A coworker and I were recently talking about our favorite Christmas music. I called him a Christmas music connoisseur, and another coworker piped in and said that’s like being a connoisseur of Hallmark greeting cards. So be it. You get one season of the year for sentimental music and nostalgic feelings. Why not enjoy it?
New Christmas albums come out every year, and most of them are pretty forgettable. Take your favorite singer, let them sing a familiar carol, drown them in strings or orchestration, and voilà!
But every now and then, a singer’s take on a Christmas song will increase your appreciation for the song and the singer. Novelty for it’s own sake rarely works well, but an interesting arrangement of a familiar song can be beautiful.
Here are a few of my favorite Christmas songs that are given a unique “twist” by the artists who covered them. Feel free to add your own in the comments section.
What? You’re going to take my favorite Advent song of all time and give it a new melody? Yes. And somehow, Steven manages to give a new twist to an old song while heightening the mournful, hopeful quality of the original. Breathtaking.
Michael took a Mariah Carey pop song, filled it with pathos, and reworked it until it sounded almost new. My respect for his artistry went up when I heard this version the first time. It’s like listening to a totally different song (which is probably why I like it now).
I’m usually not a fan of giving well-known hymns new melodies, but the haunting piano that opens this song gives the lyrics an edgy atmosphere that heightens their inherent drama.
Everyone knows their original – “Merry Christmas, Darling.” But the Carpenters also put a spin on the fast-paced kids’ song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” They slowed it down, made it a ballad, and overdubbed their voices to give it their own unique sound. Karen never sounded better.
Kenny G takes a perennial favorite and transforms it into a sad, somber Christmas song (which gave me a new appreciation for the simplicity and flexibility of the original melody).
All right, now it’s your turn. What are your favorite Christmas songs with a twist?