2010 has turned out to be a great year for new Christmas songs, with some of the biggest stars in Adult Pop music releasing original compositions alongside more traditional Christmas fare. So many, in fact, that we have had to come up with an addendum to our original Top 10 list of new Christmas songs for 2010.
1. Hurts - "All I Want For Christmas is New Year's Day"
Despite all of the love and happiness associated with the holidays, there is also a melancholy feeling that many people not only acknowledge but actually embrace. For all of you who are longing for 2010 to be over with, UK duo Hurts have recorded "All I Want For Christmas is New Year's Day." Some may think it depressing and some may think it hopeful, but at least Hurts have given the traditional Christmas song a new twist.
Not to bring everyone down, but Coldplay also released a new Christmas song in 2010 that isn't exactly a feel-good tune. The words "classic" and "perennial" were instantly being used to describe "Christmas Lights," which tells the story of a man pining for his ex who is reminded of her by the Chrismas lights he sees. Chris Martin's voice fits the tone of the song perfectly, and the song itself is a powerful anthem for the season that hopefully sets the stage for Coldplay's follow-up to the 2008 album Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends.
Taking a more reminiscent take on the holidays are the Killers, who put out their fifth Project RED charity single in 2010. "Boots" finds lead singer Brandon Flowers remembering specific images from his childhood at Christmastime, and the visual of stamping your boots to get the snow off ends up being a pretty strong image. It's not a full-on joyful holiday song, but it's a great reminder of Christmases past.
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If you have a love in your life, then Christmas can also be a very romantic time of the year. Singer-songwriter Dave Barnes took his first stab at a Christmas album in 2010 with Very Merry Christmas, and a highlight of the album is the jazzy "Christmas Tonight," which finds him duetting with Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum. Sometimes it's better to stay at home and enjoy the holiday with the one you love, and "Christmas Tonight" makes a great case for avoiding the holiday hustle and bustle.
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While not a Christmas song in the pure sense of the word, Josh Groban's "Bells of New York City" from his 2010 album Illuminations evokes images of New York City that will have you thinking about the holidays. After he performed the song at the Christmas tree lighting at Rockefeller Center in 2010, the song became even more tied to the holiday. New York City at Christmastime is one of the more powerful associations with Americans, and Josh Groban gives an inspired vocal performance that ties it all together.
6. Little Jackie - "Mrs. Claus Ain't Got Nothin' On Me"
Little Jackie is actually an R&B duo fronted by singer Imani Coppola, who had a minor hit in 1997 with "Legend of a Cowgirl." Their debut album The Stoop was released in 2008, and while it met with critical acclaim, sales did not follow the acclaim here in the US. As on their debut, Little Jackie gets a little sassy with their 2010 contribution to Christmas music entitled "Mrs. Claus Ain't Got Nothin' On Me."
Paul Simon has one of the most distinctive voices in pop music, and he puts that distinction to good use on his 2010 Christmas song "Getting Ready for Christmas Day." While most songs that reference waiting for Christmas do so from a child's point of view, Paul Simon takes the perspective of a working-class adult waiting "for the power and the glory and the story of Christmas day." While the production is a little busy compared to most Christmas songs, the driving guitar line does a great job reinforcing the blue collar vibe of the song.
8. Neon Trees - "Wish List"
Neon Trees were everywhere at the tail end of 2010 with their Las Vegas commercial theme "Animal," but who would have thought that their sound would translate into "Wish List" being one of the best Christmas songs of the year? At first listen, you would think this was a cover with some of the holiday references mentioned in the song. However, their upbeat sound turns "Wish List" into a rollicking fun time as lead singer Tyler Glenn sings about only wanting his baby with him for Christmas. They also get bonus points for name-checking "Animal" in the lyrics.
Imagine yourself spending Christmas on the beach in Hawaii, with the waves rolling onto the shore and you lounging in a chair with the beverage of your choice in your hand. Eclectic group Pink Martini transport you there with "A Snow Globe Christmas," an original composition from their album Joy to the World.
Family is always a part of the holidays, and Tears for Fears founder Curt Smith utilizes that theme in his 2010 Christmas song "This Is Christmas." Not only does he talk about going home for the holidays and the memories it evokes, he also features his daughters Wilder and Diva on the track. It's a mellow song that almost has a funeral dirge feel at the beginning, which many people probably feel is appropriate when visiting family, but it builds up into a more joyful track by the time Curt Smith's daughters join in.