As soon as December 1st hit, Christmas music has taken over radio stations and department stores alike. While the traditional tunes are timeless, the same thirty-something song rotation can get a little trite. Luckily for 2016 Christmas music fanatics, The Killers and Jimmy Buffett have produced refreshing new albums to spruce up holiday playlists.
Considering that The Killers is an alternative band, their Christmas songs stay generally honest to their style. Christmas meets cool in their 2016 album, “Don’t Waste Your Wishes”, a collection of their holiday singles throughout the years.
This album is perfect for the listener who is looking for a smoother transition into the more hard-core Christmas carols. The Killers’ unorthodox originals include subtle hints of Christmas, such as jingle bell undertones paired with their signature alternative vocals and guitar.
Additionally, the lyrics and content of many songs are completely radical in comparison to the typical “Jingle Bells”. “I Feel it in my Bones” lyricizes Santa as a hard-core motorcycle ganger, creating a strange yet entertaining Christmas tune. “The Cowboy Christmas Ball” is one of my favorites, due to its catchiness and originality.
Aside from these originals, their 2016 release, “I’ll be home for Christmas”, is a more serious addition to the album. The lead singer, Brandon Flowers, personalizes this rendition of a Christmas classic, opening with a monologue of his childhood Christmas memories growing up in Utah. He talks fondly of his fourth grade teacher, Mr. Hansen, who got up in front of his class and sang “I’ll be home for Christmas”. Mr. Hansen, now eighty-six, makes a heartfelt appearance, and Flowers and Hansen sing together for the rest of the track. I recommended having tissues on hand before listening to this one.
For the Californian Christmas music connoisseur, Jimmy Buffett’s new Tis the Season album is the perfect fit. Buffett’s light-hearted, beachy covers are a great substitute for old classics to change things up. Tropical of instruments such as the ukulele and the steel drum are present throughout the album, capturing the holiday ambiance of the west coast.
Buffett’s version of “Twelve Days of Christmas” includes lines like “A purple parrot in a palm tree” and “nine pairs of flip flops”. Buffett’s tropical take on “White Christmas” starts by stating the typical winter scenery for beach town inhabitants: green grass and sunny skies. San Diegans can relate to Buffett’s dream of a white Christmas, the perfect anthem amidst inapplicable numbers like “Baby it’s Cold Outside”.
Make some room, Mariah Carey: pairing these refreshing Christmas collections with oldie favorites is the ultimate way to get in the Christmas spirit this year.