The most wonderful time of the year is upon us…Christmas! Unfortunately, sprinkled between Thanksgiving and this splendid holiday season is a dreaded time in the life of every college student—finals. But even finals can be a time of celebration. With a positive attitude and a kickin’ playlist to get you through this, you will be opening presents and sipping eggnog in no time! Finish strong; you got this. Drink some coffee and listen to some songs of the season.
I love covers, especially of popular songs that have been heard over and over the same way. It is really cool to see an artist go in a fresh direction with a song. Essentially, this is what happens in the Christmas season; even though traditions stay the same, the story of each person changes and families grow. There are always Christmas traditions families hold to, and that is one of the blessings of Christmas. But while old things stay the same, there are always new things happening.
Here are some of my favorite Christmas covers:
“All I Want For Christmas Is You” – My Chemical Romance
My Chemical Romance has a dark and raspy sound. “Welcome to the Black Parade” was one of the first full albums I ever bought, and I hated admitting that I loved it because I thought it was weird. Embrace MCR, because all they want for Christmas is you.
“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” – Miley Cyrus
Miley has always been able to sing, even when this song came out back in 2009. Anytime you have an apostrophe in your song where a “g” should be, it shows spunk, which this song has plenty of, along with an upbeat vibe that makes you want to dance and hang ornaments while you listen to it. Or maybe that’s just me.
“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” – Issues
Issues is a metal/pop band, and their sound is hardcore. Having hard rock ballads in a Christmas song undeniably breaks tradition, but it is also something to admire. This twist on a classic Christmas song offers much more than just an eye-lined singer screaming into a microphone.
“The 12 Days of Christmas” – Straight No Chaser
Holy cow. I love Straight No Chaser, and this was one of the first songs I wanted to put on the playlist. As someone who did a lot of a cappella in high school choir, I have a huge appreciation of the group and I even sang their “I’m Yours/Somewhere Over The Rainbow” (highly recommended) melody at a talent show.
Throwback songs are fantastic. I don’t feel like I was born in the wrong decade though, because even though the 90s was great, I always feel like growing up in the 80s would’ve been too legit. These classics are great to listen to when you just feel like transporting through time.
“Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds
Hey, hey, hey, hey! This song has all of the feelings for me. When I was in high school, I was crushin’ hard over a girl. I went to go see her in a play and “Don’t You Forget About Me” was on repeat over the speakers during intermission. I have never forgotten that. And yes, I do realize the irony.
“The Promise” – When In Rome
This song is smooth. I just close my eyes and the music takes me to either Napoleon Dynamite playing tether ball or a place of serenity; the second option is generally more beneficial.
“The Safety Dance” – Men Without Hats
The 80s—spelling, safety and synth. “We can leave your friends behind, ’cause your friends don’t dance, and if they don’t dance well they’re no friends of mine.” Basically my life.
“Both Sides Of The Story” – Phil Collins
Phil Collins’ voice is extremely soothing, and this is one of my favorite songs of his. I’ll sing along at the top of my lungs, even though I can’t hit all those notes. Plus, there are BAGPIPES! This song tells a story—two sides of it, in fact.
“A Day” – Clan Of Xymox
This is off of “The Guest” movie soundtrack. A strange movie, but KILLER soundtrack. There might be a killer in the movie so I had to emphasize that pun. People run from things in their lives. With deep, ominous vocals and a consistent beat, this is a great song to run to.
We all have a concert experience that we remember vividly and clearly, and if you do not have one…please go see a live band. Muse and Needtobreathe are two bands I have experienced live and would do it all over again. I still get goosebumps listening to their songs.
Mumford & Sons
My favorite band. They are incredible and it is on my bucket list to see them live. In the playlist are three songs from their first three albums, respectively.
“When You Were Young” – The Killers
Guitar Hero III was released in 2008, and I had to have it. On Christmas day, I opened it and it was the first game I played on my Play Station 2. It was the best thing ever for 13-year-old me. My favorite song on that game was “When You Were Young.” I still remember reflecting on the lyric “he doesn’t look a thing like Jesus” because I thought it was a big deal to have Jesus in a video game that wasn’t about Christians. Great band, great song.
“I Don’t Wanna Be In Love” – Good Charlotte
This is the second song I bought for my iPod back in 2008. The first was “Viva la Vida,” but that’s beside the point. This is such a great upbeat summer love ballad. And it is still appropriate in the winter because there are always times when people throw up their hands and say, “I don’t wanna be in love.”
“Rolling In The Deep” – Adele
While Adele’s new album, 25, is more contemporary, we’re going back to 21. Way back when I still played baseball, this was my warm-up song; it got me where I needed to be mentally. I jammed out in the back seat of my friends car as we carpooled together and I let loose with my mad vocals, comparable only to Adele.
“Beautiful” – P.O.D.
P.O.D. is more well-known for their heavy rock songs, but this song was and is so much more than rock n’ roll. I was almost crying the first time heard it (almost). I was overpowered by the story it told and I had to listen to it over and over. It just made me think about how I never knew about what real problems people are going through. It was also meaningful to me because I often struggle with my own insecurities of how “beautiful” I am and where my worth is, but what matters is that I’m beautiful to the One who created me.