We can all agree, in terms of Christmas music, it has its bops and it has its flops.
Some songs do an incredible job of capturing that warm fuzzy feeling that Christmas can give you… others feel like they were purposely made just to drive you crazy.
And whether you’re into violins and jingling bells or pure festive pop, we’ve all got opinions about Christmas music.
So let’s take a look at five of the all-time bestChristmas songs and five of the absolute worst.
We know people will go to war in the name of their favourite Crimbo song, so before you start a crusade against us because your favourite is on the worst list, let me remind you this list is completely subjective… but we all know it’s right.
The best Christmas songs ever written
White Christmas – The Drifters
Nothing lends itself more to Christmas than some classic doo-wop, that’s why White Christmas by The Drifters and only The Drifters is the best version of this festive classic. As soon as the band’s deep harmony kicks in at the start it fills the room with that Christmassy feeling.
2. Step Into Christmas – Elton John
No era was better for Christmas music than the 70s and Elton John’s Step Into Christmas is its peak. Whether you’re putting up the tree, present shopping, having a festive boogie or eating your Christmas dinner, this song fits the vibe perfectly.
3. Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses
We don’t think American new wave band The Waitresses knew the scale of what they were making when they were recording this anti-Christmas song. It instantly became a cult classic. Trust us, sit down and listen to the bass in this one, it’s so funky and usually by the time the sax comes into it we’re already up dancing.
4. Wonderful Christmastime – Paul McCartney
As soon as this song starts with those synthy keys you know you’re in for a good’n, I mean who else is more equipped to write a jolly ol’ Christmas song than an ex-Beatle? It just feels like the epitome of Christmas.
5. Christmas Rappin’ – Kurtis Blow
By the time this song came out in 1979, rap was a relatively new genre on the scene. So for Kurtis Blow, the first commercially successful rapper, to release Christmas Rappin’ as his first song is insane but what a hit it was. Not your generic Christmas song but it’s something different and you can’t deny, that beat is infectious.
The worst Christmas songs ever written
Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande
Not hate towards Ariana – she’s an honorary Manc after all – but Santa Tell Me is a massive flop. Nothing screams ‘I’m in a department store at Christmas time’ more than this song and I pray for any retail worker who has to hear this more than once on their wintery shifts.
2. Everyday Is Christmas – SIA (The Whole Album)
You’re getting a whole 13-song album for this one. SIA did not need to make a full Christmas album but she did and it’s basically all the same song. Everything about it is bad, even down to the album art. There’s something about SIA’s voice that just doesn’t lend itself to festive music. Sorry SIA.
3. It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas
It’s not the singer, it’s the song. It doesn’t matter who is singing this one, it’s going on the worst list. When it’s the start of November why does every commercial company decide this is the perfect song to shove on every Christmas ad ever? And how does something with such cheerful lyrics manage to sound so glum?! It’s like a Winnie the Pooh Christmas song.
4. Underneath The Tree – Kelly Clarkson
This one makes me feel like I’m in a silly little 00s British Christmas romcom and I absolutely hate it. How did she fall from Since U Been Gone to this utter trash? I’m not mad, Kelly, I’m just disappointed.
5. Feliz Navidad – Jose Feliciano
For a three-minute-long song, it does not need to repeat Feliz Navidad 21 times. There are literally only four different unique sentences in this one and they’re repeated over and over again. We get it Jose, you wanna wish me a Merry Christmas. Can you do it a bit more quietly I’ve got a Bailey’s hangover.
Hello Cosmos wow Stockport on a night where the venue shone just as bright as the music
We had the pleasure of going along to see Hello Cosmos play a special one-off show at none other than St Mary’s Church in Stockport town centre on Friday night, just the gig the building has ever seen and given how incredible an experience it was, we hope there’ll be many more.
Picture the scene: it’s a frosty Foodie Friday night in Stockport with people wearing beer jackets and sharing hot street food to keep warm as the tunes ring around the marketplace; then you spot some light off in the background and notice the windows of the old town centre church glowing.
Not only was that our signal to get a move on, finish our scran and head over to the intimate gig, but it was also a beacon of light for other punters to go and check out as they looked for any excuse to come in from the cold.
And that’s pretty much how it happened. Our three-man party was full of SK natives who wanted to see what it would be like to have a church we grew up with turned into a gig venue, so we were always on board, but plenty of other locals had the pleasure of simply stumbling upon tickets at the door.
We don’t think we’d be putting words in their mouths to say they will have been glad they did, as within a few seconds of walking into the oldest parish church in Stockport, we had never seen the already ornate and historical site look so stunning.
This wasn’t just a case of plonking some speakers and some drums near the altar like some half-arsed church fête, the roof, windows, pillars and various arches were all lit up by various multi-coloured projectors and strobes and it all felt pretty surreal.
If you’ve ever watched any kind of performance at Manchester Cathedral or a similar venue, you’ll know this kind of set-up is nothing new per se, but it did feel like something different for Stockport, especially when one of our party’s last memories was standing at the pulpit to read the Christmas story.
Then the music kicked off and we have to start by saying we were pretty impressed by the two support acts, Fondabath — fellow Stopfordians who were probably just as surprised to be in St Mary’s as we were — and Big Society, also local lads, both of which gave plenty of reason to go away and listen to more.
Then came the main event, Hello Cosmos, spearheaded by frontman and bass player Ben Robinson, who along with his jumpsuited bandmates wasted no time in transporting the crowd to what felt like a little pocket of space in some alternate reality.
Having had a few drinks and being given kaleidoscope glasses on arrival certainly helped, but it really was a truly audio-visual experience, from the various coloured jumpsuits and neon hula-hooping to the truly mesmerising light show that lit up the church throughout the set.
It all felt rather fittingly though when you take into account that Robinson is not just a musician but the founder of both Kendal Calling and bluedot Festival — I mean, even their sophomore album Golden Dirt has a glowing spaceman walking through a sea of sunflowers.
If you’ve never heard them before, think post-punk spoken word and almost Yard Act vibes, only if Christopher Ecclestone was on vocals instead. But their sound is truly sprawling, with ‘Fuse’ from their debut record giving the harder-hitting sounds and ‘Loud is Beautiful’ showing how they best intertwine electronics, keys and those oh-so-good horns from sax player Elara.
Be it jumping up and down in unison as the electric violinist played or Ben dropping to his knees to scream his head off, hopping off stage to walk around the crowd with a megaphone or releasing a sea of balloons from above for the big finish, this ‘Live at St Mary’s’ one-off special had a bit of everything.
It went from a little gig on a random winter evening in Stockport to an unforgettable one that SK-born gig-goers like us never thought we’d see in this particular borough of Greater Manchester whose culture and music scene are clearly thriving.
We really hope this is among the first of many — Hello Cosmos helped make it a success and we can seriously see the Live at St Mary’s series taking off if it continues to get the backing.