‘And This Christmaaaaas, Will Be…” 15 Holiday Songs We Can’t Live Without
It’s a time for happiness and good cheer, drinks and laughter, good times and spending days with friends and family. But no holiday celebration can truly be complete without the proper soundtrack. So to help you in selecting the perfect songs, Madame Noire brings you the 15 best tracks for the the Christmas season. Happy holidays, everyone!
Sleigh Ride (TLC)
We’ll kick off our countdown of must-listen Christmas tracks with a little ’90s flavor courtesy of T-Boz, Left-Eye and Chilli. TLC got into the X-mas game back in 1993 with “Sleigh Ride,” their take on a holiday classic. Though the girls had largely cast the condoms aside by this point in their careers, they still rocked their trademark baggy jeans, basic tees and bad-A$$ attitude. In fact, it wouldn’t be long before they conquered the music world with their classic album “CrazyS[w]exyCool.” But we’d be lying if we said that turning this Christmas tune on didn’t make us miss the beautiful and talented Lisa Lopes, a talent taken far too early.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (DMX)
This track wasn’t soulful or even all that enjoyable to listen to, but you gotta give DMX some credit for making one of the most family-friendly Christmas songs, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” hip-hop worthy. Though we’re doubtful that DMX’s Christmas jam will go down as one of the great holiday tracks to ever grace the music world, it’s made our list for two very specific reasons: Because who doesn’t love a little DMX growling around the holiday season (Come on, come on … what!) and he just tried to make X-mas gangsta. If that doesn’t earn a little respect, we don’t know what will.
All I Want For Christmas Is You (Mariah Carey)
A Christmas playlist wouldn’t be complete without Mariah Carey belting her heart out on “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. OK, we know what you’re thinking: The song has been so overplayed, how can we be like every other Christmas music rundown and include it. Easy: Because it’s a great, catchy song and anyone who says they don’t start singing along the second they hear Mrs. Nick Cannon getting her soulful sangin’ on is lying, real talk. But we’d also be remiss to not mention the very adorable Olivia Olson’s rendition in Love Actually. We see you, girl, giving MC a run for her X-mas money.
White Christmas (Otis Redding)
We’re actually pretty surprised that this song doesn’t get more love around the holiday season, so to correct that, it’s getting a nice spot on our holiday must-listen list. Otis Redding, for all intents and purposes, was one of the greatest soul singers to ever walk the earth, so music lovers were given a wonderful holiday present late in 1968, one year after his death, when his version of the classic “White Christmas” was released. It would ultimately reach No. 12 in Billboard’s Christmas chart.
Christmas in Hollis (RUN-DMC)
“It’s Christmastime in Hollis, Queens, mom’s cooking chicken and collard greens…” Where do we begin with why ‘Christmas in Hollis” is one of the greatest holiday tracks ever laid in hop-hop? Well first, it’s because you get lyrics like that. And secondly, you get a video that is unfathomably fabulous. Run, D.M.C. and Jam Master Jay all get into the holiday spirit, running around with Santa, one strange looking elf and some very fake reindeer. Sure, the video, and maybe even the song, are dated now, but regardless, “Christmas In Hollis” is bound to put a smile on your face this December.
This Christmas (Trey Songz)
OK, so one note here: There have been a number of great renditions of “This Christmas,” but on our list we wanted to give a little attention to one of the lesser-known versions of this timeless classic. Sure Breezy did his thing and obviously Donny Hathaway reigns supreme, but we were pretty damn impressed by how always smooth, incredibly hot Trey Songz got in on the Christmas spirit in 2009. He didn’t shy away from making the song his own and infusing his trademark ad-libs throughout, but kept the soul and spirit of the original version.
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) (Mariah Carey)
“All I Want For Christmas Is You” may have gotten all the Mariah Carey Christmas thunder, but “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” is still one of our favorites. Not only does it have a soulful slant to it (and who doesn’t love a good gospel choir), but it also has that pop-y, catchy flair that most of MC’s early work had. Though we still love Mariah, nothing she could put out now is in even the same snow-laden ballpark as the music she churned out during her 90s heyday. So crank up the volume, reminisce about a back-in-the-day Mariah and enjoy.
Santa Goes Straight To The Ghetto (Snoop Dogg)
Before he toned down his image and traded his doggy dog style for something a little more king of the jungle like, Snoop was down for infusing some gangsta’ rap into the holiday season. So it comes as no surprise that we had to include “Santa Goes Straight to The Ghetto” on our playlist. Not only is the song itself an entertaining departure for Snoop, but the video for the song is incredible. From the flying drop top to the scantily clad video vixens (holiday h***) in the background to appearances from Nate Dogg, Tray Dee and others, it’s Christmas as only Snoop would know how to do.
Merry Mutherfuckin’ Christmas (Eazy-E)
Christmas Compton-style. We’re not sure if it’s the round being popped off at the beginning of the track or if it’s the very family-friendly “Merry Mutherfuckin’ Christmas” Eazy-E shouts, but there is something endearing (or maybe the word is memorable) about this song. Though it’s not exactly inspiring the Yule-tide spirit here and far from being a family-friendly song, we couldn’t help ourselves but to put a song with a little more of an, ahem, edge to it. Christmas ain’t gotta be all Santas and reindeer and that’s exactly what Eazy-E taught us.
Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Jackson 5)
Did you really think we could go an entire Christmas music slideshow without including some sort of Michael Jackson track? Sure, this might be going back, way back, but little Michael singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” with his brothers was just too much for us to ignore. The Jackson 5 released their holiday album in October 1970 and it didn’t take long for it to become the highest-selling Christmas album of the year and a classic among any fans of Motown.
Give Love On Christmas Day (Johnny Gill)
Johnny, Johnny, Johnny. This one is for anyone who misses Johnny Gill’s voice as much as we do (man needs to come out with something, doesn’t he?). This man could make reciting the alphabet sound Hot, so it should come as little surprise that we just had to include him in our Christmastime playlist with “Give Love On Christmas Day.” Though not the biggest of hits, the song seems to combine a perfect balance of holiday spirit with the R&B silkiness that made Gill such a star.
Let It Snow (Boyz II Men)
What happens when you join up one of the greatest R&B groups of all time with one of the most memorable R&B singers of all time? You get the holiday classic “Let It Snow.” As with a lot of the other songs featured this is a remake of a classic, but the way that these two talented acts approach it is something special. Off the album “Christmas Interpretations”, “Let It Snow” features Wanya Morris on lead vocals (like we’d have it any other way) and a smooth sound perfect as background music to any holiday celebration.
O’ Come All Ye Faithful (Faith Evans)
So granted Faith Evans hasn’t exactly had an all-star career as of late, but even though we haven’t had a whole lot of this talented songstress in our lives, we can always take a listen to her Christmas classic “O’ Come All Ye Faithful”. The perfect meld between R&B flavor and gospel flare, Evans’ voice was made for a holiday song like this.
Christmas in Harlem (Kanye West)
A nice departure from the more serious music that we usually get from Kanye West, “Christmas in Harlem” also features Teyana Taylor and Cyhi the Prince. Light-hearted, but still full of that same musical swagger that we’re used to hearing from Yeezy, the song definitely didn’t take off as much as West probably would have liked when it was dropped in the winter of 2010, but is still a favorite of ours.
Silent Night (The Temptations)
There isn’t a better song that we could end our Christmas playlist with than “Silent Night” from The Temptations. Sure, it’s a more mellow selection, but when you have a group as talented as The Temptations and melodies as beautiful as they crank out, there really is no more of an appropriate choice.