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5 essential songs for your Christmas playlist

5 essential songs for your Christmas playlist

5 essential songs for your Christmas playlist
December 03
12:00 2021

Not many people listen to their car radio anymore, but if you do, it’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas. Three things are guaranteed to make you settle in the spirit of the Christmas season: movies, food and most importantly, music. Following are five essential songs that every reader needs on their Christmas playlist.

Now before I dive in, I want to clarify that “All I Want for Christmas is You” did not make the list because it would be a given. I want to stretch my imagination and give the spotlight to other genius holiday songs that are just as awesome.

  1. “Do They Know it’s Christmas?” by Band Aid

This 1984 international hit was recorded to bring relief to families affected by famine in Ethiopia. An epic collaborative effort akin to Marvel’s Infinity War, Britain’s biggest acts came together to record vocals for the project which included Bono, Sting, George Michael, Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran, Boy George, Phil Collins on drums, etc. This song demonstrates the beauty of humanity coming together and highlights the importance of being grateful for what you have while having empathy for others in need. The story is even sweeter when none of the artists who participated made any royalties off the song.

  1. “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” by Gene Autry

Everyone is familiar with Santa Claus’ favorite reindeer. Rudolph was the ultimate underdog. His nose glowed red and made him different, so he was never given a chance by any of the other reindeer. However, Santa recognized how unique Rudolph was and had him lead the other reindeer for his sleigh ride. It’s a cheerful song that teaches how we should embrace what others might perceive to be a fault and be appreciative of whatever it is because it’s part of what makes us special. Gene Autry’s voice is the perfect narration for this elegant masterpiece of a holiday song.

  1. “Sleigh Ride” by The Ronettes

Legendary girl group The Ronettes knew what they were doing when they put together their 1963 cover of this holiday pop standard. Lead singer Ronnie Spector’s voice is unique and playfully mischievous which is complemented with insanely catchy backup vocals. Her husband and producer Phil Spector featured clip-clops of a whiny horse to draw the listener into the song, and his infamous wall of sound orchestration keeps the listener hooked. It barely clocks in over three minutes, but the cheerful noise leaves you Christmas wishing for the song to be slightly longer.

  1. “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

This song makes me feel like I’m home alone on Christmas Eve. I’m staring at the door just waiting and daring for a sticky bandit to try and steal any present from my house. What a rush this song is, while also being instrumental on a combative level. The guitar riff is aggressive, and the bells add to the tension of the song. The piano keys add a brief splash of somber melody to the otherwise grandiose feeling of a medley between God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen and Shchedryk. After all, the story is about a lone cello player performing a forgotten Christmas carol in war-torn Sarajevo. It’s still an epic listen when you’re in the final minutes of an intense treadmill run. OK, that’s just me.

  1. “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” by Darlene Love

There are many versions of this popular holiday song, and while they’re all good in their own way, none of them have captured the same image Darlene Love’s vocals have. They are so sincere and capture the loneliness and desperation of someone beckoning a loved one. The opening strings are beautiful, and the constant ringing of the bells perfectly blend together for the instrumental. The production of the song is amazing, and at the same time, the lyrics are simple yet powerful. I think a lot of people can relate to the song whether they interpret it as a song for their relative or for their partner. Sometimes, we don’t see our loved ones enough. Christmas is meant for us to unite and express our love for one another. In short, this is the perfect holiday love song.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Adrian Maldonado

Adrian Maldonado

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