All I Want for Christmas is You
Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic finally reached Number One in the UK charts in 2020, 26 years after its release. Narrowly defeating Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’ (which, incidentally, has never reached the top spot), it’s a triumph that seems merited – all the more so given that this unequivocal seasonal smash has re-entered the Top 40 every year since 2007. It’s a song that contributed to Carey earning the title of Queen of Christmas, a title she seems to take very seriously, as seen by her several Christmas tours and television specials, the most recent of which was added to Apple TV+. After all these years, it seems as if the public has finally responded to Mariah, ‘All we want for Christmas is you.’
‘Last Christmas,’ a song about a failed affair, has sleighbells and synthesizers, as well as some genuinely unforgettable knitwear in the video. However, what really distinguishes ‘Last Christmas’ is George Michael’s heartfelt performance: his genuine heartbroken terror and wistful, seductive murmurs. ‘Merry Christmas’ has never sounded so seductive.
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)’ by Darlene Love. Is this the most heartwarming Christmas song ever written? Probably – the combination of Darlene Love’s flawless pleading voice, Phil Spector’s wonderfully tinselly production, and Ellie Greenwich and Jeff Barry’s enchanted lyrics might make even the most jaded Scrooge melt like a snowman under a hair drier. It’s the quintessential Christmas tune.
Stay Another Day
Stay Another Day, East 17’s all-time Christmas hit was never intended to be a holiday tune. As composing member Tony Mortimer of the Walthamstow, England band recently said, it’s truly an immensely tragic song inspired by his brother passing away. This genuine passion pervades the group’s exquisitely somber four-part harmonies and even the obligatory Christmas song sleigh bells, resulting in an unmatched exercise in merry sadness.
Christmas nostalgia is more powerful than actual recollections. Thus, we can all reminisce with Bing on this Irving Berlin-penned ’40s classic about a white Christmas similar to the ones we remember, even if our genuine history is replete with terrible disappointments.