Top 6 Unique Christmas Songs
Ah Christmas music. There may not be a more divided stance on the genre of good cheer and jingle bells. Perhaps this is mostly due to the overabundance of Christmas music before and during Christmastime. As soon as Halloween ends, radio stations quickly shift gears for some Christmas vibes 24/7. A friend of mine used to work at a Dollar Tree in high school. When she shared her hatred of Christmas music with me, I thought to myself that surely it wasn't that bad...then I went to visit her while she was working. It was that bad.
It may be somewhat presumptuous to say but when I create my own playlists with Christmas music I bought myself, I find it is far more enjoyable than Christmas music on the radio. Anytime I hear Christmas music on radio stations I image my brain starting to bleed and melt as the oversaturation of pop garbage fills my ears. The same songs play over and over again, and if it isn't the same artist than they perform the song the exact same way as previous versions. What you are left with is a piece of cake with way too much icing.
It seems that when it comes to Christmas music there is very unoriginality. What was once original and fresh is now traditional. While traditions are great, the remakes are tiresome and lacking anything new or interesting. So of course we get sick of it. (And perhaps the other reason is because of sucky songs like Dominic the Donkey and I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. Seriously, those songs are terrible).
With all of that being said, friends, I am here to tell you that there are unique remakes of classic Christmas songs! Yes, they do exist! Here are my top 6 favorite unique remakes of classic Christmas songs! Why 6? Because it is 6 days until Christmas!
We Three Kings by Benjamin Dunn & Friends
If we are being honest, let me be the first to say that "We Three Kings" is a song I've never particularly liked. The closest I've gotten is to enjoying it was way back when I was a kid and we got a free Christmas CD from J.C. Penney with a version of the song recorded by the Beach Boys. I enjoyed it then...can't say I enjoy it now.
Benjamin Dunn & Friends remix the song to feel very dry (from the plucky opening) and at the same time warm and inviting. At first it may sound a bit too different to most ears but when you give the song a chance to breathe, it takes flight! It is a shame that the album where this song is featured isn't very well known. Let us hope that changes in the future.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman by Deas Vail
Deas Vail was my favorite band in college. Though they don't seem to be making music anymore, I still hold a small place in my heart for them. Like "We Three Kings", "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is not a song I have ever been fond of. Unlike "We Three Kings" there was never a point in my life when I liked the song. I've always found it to be pretty boring.
Upon first hearing Deas Vail's approach to the track, I did not like it. It was only after randomly listening to it a year or two ago that the song started to appeal to me. This may be the most unique take on a Christmas song featured on this list. There is no hiding the indie quality to this track. It reeks of authenticity (and I love it). From the stripped down instrumentation to the wonderful vocals (including backing vocals), it is simply a masterpiece in Christmas song reworking.
Christmas Don’t Be Late by Rosie Thomas
If Alvin and the Chipmunks' grating high pitched give you nightmares, then join the club. Their song "Don't Be Late" was once a favorite of mine but since getting older I find I enjoy it less and less. Sure it is funny but after hearing it so many times, I'm sick of it.
Rosie Thomas takes this song from a silly, comedic Christmas song to a legit meaningful track that becomes quite sad. From her mellow vocals to the somber instrumentals, the song is completely turned around. Alvin's version emotes a kid who can't wait for Christmas. Rosie's seems much more urgent and provides genuine emotion that modern Christmas music tends to shy away from.
Trim Up the Tree by Lord & Lady
The Grinch has never been my favorite Christmas special. Yes I watch it every year but not for the love of it but the tradition. However, what has always surprised me are the artists that reimagine the music from the Grinch. Personally the music has never been high on my list. I never felt the need to download the soundtrack and add songs to my Christmas playlist. But then there are songs like this that change that.
While not straying too far from the tone of the original track, Lord & Lady's remake of "Trim Up the Tree" is light and bouncy and full of Christmas spirit. Their version has a lovely airy quality to it that makes it so easy to listen to.
Go, Tell It on the Mountain by Allen Levi, Bebo Norman, & Ed Cash
Here again we have another track that I never much liked growing up (I'm sensing a pattern). I heard the song in church and at parades and performed live on holiday concert specials, but I never found myself wanting to listen to the song again. It just kind of existed and I had no opinion on it. Then I heard the version from Allen Levi, Bebo Norman, and Ed Cash.
This version takes a more gospel approach to Christmas music, shouting praises to the high heavens. Many Christmas songs are centered around religious themes (for obvious reasons) but seldom feel very connected to the celebratory nature of the religious event itself. This song holds back nothing as it goes all in with shouts and claps and jazzy piano. You can't listen without a smile coming to your face.
Angels We Have Heard On High by Page CXVI
“Angels We Have Heard On High” may by the only song on this list that I have genuinely enjoyed in the past. Like most of the songs on this list, it has been overdone like crazy, and so most versions tend to blend together and sound the same. Luckily we have artists like Page CXVI to change that.
Page CXVI’s take on the song is very ethereal and sacred. While most versions of the song tend to get lost in their own instrumentation, this song takes a step back and seems to reflect deeply on the meaning of the lyrics. It is really lovely.
There you have it, my top 6 unique Christmas remakes. Perhaps you know of one and want to share it? Let me know in the comments!