A free, downloadable mixtape of Christmas music spanning the musical spectrum from wartime domestic pop to R&B to K-Pop to house.
Mixes take on lives of their own. I originally intended for this year's mix of Christmas music to include Lindsey Stirling's "Warmer in the Winter" since it features Trombone Shorty, but her effort to recall the heyday of swinging jazz vocalists with Shorty providing Nelson Riddle-like punctuation marks didn't fit next to Les Brown and His Orchestra doing that thing in the 1940s, nor did it follow Jeremih and Chance the Rapper's stepping track, "I'm Your Santa."
Each year, I try to provide an alternative to even the alternative Christmas mixes, but with the spirit of the season in mind. It's easy to piss on Christmas or take the holiday out of holiday songs; it's trickier to find tracks that have magic, warmth, and seasonality. I've touched on everything from easy listening to Major Lazer's electronic skank, from dream pop to classic R&B, and from indie rock to bounce. The common thread throughout is that each touches on something that seems central to Christmas for me, whether its the aura of mystery or the spirit of community.
For me, the high points of this year's mix are Aivi and Surasshu's "Baby It's Cold Outside," (because I love their chiptune-plus music on Steven Universe, and that song without the creepy lyrics), Dej Loaf's nakedly emotional "All I Want for Christmas," Kaskade's "God Bless Ye," (which mashes up the hymn with Hall & Oates' "Sara Smile"), and BTS' K-Pop cover of Justin Bieber's "Mistletoe." Still, everything on this mix makes me happy, including The Bird and The Bee's Swinging London take on "The 12 Days of Christmas," the most punishing Christmas song in my books.
1. Baby It’s Cold Outside - Aivi and Surasshu
2. When Christmas Comes to Our House - Dottie Evans with the Brigadier Quartet
3. Christmas Tree - Major Lazer
4. Sha La Da La La (Christmas Time) - The Sha La Das
5. White Christmas - Andre Kostelanetz
6. Christmas is Coming - Mega Ran feat. Phil Harmonic
7. Blue Christmas - Meditation Singers
8. Wonderful Christmastime - Sunbears
9. When Christmas Hurts You This Way - The Minus 5
10. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Telephoned
11. Present without a Bow - Kacey Musgraves with Leon Bridges
12. The First Noel - Andra Day
13. I’m Your Santa - Jeremih with Chance the Rapper
14. All I Want for Christmas - Dej Loaf feat. Kodak Black
15. Twelve Days of Christmas - The Bird and the Bee
16. Christmasville USA - Jimmy Charles
17. God Rest Ye - Kaskade feat. Debra Fotheringham
18. Blue Snowfall - Kelly Hogan
19. Wrap Yourself in a Christmas Present - Charles Brown
20. I’ll Be Home for Christmas - Seeburg Music Library
21. Twas the Night - Big Freedia
22. White Christmas - Ron Gallo
23. Christmas Day - Jimin and Jungkook of BTS
24. When You Trim Your Christmas Tree - Les Brown and his Orchestra
25. Peblito de Belem - Juan Torres
26. Happy Christmas - Hanson
27. My New Christmas List - BJ the Chicago Kid
28. Christmas Eve - T.P.G.M.
29. Turkish Greensleeves - The Sultans of String feat. Günden Yayli Grubu
30. The First Noel - The Moog Machine