Riddle Me List: 14 Christmas Songs I Adore

Friday, December 19, 2008

With a cup of warm hot cocoa (with cinnamon and a monster marshmallow of course) in hand, it seems fitting for me to get my Yuletide spirit on and riddle you with my favorite modern tracks from the holiday season. While there are about a 100 renditions that I could've thrown on this list, I didn't want to overwhelm you because I know most of you are already high on gingerbread and peppermint candy cane fumes right now, and brain cells are a terrible thing to waste. So I've whittled it down to 14 of my fave songs that bring me holiday cheer every year. And it's always welcomed for you to let me know your favorites for Christmas in comments!

I'll build the suspense by counting down...

14. What Christmas Means To Me-Stevie Wonder: Stamp your feet and clap your hands, the Wonder bring Christmas cheer in an infectious package. If this doesn't move you while you're decorating the tree, you are Scrooge and you are not invited to my house for snowman printed cookies.



13. Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree-Cyndi Lauper: This is insanely cute...it's like a Caribbean/Calypso styled track that seems more suited for a Nickelodeon children's show than my MP3 player. Still I don't care, Cyndi's Merry Christmas, Have A Nice Life, is a grand old holiday time filled with eclectic and quirky holiday renditions from a woman who tends to make even the most overdone Christmas tunes fresh and exciting. And someone found it cute to have a puppet mime it (see vid below)...things you find on YouTube


12. Sleigh Ride-TLC: A neat little R&B twist on a classic with T-Boz's raspy vocals bouncing off of Chilli's slick vocal tone and of course an energetic rap from Miss Left Eye. I often wonder what a TLC Christmas album would've sounded like after listening to this...


11. Favorite Things-Diana Ross and The Supremes: Okay, so "Favorite Things" isn't necessarily a Christmas song as we've heard it always associated with The Sound Of Music....but the Supremes have touted the song on their Christmas collections and by golly, why diss the Supremes? Not to mention I dig the big band sound. Plus, Christmas makes you recall all your favorite things...warm woolen mittens, brown paper packages tied up with string and crisp apple strudel...they've got me down pact. Click link above to have a listen.

10. Our First Christmas-Alexander O'Neal: I enjoy an original Christmas tune every once in awhile, especially when it's crafted wondrously. Case in point, Alexander O'Neal is the slick Casanova as he croons about meeting a gal in the mall (oh, so modern!) and then whisking her off her feet during the holidays. Aww...now that's sweet. Oh, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produced this, so yeah, it's good.


9. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town-Jackson 5: You will no doubt sing along to this song. Once you hear a little wittle Michael Jackson (sigh) belt it out so jubilantly that even Santa can hear him all the way up at the North Pole, you will dive into temptation, and sing right along with him. Loudly of course.


8. O Holy Night-*NSYNC: You gotta admit, *NSYNC could sing even when there wasn't any drum machines and electro synth blips in the background. They prove that point as they do a gorgeous acapella rendition of one of my favorite Christmas standards...eat that Backstreet Boys! I kid.


7. Let It Snow-Boyz II Men: Yes, the boys from Philly's "Silent Night" acapella is pure elegance, but this song goes down so smooth like some cinnamon topped egg nog, that its just not Christmas if I don't hear this lovey-dovey tune.


6. What Child Is This-Vanessa Williams: A little Jazz-er-cise for Christmas never hurts and the former Miss America, Vanessa Williams delivers the goods when it comes to holiday tunage. Here she melds another one of my favorite Christmas tunes, "Carol Of The Bells" into a rich and high in fiber smoothie of a holiday classic with a college jazz house state of mind. Dig on it.


*See the top 5 after the jump...*

5. Christmas In Hollis-Run DMC: "This is Christmas music" as Argyle, the limo driver said as he blasts this to a soon-to-be terrorized Bruce Willis in the 1988 movie, Die Hard. And how on the money he was! This cleverly derived song is the reason why no other rapper since (to my knowledge) has attempted to flow about Christmas, because you just can't compete with this fun and infectious rhyme fest.


4. The Christmas Song-Nat King Cole: It's not Christmas without Nat! There have been many renditions of this song and I want to like them, but I can't. Nat King Cole's smooth as silk version is dear to my soul and if I even attempt to like Toni Braxton's or Luther Vandross's versions better, I feel like I'm cheating on the man.


3. Last Christmas-Wham!: For those who had their hearts ripped out of their chest and stomped upon during the jolly season, well George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley feel your pain. Listening to "Last Christmas" you come away feeling "got damn, that's tragic!" moods, but sometimes the holiday season isn't always fun and games in the land of love. But how clever of the boys to made one of the saddest Christmas songs one of the most darn catchiest modern day Christmas carols?


2. This Christmas-Donny Hathaway: Just perfect in every way. From the sparkling horns to Donny's silky smooth voice, this song just plain ESSENTIAL. This song is revered in my house...my Dad played it a whopping twenty times last year...in one day. And you know what, I'm not sick of it!


1. All I Want For Christmas Is You-Mariah Carey: Wild guess right? I have a strong feeling Mariah inhaled the gingerbread fumes and noshed on candy canes by the pound, because this is a gem of a Christmas tune, it's even become sort of a classic all on it's own as it's being re-done by pop tarts of now. But they can't hold a candle to Mimi's pristine original...call me bias, but it's just not Christmas unless this is spun.

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