Best Modern Christmas Songs
With the holidays just around the corner, it is officially time for holiday music to be played. There are a ton of widely successful holiday classics, so much so that members of the Commradio Arts and Entertainment Department couldn’t fit it all into one article. In this article, our members listed some of the best modern holiday classics.
“Last Christmas” - Wham!
Every time I hear the iconic synth opening of “Last Christmas,” I am reminded that it is the greatest modern Christmas song of all time.
Wham! released the hit in 1984, giving us the perfect love letter to Christmas in the ‘80s. Since then, “Last Christmas” has been covered by artists such as Ariana Grande, the Glee Cast, and even Taylor Swift, but none quite compare to the original.
The lyrics are unique for a Christmas song, since they talk about a fresh heartbreak over the holidays instead of snowmen or red-nosed reindeer.
I mean, what other Christmas song gives you the same depth as, “A face on a lover with a fire in his heart / a man undercover but you tore me apart”?
An entire movie was even dedicated to the song in 2019, titled “Last Christmas,” starring Emilia Clarke and Henry Golding. It certainly took the line, “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart,” literally, and was quite the mind-bending romcom.
“Last Christmas” may be more of a modern Christmas song right now, but in a couple more years, it should definitely be considered a classic.
- Kaitlyn Murphy
“All I Want For Christmas Is You” - Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey’s hit is one of the most popular songs in the history of Christmas, as it gets close to the top of the charts every holiday season. The song rushes to the top of the charts once we get close to December, as the hit is already sitting inside the top five of the Billboard Hot 100.
The beat and melody is nearly perfect and has the ability to just make people smile and sing along. The song is also very catchy and will get stuck in a listener’s head throughout the holiday season.
The modern classic has already reached legendary status within the holiday songs, surpassing “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” as the most listened to Christmas song ever. Even with all the listeners, the number continues to grow as it seems no one can get enough of Carey’s top hit.
So, during this holiday season, sit back and enjoy the time with your loved ones and remember that all Mariah Carey wants for Christmas is you.
- Adam Sheetz
“Christmas Tree Farm”- Taylor Swift
While Taylor Swift may have released a Christmas EP, “The Taylor Swift Holiday Collection,” in 2007, her best contribution to the holiday genre came 12 years later with “Christmas Tree Farm.”
The singer-songwriter grew up on a Christmas tree farm in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
This tidbit clarifies how Swift crafted such a homey and gleeful track. The feelings of nostalgia and endearment created are personal but, in typical Swift fashion, also easily relatable.
Utilizing many classic sonic aspects used on Christmas songs, such as orchestral arrangements and choir backing vocals, pair well with the up-tempo sprightly instrumental.
It may be a bold take, but some of Swift's most romantic and sweet lyrics are featured in this song as she describes her relationship as so beautiful it takes her back to her childhood home during a precious time.
Particularly the lines featured in the bridge, “and when the world isn’t fair, I’ll pretend that we’re there baby, baby, merry Christmas.”
“Christmas Tree Farm” is the perfect modern Christmas song for today’s times as students deal with finals, stress, current events and more, Swift relates the need to escape masterfully.
- Sophia D’Ovidio
“First Christmas” - Carol Ades
Released on November 4, 2022, this single is brand new. Its fresh perspective on Christmas traditions is beautiful and eye-opening.
Carol Ades, also known as Caroline Pennell, is a pop artist with some indie flair from Saddle River, New Jersey.
“First Christmas” expresses the wonder of the holidays. Like many popular Christmas hits, this song is a love story.
Ades sings from the viewpoint of a Jewish background, “heart in the home of a newish lover / daughter of a worried Jewish mother.”
It is special to hear about the magic of Christmas, particularly about the people who make it feel magical.
It is easy to appreciate the wholesome chorus singing, “...how lucky am I to spend my very first Christmas with you.”
This song feels cozy to the ears, and captures the unexpected warmth of winter that comes on December 25th.
Although “First Christmas” is a new song, its replayability should keep it on holiday playlists for years to come.
- McKenna Wall
“Mistletoe” - Justin Bieber
All the Beliebers already know, this piece of gold in musical form reigns supreme over all other modern holiday songs.
The calm soothing sound of Bieber’s voice in his iconic holiday hit is unmatched. Bieber even makes references to other popular holiday songs. He always has a way to make everything about a romance and “Mistletoe” is no different.
This is, without a doubt, the best song to play to get some holiday spirit vibes. The song is more than a decade old, (released in 2011) but still innovative with the dynamics, lyrics and harmony.
Bieber, 17 years old at the time of the release, took the world by storm with his “Under the Mistletoe” album and his “Mistletoe” music video.
“Mistletoe”, although considered a modern holiday song, is a classic hit to spread holiday cheer. Bieber’s song should be recognized as the No. 1 holiday song of all time by every music outlet.
- Natalie Simone
Kaitlyn Murphy is a first-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com
Adam Sheetz is a junior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sophia D’Ovidio is a second-year majoring in digital and print journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
McKenna Wall is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Natalie Simone is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Junior / Broadcast Journalism
Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year from Allentown, New Jersey. She is now a communications (undecided) major at Penn State University. Sophia intends on pursuing a career in journalism. Sophia writes for the CommRadio Arts department.
Natalie Simone is a first-year majoring in broadcast journalism. She is from Cohasset, Massachusetts where she graduated from Cohasset High School. Simone is a member of the news, arts and entertainment, and production departments of CommRadio. She is responsible for a weekly newscast, a weekly talk show, called The CommRadio Table, a weekly DJ set, along with news and arts articles.