Music, Reviews
Dec 20, 2013


Fellow people who have to put up with “Holiday Music” nonstop in every public (and sometimes private) location from Halloween until the day after Christmas. I bring you yet again, some choices to spice up your Christmas/Holiday mix.

We all know that most songs played during this time of year have been covered by everyone trying to make it in the music biz. However, there are a few new songs released in the past couple years and even this year that allow some alternatives to the traditional slow snoozefests your Grandma will be playing at your family’s get together. I’ve organized just a few of the many covers neaty into three categories for you to make this hecktic time of year just a bit easier. So, strap in and let PPLA take you on a musical sleigh ride.

Top 40/Pop: New-ish ones from chart toppers and people played on your local mass media conglomorate owned radio station

Kelly Clarkson – Underneath The Tree
Kelly Clarkson is one of my favorite Diva’s of all time. She seems to be able to sing like an angel and yet not let it get to her head. She even had her own Christmas special this year, did the obligatory promotions and performed while in her first trimester. (For you men out there that’s the one with morning sickness, acne, food cravings and breathlessness as just a few of the symptoms) Which, in my humble opinion cements her further in my list of people I want to meet some day. As for the song, I feel it’s got some great moments and I see if growing on me over time.

Blake Sheldon – Silver Bells featuring Xenia
My idea of listening to country music is Charlie Daniels Band, The Dixie Chicks and Faith Hill. However, after so many seasons of being a loyal The Voice fan Blake Sheldon’s dreamy looks and fun personality have made me a fan. Mostly his dreamy looks though. He performed a duet with Xenia (one of his previous The Voice team members) that is actually pretty good. A bit slow for my taste, but that’s pretty much this song in general.

Owl City – Peppermint Winter
Oh, Owl City. The only artist currently competing with Adam Levine for singing in octaves only dogs can hear. Calm down, calm down! I also love both of these artists I just had to make the joke. As far as new original Christmas music goes, this one is probably the most whimsical I’ve heard in years, but then again isn’t that just Adam Young’s style? Give it a listen if you feel the need to hear something so sugary sweet that it makes your teeth hurt a bit but in a good way.

Mary J. Blige – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
One thing that everyone knows is Mary J. Blige can take it to Church, on a Tuesday, with zero sleep and losing her voice. She is just that talented. However, I feel like the song is just a bit too slow and quite frankly boring. I don’t know if it’s because she’s holding back due to the song or that it’s the tempo of the song in general. Either way, it’s not for me but maybe you will enjoy it.

Susan Boyle & Elvis – O’ Come All Ye Faithful
This is Susan Boyle’s third Christmas album (I just discovered thanks to Google) and it features a version of O’Come All Ye Faithful digitally created to create a duet with Elvis. If you look at the actual CD insert it says “That’s right folks, we had Brandon Le in The Crow, then 2Pac releasing songs from beyond the grave and now we have Elvis! Ladies and Gentlemen, we’ve gotten bored with making mashups and remixes so we’re throwing it back. WAAAAYYY back and cashing in on THE KING and his legacy. – Sincerely, Simon Cowell” To be honest it’s actually a pretty decent cover of a cover that was originally a cover of another song within a dream inside in a box on a train with green eggs and ham….and somehow my mind has imploded.

Bad Religion – O Come All Ye Faithful
For those of you who are on the younger side, Bad Religion is a rock band (of various sub-genres through the years). They’ve had a few breaks here and there to regroup, change up some members and work on new music but they’re one of the bands that’s stuck around in one form or another for a few decades. If you’re feeling a little angsty this holiday season you can throw up your rawkfist and give this one a listen.

Kool & The Gang – Christmas Thyme The Perfect Time For Love
Again, for the youngsters this is a band that’s a bit older and been around for a while. I’m sure you’ve heard the songs Jungle Boogie and Celebration. Yeah, these are the guys behind those classic hits. The best part of this song is that it’s not a cover and has a funky beat, which is always a good thing at this time of year. If there’s a small baby boom in September, it’s not because of a cold winter, it’s probably because of this song.

