Our Ten Best- Episode 34: Modern Christmas Songs

In case you’re sick of “O Christmas Tree” or can’t stand to hear another rendition of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” then you’re in luck. Here are ten Christmas songs that will keep your spirits high.

“Christmas in Hollis” – Run DMC

Who can forget this 1987 classic? Originally from A Very Special Christmas album, “Christmas in Hollis” with the sample of Clarence Carter’s “Back Door Santa” is modern holiday tune that you can proudly rap out loud with. It was featured in the first “Die Hard” movie – making this film arguably a Christmas movie.

“City of Silver Dreams” – Sugarland

Through refreshing lyrics and the sound of a mandolin Sugarland does a modern take on the birth of Christ. Together Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush have worked their way into the Christmas music canon with this instant classic.

“Father Christmas” – The Kinks

The Kinks singing holiday music? Yes in their irreverent way The Kinks put their stamp on Christmas with social lyrics that speak of the uselessness of toys when people need money. Originally released in 1977 it has not gotten the respect it deserves. Unfortunately it is as relevant as it was over 30 years ago.

“Funky New Year” – The Eagles

This iconic band rocks and that goes for holiday music as well as their plethora of hits. However, on the B-side of “Please Come Home for Christmas” is this little known gem. Originally released in 1978 it is rarely heard, but you should download it to play at your next party or if you want to practice air guitar. It’s something that should be cranked up year round.

“Last Christmas” – Wham

Yes the duo that brought you “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” has a modern Christmas classic. Before they parted George Michael penned this tune that was on the B-side of another Wham hit “Everything She Wants.” Since it chart topping success in 1984 it has been covered by the likes of Ashley Tisdale, the cast of “Glee” and a myriad of other artists.

“Celebrate Love” – Jordan Pruitt

Sometimes this is the only time of year where you can listen to a syrupy-sweet holiday tune without guilt. So unabashedly sing out loud with Pruitt as she “Light up the candles, dim all the lights/ [and] Now let the magic begin.”

“Soul Cake” – Sting

Not exactly a modern classic, but its Sting and what he does with this medieval tune makes it new. Previously written and reconfigured (“A Soalin”, circa 1963) by the iconic Peter, Paul and Mary, Sting adds to this tune ( that is based on praying for the souls of the dead) by bringing it back to its roots. It’s also on his current album If On a Winter’s Night and you should check it out.

“Get Your Hump on This Christmas” – Earth, Wind and Fire featuring Cleveland Brown

Say what you will about “The Cleveland Brown Show” when you put the iconic musical stylings of Earth, Wind and Fire you can’t help but enjoy this take on the commercialization of Christmas. It’s a fun song that is a welcome break from the usual take on Christmas music.

“2000 Miles” – The Pretenders

With its winter theme this track has become associated with the Christmas holiday. This song has been covered by other bands and made it into the top 20 in Great Britain in 1983 (the same year it was released). While the muted-tempo beat might not make you feel Christmassy; it is a nice change of pace from the formulaic Christmas tunes that you usually hear.

“Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer” – Elmo and Patsy Shropshire

It’s the 30-year anniversary of this modern classic written by Randy Brooks. It’s everything a fun holiday song should have – a dysfunctional family, PG rated violence and gifts you don’t want. If nothing else it reaffirms that “you may say there’s no such thing as Santa, but as for me and grandpa we believe.”

About Donna-Lyn Washington 611 Articles
Donna-lyn Washington has a M.A. in English from Brooklyn College. She is currently teaching at Kingsborough Community College where her love of comics and pop culture play key parts in helping her students move forward in their academic careers. As a senior writer for ReviewFix she has been able to explore a variety of worlds through comics, film and television and has met some interesting writers and artists along the way. Donna-lyn does a weekly podcast reviewing indie comics and has also contributed entries to the 'Encyclopedia of Black Comics,’ the academic anthology ‘Critical Insights: Frank Yerby’ and is the editor for the upcoming book, ‘Conversations With: John Jennings.’

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