Backstreet Boys, Alicia Keys, Phoebe Bridgers, and More

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Listen up, all you purists who refuse to hear a note of Christmas music until after Thanksgiving: Your time is up. With Turkey Day now firmly in the rearview, it’s time to crank up the Mariah Carey, the Nat King Cole, and even the Ariana Grande (long live Christmas & Chill) as we usher in the most wonderful time of the year.

But if you feel like your holiday playlist is starting to get stale, I bring you good tidings of comfort and joy: There’s a slew of new Christmas music out this year. Whether you’re hankering for some festive, upbeat bops or you want to lean into the sad-girl seasonal vibes, here are 25 new songs for any holiday mood.

Remi Wolf – “Winter Wonderland”

The native Californian has put a sunny spin on two holiday classics, including a surf-rock, island-inspired version of “Last Christmas” and this similarly bright take on “Winter Wonderland.” Because who says the holiday season can’t be beach-friendly?

Phoebe Bridgers – “So Much Wine”

It wouldn’t be Christmastime without a new Phoebe Bridgers cover. The singer-songwriter has continued her run of somber seasonal offerings (this is her sixth one since 2017) with her take on The Handsome Family’s “So Much Wine.” Like those previous covers, this one is Christmas counter-programming of sorts, with its melancholic guitar and Bridgers’ tender vocals as she sings to a loved one who’s battling alcohol addiction. Also of note: Proceeds toward the single benefit the Los Angeles LGBT Center, so if you dig Bridgers’ version, consider doing a little holiday goodwill this year.

Alicia Keys – “December Back 2 June”

Alicia Keys dips into ’70s Motown territory on her first Christmas album and its loved-up lead single, “December Back 2 June.” It’s an instant feel-good classic, especially when paired with a video in which Keys hosts the Harlem house party of your dreams.

Rosie Thomas ft. Sufjan Stevens – “We Should Be Together”

Sufjan Stevens is no stranger to holiday music, having released two yuletide projects in years’ past, Songs for Christmas and Silver & Gold. Now, he lends his distinct ghostly charm to Rosie Thomas’ beautiful, bittersweet “We Should Be Together.” “I’ll be home for Christmastime, whatever the weather / You’ll be home for Christmas too, we should be together,” they sing in perfect harmony.

Tkay Maidza – “Nights in December”

This is the winter vibe we should all aspire for. The Zimbabwean-born musician—who’s currently on tour with Dua Lipa—skates around traditional Christmas song conventions, delivering a reverb-heavy, electronic-tinged bop that she said was inspired by a dreamy holiday trip to New York City. May we all have nights in December this utterly cool.

Lizzo – “Someday at Christmas”

Like The Jackson 5, Diana Ross, and Justin Bieber before her, Lizzo has put a Special (sorry) twist on Stevie Wonder’s 1967 classic for Amazon Music. It’s a refreshingly soulful turn for the pop superstar, as she belts and growls her way through Wonder’s optimistic plea for peace.

Lola Kirke – “Christmas Alone”

Sometimes it’s better to ditch your annoying family and spend your holidays chugging spiked eggnog alone. So says actress-musician Lola Kirke on this cheeky, banjo-strumming ditty from her Live From the Blue Room EP.

Camila Cabello – “I’ll Be Home for Christmas”

It’s about time Camila put this one on wax. She’s performed her Latin-flavored Bing Crosby cover live a couple times before—including at the White House last year—but The Voice’s newest coach has finally committed it to record, complete with a full mariachi, strings, and the works.

Backstreet Boys – “Last Christmas”

It’s honestly shocking it took Backstreet Boys this long to make a Christmas album, considering *NSYNC and 98 Degrees both did it two decades ago, and considering BSB are the only major Y2K boy band (man band?) who are actually still together. Nonetheless, A Very Backstreet Christmas is indeed a very welcome treat that features the guys putting their signature harmonies on a slew of holiday classics. Their cover of Wham!’s “Last Christmas” is an easy standout, since it puts them back in their lovesick, “Quit Playing Games”-esque bag.

Noah Cyrus and PJ Harding – “Snow in LA”

The longtime collaborators described their new holiday collab as “a dark Christmas song for what feels like a pretty dark time,” which adds up, considering their track record of nihilistic pop tunes together. This one’s a folksy rumination on how climate change and people’s general cynicism looms over our holiday festivities. Womp, womp.

Titus Andronicus – “Drummer Boy”

Let’s be clear: this is not the “Little Drummer Boy” song you Christmas music purists know and love. Instead, the indie rockers have taken Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” and revamped it into a seasonal pub singalong about the birth of Jesus, which makes for surprisingly rowdy fare in their capable hands. Points for creativity, at the very least.