Leona Lewis – One More Sleep
Probably my favorite of the new songs this year. I love Leona Lewis’ voice, it’s powerful and yet effortless at the same time. Which is saying something because I was so tired of listening to Bleeding Love in 2008 that I almost swam across the Atlantic to hunt down whoever was at fault for releasing that song in the States.

The Christian Artists: Yes, call me Captain Obvious but really, these guys are churning out covers every year because…well, Christmas is their holiday.

Kye Kye – Noel
Kye Kye is a band fronted by Estonian born siblings. Their biggest hit Honest Affection is an electronic song with a light melody that is pretty catchy. If you’re a fan of Death Cab for Cutie, Coldplay and M83 you might want to check this and their other work out.

Children 18:3 – Follow The Star
This song was actually released last year, but too close to Christmas for me to discover it until the season was over. At least, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Children 18:3 is a Christian Punk Rock band and are known for their gritty vocals, energetic stage presence and upbeat tunes. Orignally formed as a Ska band they’ve obviously evolved over the years, but the band always consists of the three Hofstetter siblings rocking out.

August Burns Red – Sleigh Ride
August Burns Red (or ABR) is a Christian Metalcore band. A few years ago they released a Carol Of The Bells cover that was very popular on the Christian Rock Charts. This is their first released Christmas Cover since and it’s worth the wait.

Unspoken – Feliz Navidad
Well, we couldn’t make it through a year without a cover of this could we? Honestly, it’s just a smart business move given the number of people in the US and the world who speak spanish. That and it’s just a fun little ditty.

Brandon Heath – Just A Girl
Another original Christmas song, this one is told from the perspective of the Innkeeper who turned Mary & Joseph away not knowing they were. There have been quite a few songs over the years sang about this same general scenario from The Little Drummer Boy to this one, but this one is very melodic and quite soothing.

Lincoln Brewster – Miraculum
For those of you not up on your Christian artists of the Instrumental variety, Lincoln Brewster has been giving us toe tapping tunes for over a decade. Miraculum can be found on his Joy To The World album released this 2013 holiday season. It is legitimately the catchiest instrumental cover I’ve heard since Trans Siberian Orchestra’s Carol Of The Bells. Do your ears a favor, and give it a listen.

Old School Throwbacks: Just for funsies

Taking Back Sunday – 12 Days Of Christmas
This is one of those songs where you basically feel like you’re hanging out with the band at a holiday party. Maybe Aunt Ruth was a bit heavy handed with the Rum in the Egg Nogg and your cousin Scotty decides to play a few songs at the piano. Ahh, good times.

Donny Hathaway – This Christmas (Chris Brown Can’t Measure Up)
Chris Brown covered this song a few years ago (and I might add terribly) but this is one of those songs where no one can really measure up to the classic. That’s right Donny Hathaway, you shall always have a special place in my heart that’s two sizes too small.

The Ramones – Merry Christmas (I don’t want to fight tonight)
Shaking things up a bit in this list is The Ramones because that’s what they would have wanted. Enjoy the horrible 80’s music video quality and plot your angsty new year’s resolutions now.

Hanson – Run Rudolph Run
I just couldn’t help myself. It’s horrible and you probably shouldn’t listen to it, but I wanted to remind you that this happened.

Destiny’s Child – Hark How The Bells
Who doesn’t want to listen to Beyonce, Kelly Rowland and…that other girl who was replaced…or was it the one who replaced the other girl…either way, call your girls, put on your tightest pants, highest heels and grab a hairbrush. It’s time to form a group number to lip synch to that no one but you and your besties will ever see.

Jimmy Durante – Frosty The Snowman
One of the traditions of this time of year is to bring back all the old classic holiday movies. Jimmy Durante is one of those voices you instinctively recognize but have no idea who sings it. He is immortalized in many classic movies, animated works and even has regular impressinations of him in various mediums from movies to Tex Avery cartoons. RIP Jimmy, you are missed.