Arts & Life

Slept on Songs: Undiscovered Christmas songs

Dec. 2, 2021, 9:27 p.m.

Welcome to “Slept On Songs.” In this column you will find recommendations of songs and artists that you have never heard of but will undoubtedly love. Whether it be music released by an unknown artist last week or underrated songs from major artists that passed under your radar, this series will make sure you have your weekly dose of fresh indie music. 

It’s just a week after Thanksgiving, and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” is already rising on the Billboard Hot 100. Christmas will come and go, but each one of us has a song that carries our spirit through the season.

As great as Christmas music is, it can be repetitive; everyone’s holiday playlist has the same 20 songs that we have all heard year in, year out. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing: holiday music is powerful in part due to its ability to generate feelings of comfort and nostalgia. But have you ever felt you could use a new Christmas song? What if you found a song that you could play at your next holiday party, surprising everyone with your complex taste in music, even in something as generic as the Christmas genre? By the time you’re done reading this column, you will have five new songs, each scored and ranked according to a carefully designed metric to make sure you find exactly what you didn’t know you were looking for.

The criteria

Each song is scored in three categories: 

Christmas spirit

Does this song remind you of the holidays? Are you transported to your childhood home, warm in a bundle of blankets next to your Christmas tree? Finally, can you play this at an X-mas party and not only get away with it, but have it widely appreciated?

Production value

How good does the song sound on its own? Does it sound professional enough to make it to the speakers of a Christmas market? How pronounced is the Christmas song sample, if any?

Creativity

How fresh is this song to you? Is it like nothing you’ve heard before, or would you rather just play the classics instead? How long can you play it before people in the room find it awfully boring?

The songs

5. Jingle Bell Rock (TRAP REMIX) – Buck Rodgers

This list starts off with a trap remix of the classic Christmas song “Jingle Bell Rock. This song could be an exciting addition to your Christmas party playlist, instantly increasing the energy in the room with its heavy bass and drums. The production quality of this song is standard and does the job, making it good enough to present to an audience. However, this remix sounds like a Christmas song converted to sound like a trap song and not the other way around, which I envision as having more potential. The song has two sides to its personality: trap and holiday music. But even though the sounds of the sleigh bells are a nice touch, the Christmas music side of the song is far too hidden. Still, it was a creative idea to translate this classic to trap, as it definitely feels like a fresh spinoff on an old classic.

Christmas Spirit: 60/100

Production Value: 75/100

Creativity: 75/100      

Total Score: 70/100

4. All I Want For Christmas Is You X Crank That Soulja Boy – Original Bread

You can never go wrong with Mariah Carey, and this song capitalizes on that. Combining the popular 2010s dance song “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” with this classic Christmas anthem leads to a fun bop. The remix has a fun surprise element as Soulja Boy doesn’t feature until the main beat kicks in at 0:40. Unfortunately, the song drags at times because it relies on the quality of “All I Want for Christmas” a bit too much. At the end of the day, it is just a simple overlay of vocals on another track. Mariah Carey’s song must be a masterpiece in music production for its year-to-year popularity, and this mashup certainly makes the most of that.

Christmas Spirit: 85/100

Production Value: 66/100

Creativity: 80/100

Total Score: 77/100

3. Kanye West – MAYBE WE CAN MAKE IT TO CHRISTMAS (YEEZY WORKSHOP) – Toasty Digital

At this point in time, Kanye West has an almost cult-like following, with his superfans knowing all his songs, verses and tweets by heart. One of these superfans is youtuber Toasty Digital, a music producer who makes amazing remixes and mashups of Kanye’s Songs. Rising to fame after releasing “Kanye 2049,” a conceptual mixtape of his version of Kanye’s discography if it was made in the future, Toasty Digital also released “MAYBE WE CAN MAKE IT TO CHRISTMAS,” a Christmas themed Kanye mixtape. Even though I recommend listening to the entire mixtape, the track “Yeezy Workshop” stood out to me as the real star. 

The idea of making a Christmas song after finding the perfect samples from thousands and thousands of verses and songs is an incredible achievement. The Kanye verse chosen for “Yeezy Workshop” fits perfectly, providing the track with a great flow. What I like about this track in particular is that Christmas is up front and center. The sample of Wham’s “Last Christmas” shines as the main character, maintaining the Christmas spirit we are looking for.

Christmas Spirit: 82/100

Production Value: 86/100

Creativity: 87/100

Total Score: 85/100

2. Christmas Disco 1978 (Santa Claus is Coming to Town / Jingle Bell Rock)The Mistletoe Disco Band 

The Mistletoe Disco Band is one of my holiday season favorites. It works great with all age groups and always puts people in a good mood. Obviously, this song receives top marks for Christmas spirit; it’s the same Christmas carols we know and love but with a disco twist. The Mistletoe Disco Band was a studio band of nameless players back in the late 70s who recorded a variety of classic Christmas songs and carols as disco beats. Thus, this album especially creates a nostalgic experience for anyone growing up in the 70s and 80s. This nostalgia can be seen if you read through the comments of the video, filled with people reminiscing, remembering this forgotten record and its connection to their childhood. All the tracks on this record are perfect to play at any Christmas party with their groovy beats and basslines.

Christmas Spirit: 99/100

Production Value: 79/100

Creativity: 80/100

Total Score: 86/100

1. The Rock Rap (Xmas Remix) – Leonz

After featuring on Tech N9ne’s song “Face Off,” Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson found himself going viral on TikTok and Twitter for his high-energy verse about drive and power. You don’t need to ask music producers twice to remix such an internet sensation. Even though this is another take on Marriah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” this remix in particular is everything the Soulja Boy mashup failed to be and more. This song beats out “Yeezy Workshop” as well  because while the Kanye mixtape is great, it’s pulling from a large pool of material. In contrast, “The Rock Rap” producer shows his creativity by creating something so fun with so little to work with. The song has something new and exciting to share every 10 seconds, especially its immaculate key change that mixes the choir section perfectly with the harmony. This greatness is all underscored by an exciting transition to a drill beat that nobody can see coming. “The Rock Rap” almost feels like opening presents underneath the Christmas tree with a shocking number of surprises packed in its 1.5-minute runtime. You and your friends are bound to thoroughly enjoy this stellar and surprising combination of The Rock and Mariah Carey.

Christmas Spirit: 91/100

Production Value: 99/100

Creativity: 95/100

Total Score: 95​​/100

Editor’s Note: This article is a review and includes subjective opinions, thoughts and critiques.

Aditeya Shukla '22 is the music desk editor for the Arts & Life section. Contact The Daily’s Arts & Life section at arts ‘at’ stanforddaily.com.

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