoo collection. This was in the days before he’d put out the ever-so-slightly edgy ‘Boyfriend’, so he was still some way from releasing the tracks which are now ubiquitous on a Union night out. ‘Mistletoe’ retains some of the sickly excessiveness sweetness of his music prior to that point, though it’s redeemed by a nice bit of guitar accompaniment and subtle reggae vibe which differentiates it from what went before and, I think, makes it worthy of a place on any seasonal playlist. 

 

Liam David Hopley
Head of Design

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About Author

This is Beatrice’s third year with LSU Media. In her first year she wrote for Label in both Features and News, her second year saw her take the position of Music Content Coordinator for LSU Media as well as Label Features Editor. Her third and final year with Label sees her take the position of Head of Online, Marketing and Distrubution where she hopes to maximise Label’s presence on and off campus.

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