A Very Vindi Holiday
Written by Eric Seitz // Illustrated by Emily Williams
A playlist of this holiday season’s freshest tunes — dare we say, bangers??
No matter what holiday you celebrate in December, you can’t escape the spirit of the season. The holiday music scene is a crowded (and possibly oversaturated) market, so sorting through the hundreds of renditions of Holly Jolly Christmas can be daunting. That’s why we at The Vindicator have put together a list of all the most original, fresh tunes to carry you through this holiday season. Read below about some of our favorites!
We Need A Little Christmas
If any artist has the holiday music scene down to a science, it’s Pentatonix. It seems that every year, more artists realize that this song is a bop, despite its outdated and, frankly, gross mention of fruit cake. This song has a frenetic and jittery air, making it a perfect match for the quintet’s fine-tuned harmonies paired with Kevin’s electrifying beat-boxing.
How Could This Be Christmas? Mandy Moore
The existence of the mournful Christmas song is perhaps as old as Elvis’s “Blue Christmas,” however, this original feels distinctly its own while maintaining that holiday feeling. Moore’s angelic voice carries with it a melancholy weight that evokes a sentimentality for what once was.
Bringing Peruvian flair to the Christmas scene, Isabela Merced’s self-penned original begins almost not as a holiday song at all. It’s not until the mention of mistletoe 45 seconds into the song that begins the progression toward the holiday spirit in the dance-fueled chorus. Born and raised in Cleveland, the 19-year-old singer and actress is one to watch out for.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside (feat. Kelly Clarkson)
With Legend’s release of this song in 2019, he seemed to single-handedly antiquate every other rendition of it — the rewording of the male part’s lines eliminate the subtext of rape and sexual harrassment that the orignal song carried. Legend’s part promotes true gentlemanly behavior while maintaining the context of Clarkson’s part.
You Make It Feel Like Christmas (feat. Blake Shelton)
If this song doesn’t make you believe in both true love and the spirit of the holiday season at the same time, nothing will. Life partners Gwen Stefani and Blake Shelton hit home the holiday spirit, wrapped in an ode to the fuzzy, almost first-crush-level feelings of love.
You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch (feat. Sabrina Carpenter)
Carried by Stirling’s mesmerizing violin, this song is a bright and punchy take on the classic song. Carpenter’s soaring vocals stand out in a song traditionally meant for a baritone voice. Further, the cadence of some of Carpenter’s lines as well as Stirling’s almost foreboding instrumental interludes serve to give this song a contemporary facelift.
She & Him
An intimate, minimalist take on this classic, Zooey Deschanel’s alto voice combined with the adorable-sounding ukulele evoke a feeling of unusual comfort. This rendition of the song feels fitting as a pandemic-riddled holiday approaches, and many prepare for a much more limited celebration of Christmas.
To Christmas! (The Drinking Song)
Straight No Chaser
If Pentatonix are the rulers of fresh takes on holiday classics, Straight No Chaser are the kings of holiday originals with only the most relatable of lyrics (see also Text Me Merry Christmas, The Christmas Can-Can, Nutcracker). Encapsulating the essence of Irish pub anthems, this song thrives on the multitude of deep and rowdy voices Straight No Chaser boasts. This song is practically begging to take the place of “Thunderstruck” for a holiday twist on the drinking game of the same name.
I Got My Love To Keep My Warm
Idina Menzel & Billy Porter
A lesser-known holiday tune, this song sounds like it was written specifically for Idina Menzel. With jazz club instrumentals to match Menzel and Porter’s bold voices, the tune is a representation of shameless declarations of love.
Round and Round
It’s incredibly Sia that the only song on her Christmas album to not be an original is not even technically a holiday song at all. Written in 1957, the original has approximately zero holiday spirit, but that didn’t stop Sia from turning it into one of her album’s most festive songs — so much so that Target used it for a Christmas ad two years ago.
Holidays (feat. Earth, Wind & Fire)
It seems that Meghan Trainor has managed to drag Earth, Wind & Fire out of their disco cave of obscurity to create this Christmas-themed ode to the 70’s. Earth, Wind & Fire’s disco funk blends perfectly with Trainor’s signature retro flair to make this a surprisingly fresh take on the holiday original.
With two EPs, a single, and a couple of features under her belt, Grande is no stranger to holiday music; but this original from her adorably titled EP “Christmas & Chill” pays homage to spending Christmas in her home of Boca Raton, where the snow never falls.
Christmas Don’t Be Late
Hidden in an album of amazingly Kacey holiday tunes, Musgraves displays how this song is good in its own right, without being sung by cartoon rodents. Originally sung by Alvin & The Chipmunks, this song actually won a Grammy and took place in society as a staple children’s Christmas song. Musgraves, however, takes the song and gives it a bit of polka flair, capitalizing on the song’s 3/4 time signature.
All I Want for Christmas Is You
Dolly Parton & Jimmy Fallon
After Mariah Carey made this the unofficial official contemporary song of Christmas, artists began flocking to record the song for their Christmas albums. With so many versions in the world, any new versions must have some sort of additional hook to keep them from feeling bland. Parton and Fallon do exactly that with some banter throughout the song that would be cringey if anyone else did it — but the two of them not only pull it off, but they make it adorably their own.
Lil Nas X
The genre-bending star embraces festive winter themes in his long-awaited single. The music video, which surpassed 10 million views on YouTube in its first weekend, opens at the North Pole on Christmas Eve, 2220. Lil Nas X showcases his creativity and dance talent as he plays four elaborately-costumed characters, including a futuristic Santa Nas X. He raps about his rise to fame, including a verse that references the breakout hit "Old Town Road." It's hard not to dance to the catchy beat, and the stunning Christmas-inspired visuals make this track a holiday hit.
White Winter Hymnal
The lyrics as a whole may not make the most sense, but the mere mention of snow, scarves, and winter coats, combined with the beautiful harmonies and uplifting melody that you can hum along to, come together to create a song that encapsulates the essence of the winter season.