Rock ‘N’ Roll Playlist: Hot Holiday Tunes
From Coldplay and the Killers to Best Coast and Wavves, SPIN runs down the year's best new holiday music.
Time to toss your mom’s Mannheim Steamroller records in the trash. Some of rock and pop’s biggest names have dropped hot new holiday tunes, from the Killers and Coldplay to Best Coast and Wavves. Check out our rundown of the best of the batch — and give your seasonal soundtrack some much-needed edge.
Check back for updates on this page throughout the holiday season.
The Killers returned briefly from hiatus to record their fifth annual Christmas single “Boots.” The track (with a deranged, Nightmare Before Christmas-style music video directed by Napoleon Dynamite’s Jared Hess) starts as a terse, Cars-style rocker but builds into a grand, horn-powered anthem. Purchase the song here — proceeds benefit the (RED) AIDS charity.
Leave it to Chris Martin to get all Debbie Downer for the holidays — in “Christmas Lights,” the singer ruins J’s big day by getting into a fight with his ‘boo (Gwyneth?) — but the gentle, lilting melody is one of Coldplay’s most heart-tugging in years.
While working on the movie Gulliver’s Travels, actor Jason Segel and Jack Black hit the studio for a remake of Bing Crosby and David Bowie’s duet “Little Drummer Boy,” which the two have transformed from a quiet ballad into a bombastic, hair-metal-style anthem. [Via College Humor]
Was X-Mas better in during the Thatcher era? Brit prog-punk heroes The Futureheads think so — and they make a helluva convincing argument with this thrilling, Queen-style anthem. Nice!
Mariah Carey set the bar high for modern Christmas music with her 1994 pop confection “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” but she comes close to matching it with her new gospel rave up, “Oh Santa!”
On “X-M@S,” Slipknot’s Corey Taylor delivers the season’s most awesomely nihilistic holiday tune. Forget politely sipping on egg nog — there’s a fifth of Jack Daniel’s to be slugged! “Fa la la la la, go fuck yourself,” he commands. Rawk!
Who knew the ultra-sensitive, British twee-pop act The Boy Least Likely To had a sense of humor? In “George and Andrew,” the duo finally answer one of our burning questions: what would happen if Wham’s George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley reunited for the holidays?
It sounds like a train wreck on paper: a remake of Alvin and the Chipmunks’ “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late).” But only Canadian power-poppers Tegan and Sara could deliver such a beguiling, catchy remake. It’s from the Warner Bros. compilation Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In.
Not all corporate behemoths are inherently evil: Target rounded up a diverse roster of artists for a free album of holiday-themed tunes, including new tracks by Best Coast and Wavves, Blackalicious, and Crystal Antlers. [Target]
Baltimore duo Beach House have a cure for your post-Christmas winter blues with “I Do Not Care for the Winter Sun,” a gorgeous, hazy ballad featuring singer Victoria Legrand’s beautiful, tar-stained pipes. [Beach House’s Official Website]
Most artists release one song for the holidays — Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox has released five. Head over to the band’s blog to pick up alternate mixes of the psychedelic track “Artificial Snow,” including the killer “Notown Version,” which mixes Motown-style pop with a fuzzy organ freakout.