We’re not saying they’re new holiday classics. We’re not saying you haven’t heard them before. But if you're looking for a more Non-Traditional Winter listening experience, MTHT Vol. 3 is a mix of less familiar Christmas tunes with lots of seasonal spirit. Enjoy!
“Snow Globe” by Matt Wertz bounces with so much Christmas spirit, it's like listening to a mug of hot chocolate. I’ve loved this song since I first stumbled across it years ago and it’s also part of my “Morning after Thanksgiving” playlist to welcome the season.
Still waiting to find out what Pasesk & Paul can’t do. (Hint: It’s not write a Christmas song, because they wrote a whole musical, plus this second gem, “Count on Christmas” recorded by Bebe Rexha). Buoyant in a different way, but still sparkling like a star a-top a tree.
Sia is brave. When I first saw she had a Christmas album, I wondered what sort of new spin she was going to put on the old songs everyone chooses. My skepticism was thankfully and thoroughly dashed with a whole album of originals, including “Candy Cane Lane”.
Other comments about stand-out songs (among many outstanding Christmas originals):
Kristin Chenoweth’s “Home on Christmas Day” is beautiful, but was clearly written for someone like Josh Groban. Listen to it and you’ll see what I mean.
“Indiana Christmas” by Straight No Chaser will never not get me choked up:
“And I remember those who are gone / Looking down on my home from above. Deep in December is where I belong / Sharing the days with the ones who I love.” I mean, come on.
Jason Gray’s “Christmas Is Coming” is a compelling anthem that reminds us of the reason for the season without sacrificing the need to be catchy.
Not all songs are new — Surprisingly enough, “Oh Santa!” is a decade old; it’s just been resurrected by Mariah Carey with a little help from modern powerhouses Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande. Incidentally, Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special is a pleasant waste of time, so don’t. It’s still likely better than the Grinch on NBC. ? Diane Birch’s “Gee Whiz It’s Christmas” was actually written in the late 1950s. No wonder the retro sound is so authentic, right?
Due to licensing and streaming balderdash, I do not know if the playlists will include “I Can See the Light” but I really encourage everyone to check it out. Featuring Anthony Ramos and the cast of Hamilton, “I Can See the Light” was included in 2016’s Carols for a Cure collection of Christmas songs recorded by shows currently running on Broadway, to raise money for AIDS research. I don’t want to overpromise it as a “transformative” song, but it certainly can remind us why we should remain open to a higher power, whatever its name. Even non-believers can believe in Hope.
Last but not least, “Ribbons and Bows” by Kacey Musgraves. Wow... just, wow. Simple, but still classic Kacey—catchy and elegant. Like a point guard faking right and going left, my favorite lyrical phrase, “expensive rings and diamond things” always makes me chuckle.
Expected, and yet not. Maybe that’s what makes a holiday classic. It’s a good start, anyway.