A playlist for the ultimate Christmas this winter season

Album artwork for “That’s Christmas to Me” by Pentatonix (Photo Credit: http://pentatonix.fanfire.com)

As I have expressed in previous newspaper articles, I absolutely adore Christmas music. Since the Christmas season is upon us, I thought I would compile a list of fifteen of my all-time favorite Christmas songs that would create the ultimate Christmas playlist for listeners of all kinds. Here is the breakdown of the list:

1.“Christmas Lights” by Coldplay: First of all, I love this song. I think I would even consider it my all-time favorite Christmas song. Chris Martin’s voice is haunting in this slightly melancholic song. What I particularly like about this song is that even though it has a melancholy story, in which Martin laments about a lost love, it is also slightly optimistic whenever it enters into the chorus of “Those Christmas lights light up the street, down where the sea is settling. May all your troubles soon be gone. Those Christmas lights keep shining on.” I like how it tells about the great hope that is found at this time of year.

2.“Love is Christmas” by Sara Bareilles: This song is a positively gorgeous ballad by my favorite female singer, Sara Bareilles. Her voice is only accompanied by the piano, which adds a deeply personal element to it. I love the message of this song because it reflects on the idea that Christmas is about love, not about material items, which is a great reminder to its listeners during a time of year that is quite commercialized. In the song, Bareilles expresses gratitude for all that she has. This song is the epitome of what the season is all about and it is beautifully executed by Bareilles.

3.“It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” by Michael Buble: Michael Buble is quickly becoming the voice of Christmas. Even after three years, his Christmas album, entitled “Christmas” is still on the charts. His version of this Christmas classic is truly magical. The opening chords almost make it seem as if its listener is entering this Christmas world. His smooth, jazzy voice makes this song even more wonderful than previous versions.

4.“That’s Christmas to Me” by Pentatonix: The Pentatonix’s new album of the same name has been doing quite well on the charts and still maintains a top- ten spot. This particular song is fantastic. Like Bareille’s “Love is Christmas,” this song is one that reminds its listeners of the joy of Christmas and that the true meaning of Christmas is love, not material possessions. The Pentatonix are an a cappella group and their five voices blend absolutely gorgeously in this song.

5.“Winter Lights” by Saints of Valory: Saints of Valory are a relatively new group. This song is an original Christmas song, with great vocals and instrumentation. It features a blend of sleigh bells, guitar, and organ, in addition to Gavin Jasper’s excellent vocals. The principle chorus line “Is there still room for love? Can there be peace on Earth? This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be” is beautifully articulated and clings to the hope that this season gives people.

6.“I Wish It Was Christmas Today” by Horatio Sanz, Jimmy Fallon, Chris Kattan, and Tracy Morgan: This is a truly iconic Saturday Night Live piece. For several years, all of the SNL greats got together to play this song during the Christmas episode. The lyrics are a little repetitive, but they slightly changed each year. The chorus was always the same, with Sanz singing “I wish it was Christmas today” several times, but the verses were a little different each time. It is a hilarious song and is sure to put a smile on any listener’s face.

7.“The Lights and Buzz” by Jack’s Mannequin: This song is another favorite of mine. This is a deeply personal song for Jack’s Mannequin front man, Andrew McMahon, because he sings about his experience of coming home after battling leukemia and how everything was the same at Christmas, but simultaneously different because his life had just drastically changed. Rather than typical Christmas songs that speak purely of Christmas joy, this song talks about its singer’s desire to move past a difficult time and to heal. McMahon’s voice is, as always, perfect and the blend of piano, synthesizer, sleigh bells, drums, and guitar works perfectly.

8.“Christmas Song” by Dave Matthews Band: In this song, DMB writes a song about the birth of Jesus. Love is a recurring theme in this song, as they remind listeners that love is such a major component of this season and it is all based out of how the celebration of Christmas started—with the birth of Christ. He goes on to point out some of the flaws in our world and how we all could benefit from remembering to love others.

9.“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Seth MacFarlane and Sara Bareilles: There are so many wonderful versions of this song that it is truly difficult to choose a favorite. Seth MacFarlane is known for his work as an actor and as the voice for animated films and TV series. In his album, “Holiday For Swing!” MacFarlane shows that he is quite talented at singing jazz, as well. MacFarlane almost sounds like a present-day Andy Williams. This arrangement of the song is a big band arrangement of the classic and it is quite festive. Bareilles’s beautiful voice really complements MacFarlane’s voice and the harmonies are truly exquisite.

10.“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams: It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the vocal styling of Andy Williams. I think of Andy Williams as a kind of Father Christmas himself, since his songs are truly iconic for the season. This song is his most well-known song and is certainly the best version of the song that I’ve heard. No one can sing this song like Andy Williams can and any Christmas playlist without this song is lacking.

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Author: Isabel Gibson Penrose

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1 Comment

  1. What CD has Sara’s “Love Is Christmas?”

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