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The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Christmas music has reached a point of diminishing return

Connor Youngberg

Nostalgia can make a lot of different things sound, taste, smell, feel and look better than they really are. However, only a select amount of things can be nostalgic. Once that limit is reached, then it’s just annoying. And Christmas music is the worst offender.

Twas’ the afternoon of Nov. 24, Black Friday, the first official day of Christmas songs. I was driving along the gorgeous Garden State Parkway. Feeling in the spirit, I decided to play some holiday tunes as I drove. Listening to the “Essential Christmas” playlist on Apple Music, I was more or less horrified by the amount of songs I was skipping.

The whole playlist was plagued by terrible covers of the classics. I can only take so many renditions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “Little Drummer Boy” before I’m begging Baby Jesus to put me out of my misery with George Michael’s sweet vocals on “Last Christmas.”

Out of curiosity, I went to see how many versions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” are actually on Apple Music. I stopped counting out of sheer fatigue and disgust once I reached 25. Even Mariah Carey’s iconic “All I Want For Christmas Is You” had over a dozen covers of its own on the platform.

This isn’t cute, it’s boring. It only floods the market with subpar versions of songs most people adore. When I hear the lyrics of “Run Rudolph Run,” I think of the great Chuck Berry, not JoJo Siwa.

I get it, making a Christmas cover album might just be the easiest thing to do on the planet. All the songs are composed and all the lyrics are written. The only thing left to do is put yourself in front of a passable microphone and sing three or four takes until you say, “Good enough,” and tell Spotify to start printing your money. However, all of this takes away from artists who are putting in the work to make new and innovative songs for the holiday season.

For every “A Philly Special Christmas” by Lane Johnson, Jason Kelce and Jordan Mailata of the Philadelphia Eagles, listens are taken away from truly modern Christmas records like “A Different Christmas” by Bryson Tiller or “A Very Laufey Holiday!” by Laufey.

Tiller’s album is a mix between excellent original R&B Christmas songs like “lonely christmas” with Justin Bieber and very personalized covers of just a couple of classics, including “winter wonderland” which he sings with his daughter Harley. On the other hand, Laufey’s EP captures the jazzy holiday spirit seen in the ‘60s, and works it into new arrangements for the modern day like in the song “Christmas Dreaming.”

Tiller’s work specifically might not sound completely like normal holiday tunes, but is there a rule that says every Christmas song needs to have jingle bells up the wazoo and Frank Sinatra singing his heart out? No.

Despite everything I’ve said so far, I’m not exactly too picky with what I call Christmas music. An artist can make a full-on rap album, but if Christmas is in the title, I’d be sure to listen to it come December.

In 2017, the late XXXTENTACION released an EP titled “A GHETTO CHRISTMAS CAROL.” Does it have anything to do with the holiday? Debatable. Have I been listening to it nonstop like it does? Duh. The fact it has Christmas in the title but sounds nothing like a Christmas song gets me in the spirit all the same.

The music industry needs to let the classics be the classics. They’re called that for a reason. Versions upon versions of these works only undermine the talent, passion and sheer holiday cheer that went into making the originals. Create new classics, stop mooching.

And if an artist is making Christmas music, they need to market it. I only heard about Tiller and Laufey’s work through word of mouth. If they don’t tell the public about anything they’re making, then I’m just going to have to resort to the “Essential Christmas” playlist like I did this year, and I don’t want to be disappointed again.

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About the Contributors
Michael LaRocca, Opinion Editor
Connor Youngberg, Associate Multimedia Editor

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    BerferdNov 29, 2023 at 6:50 pm

    Letting Apple choose your music was your first mistake… the second was living in New Jersey.