As the holiday rapidly approaches, festive music is becoming more and more common. In the words of Buddy the Elf, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”
From Bing Crosby to Frank Sinatra, “Christmas Cheer” is, in fact, being spread through music. But with new artists trying to make an impression in this unique genre, what is considered “classic” holiday music may be losing its popularity.
Everyone knows those classics: “Blue Christmas,” “Feliz Navidad,” “White Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” People love these songs because they know the words and enjoy the familiarity of the catchy tunes. The classic songs by original artists are here to stay, that’s for sure. But will pop music overpower some of these classics?
Maybe. But as of now, pop music is not dominating the holiday music genre. It is, however, certainly becoming increasingly popular on the radio and in people’s homes. With only so many holiday songs in circulation, artists tend to record covers of songs, and some are surprisingly well done.
Pentatonix, an a cappella group, recorded an entire album of Christmas covers, from “Winter Wonderland” mixed with “Don’t Worry Be Happy” to “Silent Night.” The group’s version of “Mary Did You Know” is frequented on the radio, and rightfully so. The arrangement is truly beautiful, with incredible harmonies and a generally powerful sound.
Michael Bublé’s Christmas album from 2011 did so well that it has become a classic within many households, but since it is comprised of covers, it does fall into the “pop covers” category of Christmas music. But what differentiates this pop album from the others is Bublé’s smooth jazzy voice, which suits the songs well.
Taylor Swift has even dabbled with Christmas music, her most popular being “Last Christmas,” which is mediocre at best. In general, experimenting with holiday music is common among pop artists; some of them have even managed to make quality music that is worth adding to your holiday playlists.
While the majority of artists redo Christmas covers, some artists have branched out to create original Christmas songs — a daring feat, considering how selective the genre is. Generally, listeners like what they know, and aren’t always too welcoming to the new music. However, some brave artists have created successful authentic Christmas music.
Justin Bieber came out with “Mistletoe,” and with its catchy tune, it has become somewhat of a popular Christmas song. Ariana Grande’s “Santa Tell Me” made it to the radio last year, and thus broke the “strictly well-known music on Christmas stations” barrier. Although it can be hard for a new song to gain traction in the Christmas music world, it does happen. Without artists striving to create new music, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” never would have been produced.
It is clear, the Christmas classics are here to stay. But inevitably, new classics will arise, but only with time.