Well, the time of year has arrived again, where local news stations across America play exclusively Christmas music until Christmas Day (and sometimes then some). We all know the classics: Johnny Mathis's It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas, Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You, the Trans Siberian Orchestra, and anything Bublé, but every year the stations always miss out on some underrated Christmas songs. They deserve some air time, so while these stations keep on playing White Christmas, I will show you 12 days of Christmas worth of holiday sleeper jams, as I have in 2016 and 2015.
1. Don't Shoot Me Santa by The Killers
The Killers make it on my list every year, and I forget that they actually released a Christmas album and a Christmas EP. In Don't Shoot Me Santa, frontman Brandon Flowers pleads with Santa Claus to spare his life because he has been good all year. The song may have come out ten years ago, but it still absolutely slams. One of my favorites on the list.
2. Jingle Bell Rock by Cascada
If this song were remixed into a hardcore, eurobeat remix, Cascada's Jingle Bell Rock would fit nicely with a holiday Dance Dance Revolution game, if only that existed. What we do have is a complete studio Christmas album by the dance music queen herself, so I had a hard time choosing just one for this list. In the end, I went with Jingle Bell Rock because, just like her hit "Everytime We Touch," this song goes hard from beginning to end. It never drags, and in the end isn't that what Christmas is all about?
3. Jingle Barack by SNL feat. Chance the Rapper
A very timely selection, Saturday Night Live created a Run-DMC-esque 90s Christmas song last year about seizing the day and celebrating Christmas before Donald Trump became president. The song pulls out all the stops on what a Obama-less Christmas looks like, such as when Chance the Rapper sings the line "Imma hurt myself before we lose Obamacare." On the bright side, the original DMC himself makes an appearance in the video.
4. Underneath the Mistletoe by Sia
Sia released a Christmas album this year, and radio stations seem to be sleeping on it for God knows what reason (save for the single, Santa's Coming For Us). The album takes you on an emotional sleigh ride, including Underneath the Mistletoe being one of the more heart-wrenching bumps. The music video takes on a stop-motion style reminiscent of TV movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. In fact, most of the music videos from this album use this style, so after you watched this one, go listen to another song from the album.
5. Christmas Unicorn by Sufjan Stevens
Laugh that seasonal depression away with the seemingly fun and lighthearted Sufjan Stevens song. Oh, who am I kidding, a Sufjan Stevens song with both of those qualities? Unbelievable. Anyway, enjoy what Stevens has to say about the Christian holiday.
6. Frostbitten by Ivy Levan
Ivy Levan will always remain as one of the most underrated female pop artists of the latter half of the 2010s. She wields a powerhouse of a voice and unleashes it in a Christmas pop song about how different Christmas will be without her love (as most Christmas songs by female pop singers do).
7. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) by Death Cab for Cutie
Honestly, I only heard Michael Bublé's cover of this song, but after hearing Death Cab for Cutie's take, I think I have a new favorite. What can I say? I like the guitar strums in this one.
8. Single Hell by Hyadain
An energetic and comedic take on being single during the holidays as well as losing that Christmas magic as an adult, Japanese composer Hyadain parodies Jingle Bells (also referencing four other popular English Christmas songs) and turns it into Single Hell. A lot happens in this music video, so I advise you watch it for yourself.
9. Ski by Hyper Potions
Yes, without the title and the video it would be hard to tell that this is a Christmas song, but I always welcome EDM Christmas songs with open arms, jingling bells or not. So, enjoy.
10. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel by Enya
Oh Enya, how could I have forgotten you? Enya, you new age goddess, capable of folk, celtic, and hymnals too. You really have to be in a mood to listen to Enya, but her voice invites you for a spiritual experience. This has to be the song that plays in heaven if you die on Christmas Day. I apologize if that was too morbid.
11. Winter Wonderland by Shinee
You would be surprised by the number of K-pop Christmas songs there are, but in the end I had to go with Winter Wonderland by boy band Shinee. The members sing in Japanese, typical for most K-pop groups who often release Korean and Japanese covers of their songs. I appreciate how much of a boy band hit this sounds, with its "I wanna hold you close baby" mood and whimsical music video. I also wanted to honor one of its fallen members. It is the least I can do. Rest in peace, Kim Jonghyun.
12. Who Spiked the Eggnog? by Straight No Chaser
Last but but definitely not least is Straight No Chaser, the all male acapella group that keeps popping up in my Christmas lists. Honestly, though, who knew they released this many original Christmas songs that are all so catchy?
Happy Holidays to all, and hopefully your Christmas playlist found some new festive bangers.