If you’re like us and have been playing Holiday music the moment Thanksgiving leftovers entered the fridge, you’re probably getting (mildly) tired of listening to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You”, or Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. We would never tell you to forsake the classics, but we think everyone should know about these incredible holiday albums that arrived this year. Without further adieu, here are the Best Holiday Album Releases of 2017.
Sia: Everyday is Christmas
The pop songstress is here with her unconventional, yet highly addictive Holiday music, and she’s brought along her favorite dancer Maddie Ziegler to help promote it. Released just ahead of Thanksgiving, Everyday is Christmas is Sia’s first venture into the Holiday music scene, and it turns out she has a real knack for it. Sia’s peculiar and bubbly style is perfectly matched to the silly storytelling often found in Holiday music. Everyday is Christmas’ standout track “Santa’s Coming For Us” will certainly be a classic for years to come.
Hanson: Finally, It’s Christmas
It’s been 20 years since Hanson’s last Christmas album, 1997’s Snowed In. It’s crazy to think about the young band of brothers then, as famed musicians who could rock entire stadiums but still couldn’t drink or buy a pack of cigarettes. And though it’s been tough for Hanson to shed the “one hit kid wonders” stereotype, we think they are well on their way with this innovative and deeply entertaining Christmas album. From their soulful interpretations of Stevie Wonder and Eagles hits, to their rootsy title track “Finally, It’s Christmas”, the Hanson boys continue to impress.
Lindsey Stirling: Warmer in the Winter
The electric violin prodigy has released her debut Holiday album Warmer in the Winter, an album which elevates Christmas classics to a whole new level imagined by Lindsey Stirling herself. Warmer in the Winter features powerful instrumental tracks, notable originals, and reinvented duets. Stirling’s rendition of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” involves pop music up-and-comer Sabrina Carpenter and results in a bombastic, classically driven remix. Though most wouldn’t think to combine the elements of Holiday, classical, and electronic music, we definitely respect Stirling for being the first.
Pentatonix: A Pentatonix Christmas
Though it’s not an entirely new album, we’re grateful for the a cappella group’s re-issue of A Pentatonix Christmas, which now includes five new songs to the already incredible Holiday record. Though A Pentatonix Christmas features vocals by Avi Kaplan, one of the founding members of Pentatonix, he has since announced his departure from the group. Now, Pentatonix has welcomed singer Matt Sallee to join them as vocal bass for their performance-packed holiday season. You can check out their video for “Deck the Halls” to see how well Sallee fits into the incredibly talented group of singers.
Smokey Robinson: Christmas Everyday
Though Smokey Robinson is known as a veteran of Christmas albums, he’s never been out with one of his own. In addition to releasing a pair of Christmas songs with The Miracles, Robinson also contributed to the 1973 compilation A Motown Christmas. Now, he’s finally out with his own Holiday offering, Christmas Everyday. The new album features guests Trombone Shorty, The Dap Kings, Mindi Abair, Take 6 and Us the Duo. Picture sipping a glass of mulled wine beside the fire and listening to the velvety vocals of Smokey Robinson on classics such as “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”. Do the holidays get any better than that?
Gwen Stefani: You Make It Feel Like Christmas
Is it surprising to anyone else that this is Gwen Stefani’s first-ever Holiday album? Red and white have always and continue to be Gwen’s signature colors. Her album, You Make It Feel Like Christmas is a medley of classic covers and original material. The title track features Stefani’s hubby Blake Shelton—who is re-releasing his holiday album this season—and was co-written by country producer busbee, and pop hit writer Justin Tranter. Though You Make it Feel Like Christmas has several must-hear tracks, we especially enjoy her doo-wop inspired cover of Wham’s “Last Christmas”.
Cheap Trick: Christmas Christmas
If you’re looking for a Christmas album that buzzes and stirs, look no further than Cheap Trick’s Christmas Christmas, a masterfully woven collection of rock infused Holiday singles. The Illinois Rock and Roll Hall of Famers have released three albums in 18 months, and Christmas Christmas is arguably the best of all. From covers of Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run” and The Kinks’ “Father Christmas”, to original songs such as “Merry Christmas Darlings”, Cheap Trick certainly didn’t let down on Christmas Christmas, the most high-energy Holiday album of the year.
Fantasia: Christmas After Midnight
Maybe you’ve been out of touch with R&B singer Fantasia since she won the third season of American Idol, but it’s never too late to get into her rich, sultry vocals. Christmas After Midnight, though suggestively titled, is your typical, family-friendly Christmas album bent to the whims of Fantasia’s soulful voice. Fantasia gets appropriately funky on James Brown’s “Santa Clause Go Straight to the Ghetto”, and channels her gospel star qualities for “What Are You Doing on New Year’s Eve”. Christmas After Midnight, which concludes with a riveting cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”, is definitely a must-hear this season.
98°: Let It Snow
If you’re interested in a new sound from the famous boy band 98°, then Let It Snow—their first Holiday album in 18 years—probably isn’t for you, as Nick Lachey and co. have resorted to pulling out all of their usual stunts for this record. But if you’re a fan of the pop harmonizers, Let It Snow should make you ecstatic, as the album proves that not much has changed within 98°. Despite a slight misstep by adding a beatboxing element to the title track, Let It Snow is a classic collection that finds 98° exactly where they left off 18 years ago.