Top 10 Original Christmas Pop Songs
Christmas is a time for joyful celebration — and hearing the same Christmas songs over and over again. But besides the old standards, the last few years have produced some exceptional original Christmas songs, that reinvent traditional holiday themes in a fresh new way. From TLC to Taylor Swift, here's our list of the top 10 original Christmas pop songs.
Sure, it's a little cheesy — but so what? The standout track from 'N Sync's 1998 holiday album 'Home for Christmas,' 'Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays' is a jingly, rhythmic uptempo that does more than just sound some yuletide cheer — it teleports us right back to the '90s. An irresistible boy band confection.
What's better than a total bummer of a Christmas song? British synthpop duo Hurts' signature brand of "death disco" works perfectly for this moody-yet-inspiring midtempo, bemoaning the arrival of Christmas and wishing that the New Year would come a little sooner: "All of the bells ringing out for Christmas / And I'm not supposed to feel this way / But all that I want this year for Christmas is New Year's Day."
Another millennial teen pop jam, Britney Spears' 'My Only Wish (This Year)' follows the time-honored tradition of asking Santa Claus for love. "He's all I want, just for me/Underneath my Christmas tree," she sings over bouncy instrumentation. 'My Only Wish' is a sweet throwback to the simpler days of Godney.
Way back in 1993, the girls of TLC gave an R&B reswizzling to the '50s Christmas carol 'Sleigh Ride,' and the results still make us wanna bump 'n' grind under the mistletoe. New jack swing influences and Left-Eye's hilariously droll rapping make this an effortlessly cool, contemporary classic.
Coldplay's mellow-but-theatrical adult contemporary sound lends itself perfectly to holiday music, and their original ballad, 'Christmas Lights,' is a gorgeous elegy to lost love at the cheeriest time of year. "When you're still waiting for the snow to fall / It doesn't really feel like Christmas at all," lead vocalist Chris Martin croons over sprightly bells.
English girl group Girls Aloud's Christmas album, which came packaged with their 2005 record 'Chemistry,' is a delirious good time. The best of the original songs, 'Not Tonight Santa,' is a lascivious, innuendo-laden holiday romp. "Ooh-ooh / I'll let you peek inside my stocking / If you show me yours," the girls coo. Scandalized!
The 1986 classic from Wham!, 'Last Christmas,' has been covered so many times we'd almost forgotten what the original sounds like — but if we forget all those amped-up dance versions from Cascada and Ashley Tisdale, George Michael's original is pretty much pitch-perfect. Spunky synths and layers of pained vocals make it somehow simultaneously festive and wistful — a lovely combination that fits the holidays perfectly.
Justin Bieber's new Christmas single, 'Mistletoe,' is the most recent entry on our countdown, but it's already been cemented as a holiday classic. Not only does the single feature sweet finger-snaps and acoustic guitar, Bieber's increasingly husky vocals, or that unforgettable "Shorty, will you?" hook, but has lyrics that are actually about Christmas. We're calling it like we see it: That's a Yuletide miracle.
Taylor Swift's highly underrated 2007 holiday EP has more than its share of gems, but our favorite is the stripped-down 'Christmases When You Were Mine,' which contains some of her most devastating lyrics ever, as she turns her incisive pen to a Christmas ex. "I know this shouldn't be a lonely time / But there were Christmases when you were mine," she sings over a lonesome guitar. When her voice wavers a little on "I bet you got your mom another sweater," that's when we need the tissues — and lots of them.
It's the most-played Christmas song of the year, every year, and still, it gives us full-body chills with how overwhelmingly euphoric it is — and just when we're starting to get sick of it, it disappears for another year and returns just in time to fill us with holiday spirit again. Mariah Carey's 1994 hit, 'All I Want for Christmas Is You,' is probably the defining Christmas song of our generation — and it totally deserves to be.