Salem Ilese – “Secret Santa”

The 23-year-old is something of a pop songwriting wunderkind, boasting credits on Demi Lovato’s “Holy Fvck” and Bella Poarch’s “Build a Bitch.” Now, she’s turned her talents to the Christmas season with this peppy, flirty bop about wanting to fulfill her crush’s fantasy by giving them whatever they want, whether it’s crypto, cash, or a Fortnite battlepass. (Yes, those are actual examples she gives. She’s 23, OK?)

Joss Stone – “What Christmas Means to Me”

The British soul singer’s new holiday album is led by this joyful Stevie Wonder cover, which comes alongside a music video where Stone embraces her inner Christmas queen. So many glam sparkly gowns!

Patrick Stump – “Merry Spidey Christmas”

Did you know Patrick Stump might secretly be your 5-year-old nephew’s favorite rocker? Not only does the Fall Out Boy frontman perform the theme song for Spidey And His Amazing Friends, Marvel’s Disney Junior series for preschoolers, but he’s also whipped up a cheery little tune about grumpy goblins embracing holiday cheer. Cute!

Lindsay Lohan – “Jingle Bell Rock”

Lohan’s deliciously cheesy rom-com Falling for Christmas not only gifts us some stellar winter outfit inspo (that hot pink ski suit!), but it also marks the return of LiLo the Pop Star. Well, kind of. Eighteen years after she covered “Jingle Bell Rock” for Mean Girls’ talent show scene, Lohan resurrects the tune for Netflix, sounding just as peppy as we remember her. Just try to ignore the weird, unnecessary rap in the middle.

The Offspring – “Please Come Home for Christmas”

The punk veterans are literally ringing in the season with a surprisingly faithful cover of Charles Brown’s 1960 classic, with frontman Dexter Holland ably flexing his vocal range.

Thomas Day – “Santa Claus Is Back in Town”

Capitalizing on this year’s Elvis Mania, TikTok sensation Thomas Day does his best Presley impression with his version of the King’s “Santa Claus Is Back in Town,” complete with snarling, but tame energy. The teens in your life will positively swoon.

Ne-Yo – “Everyday Is a Holiday”

Three years after dropping his first holiday album, Another Kind of Christmas, the R&B crooner has gifted fans a deluxe edition of the record, which includes this previously unreleased gem. It’s a feel-good, loved-up ode to his “lady by day, little freak by night,” who’s about to get the, uh, “biggest box with the biggest bow.” OK then!

Lauren Spencer Smith – “Single on the 25th”

Lauren Spencer Smith’s face on the cover art for her new song says it all: riding solo for the holidays simply sucks. “Single on the 25th” is a moody ballad from the rising singer-songwriter, who’s simultaneously lonely and hopeful that maybe next year won’t be so bad.

Debbie Gibson – “Jingle Those Bells”

The famed ’80s pop star recently dropped her first-ever holiday album, Winterlicious, which boasts a duet with New Kids on the Block’s Joey McIntyre, a festive twist on “Candy Man,” and the sparkly 2021 single “Christmas Star.” But I’m highlighting the almost gratingly peppy “Jingle Those Bells” simply because of the great lyric, “Could that be? / It is! A rescue puppy!” and because I’m a sucker for when an artist ends a song by laughing into the mic and saying something like, “That was fun!”

Switchfoot – “California Christmas”

The San Diego rockers behind such mid-aughts anthems as “Dare You to Move” and “Meant to Live” are leaning into their Cali roots with this original holiday ditty. It’s a not-so-subtle homage to The Beach Boys, about surfing, avocado trees, and other West Coast cliches.

Caylee Hammack – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

I simply can’t resist acknowledging anyone who bravely attempts covering this Darlene Love barnburner, which has been ably performed by everyone from Mariah Carey to U2. Nashville artist Caylee Hammack manages to nail her rendition, giving it an upbeat country twist while singing her damn heart out.

Kurt Vile – “Must Be Santa”

Kurt Vile made his contribution to the “Spotify Singles: Holiday Collection” a family affair this year. He’s joined by his two daughters on their warm cover of the Bob Dylan tune, which should instantly melt any Scrooge’s heart this holiday season.

Norah Jones – “The Christmas Waltz”

Norah Jones has released a new deluxe edition of her 2021 holiday LP, I Dream of Christmas, featuring a fresh batch of timeless seasonal favorites. “The Christmas Waltz” is a clear highlight. This is Jones at her best, dreamiest, and shmaltziest.

Pentatonix ft. Meghan Trainor – “Kid on Christmas”

For those keeping track, a cappella royals Pentatonix just released their sixth holiday album; they clearly know their bag, and they’re content to keep that (probably prosperous) train rolling. Holidays Around the World features five original songs, including this one with Meghan Trainor, who’s no stranger to saccharine Christmas tunes herself. It’s about embracing your inner child on Christmas Day, and it’s just as buoyant and sugary-sweet as you’d imagine.



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