ENTERTAINMENT
19/12/2018 07:00 GMT | Updated 20/12/2018 10:28 GMT

New Christmas Songs Released In 2018: Our Verdict

Will we still be humming these to ourselves come Christmas 2019?

John Legend - ‘Bring Me Love’

 

The making of a good Christmas song is something that can sound instantly nostalgic, while also sounding unique enough that it stands out from the absolute deluge of festive tunes we’ve been delivered over the years.

On that front, John Legend delivers on ‘Bring Me Love’ - the lead single from his brilliantly-titled ‘A Legendary Christmas’ - with its classic-sounding, toe-tapping instrumental harking back to years gone by, without coming across as stale or dated.

However... we’re not about to start slating a new Christmas song for being too cheesy or schmaltzy, that’s surely the point, right? But at the same time, given his reputation as one half of the coolest couples in showbiz, we weren’t expecting ‘Bring Me Love’ to sound so... naff.

Our rating: 🎄🎄🎄

Sample lyrics: “I don’t want much, your love is all I need. Baby, I hope Santa brings you to me.”

Sia - ‘My Old Santa Claus’

 

Motivated purely by festive cheer, with nothing to do with dollar signs (cynics? Us? Never...), Sia has repackaged her 2017 festive album ‘Everyday Is Christmas’ with three new tracks this year.

Originally featuring on the Japanese version of the album, ‘My Old Santa Claus’ is one of the new additions, and it’s not hard to imagine why Sia would want to include it, as it is a really strong track.

True, she’s not exactly leaping out of her comfort zone on this one (take out the festive lyrical references and sleigh bells on the instrumental and this would pass by unchecked on ’1000 Forms Of Fear’ or ‘This Is Acting’), but the song sounds unmistakably Christmassy-sounding, and if Sia’s unique songwriting and vocal stylings are up your street, this is definitely one worth checking out.

Our rating: 🎄🎄🎄🎄

Sample lyrics: “If this is what the season is bringing, then I gotta shoot through... ’cause if Christmas is so green and red, then why am I so blue?”

Katy Perry - ‘Cozy Little Christmas’

 

Katy Perry is probably at her strongest when she’s playing up to a cartoonish persona, so we’re surprised it’s taken her this long to come out with a Christmas tune (particularly given her past festive offering ‘Every Day Is A Holiday’, recorded for an H&M holiday campaign, never got an official release).

‘Cozy Little Christmas’, it must be said, isn’t exactly breaking the mould with its sound, and doesn’t come across like a track that anyone involved spent too much time on. That being said, it is a sweet little tune, and as a song makes a lot more sense when it gets to the chorus (which is unfortunate, given that’s when the above preview clip cuts off).

Our rating: 🎄🎄🎄

Sample lyrics: “Nothing lights my fire or wraps me up, baby, like you do, just want a cosy, a cosy little Christmas here with you.”

RuPaul - ‘Hey Sis, It’s Christmas’

 

Forget Mariah Carey, the true Queen of Christmas is RuPaul, who has just released her third festive album, to coincide with the ‘Drag Race: Holi-slay Spectacular’.

‘Christmas Party’, to be fair, consists mostly of interludes and remixes of past Christmas tunes RuPaul has recorded, but does also feature new material, including the Markaholic collaboration ‘Hey Sis, It’s Christmas’.

It’s definitely not in keeping with the Paul McCartney, Wizzard and Slade songs currently in rotation on UK radio, instead following in the rap sound of past Ru past tunes like ‘Call Me Mother’, ‘Geronimo’ and ‘Peanut Butter’, but with the usual allusions to “walking the runway” and “slaying the game” replaced with Christmas references.

This isn’t going to be a song to everyone’s tastes, but we think it’s a whole lot of fun, and if this is the time of year you’d usually give Lady Gaga’s ‘Christmas Tree’ a spin, we’d recommend adding this to your Yuletide playlist too.

Our rating: 🎄🎄🎄🎄

Sample lyric: “Don that apparel so gay, that’s right, All Santa’s elves be giving me life.”

Gwen Stefani - ‘Secret Santa’

 

We always found something a bit jarring about Gwen Stefani’s Christmas album when it was released last year.

Perhaps it was hearing the former frontwoman of No Doubt, who later went on to have hits with absolute rackets like ‘Wind It Up’ and ‘Hollaback Girl’, singing Christmas covers in front of a 1950s-esque orchestra. Or it might have been the way ‘You Make It Feel Like Christmas’ came so soon after ‘This Is What The Truth Feels Like’, which was low on hits or pop culture impact.

We were equally cynical when we heard the collection was getting a re-release a year on, but even with all of that in the back of our minds... there’s just something about a Gwen Stefani ballad, and ‘Secret Santa’ delivers.

The 60s girl group throwback is irresistible, the festive lyrical references feel appropriate, romantic and not-shoehorned-in, and Gwen’s delivery is both sultry and confident. It’s the sort of thing we could imagine an American Christmas high school dance themed-routine to on ‘Strictly’, and that’s high praise indeed.

Our rating: 🎄🎄🎄🎄

Sample lyrics: “Let’s play Secret Santa through the night, you’re the only one that I’ll invite, you don’t even have to RSVP back to me, get over here and hold me tight.”

The Fizz - ‘Don’t Start Without Me’

 

The artists formerly known as Bucks Fizz (and, indeed, Formerly Known As Bucks Fizz) is back, and this time they’re fully in the Christmas spirit.

Now, we’ll be honest, when we got to the half-way point of ‘Don’t Start Without Me’, we were pretty sure that it was the biggest Christmas turkey we’d heard in many a year. And yet, when it got to the end, we found ourselves putting it back to the beginning again. And again.

In many ways, ‘Don’t Start Without Me’ sounds like every low-budget Christmas tune we’ve ever heard, with, bizarrely, Take That’s ‘Shine’ thrown into the mix for good measure. And yet, it’s just so lovely and cheerful-sounding we can’t bring ourselves to say anything bad about it.

And besides, there’s something quite refreshing about hearing a song with such Christmas references so unequivocally British (“it won’t stop raining”, “will I ever get home soon? I’m stuck in this queue”), and we have to hand it to the trio, those are some tight-sounding harmonies. As for the surprise-but-probably-not-really-a-surprise key change at the end... it’s probably a bit too much, but isn’t that what the festive season is all about?

Our rating: 🎄🎄🎄

Sample lyric: “Don’t wanna miss the fun, our Christmas sing-a-long, I’ll be there before too long, don’t start without me”

Jessie J - ‘This Christmas Day’

 

‘This Christmas Day’ is the only original song on Jessie J’s new album of the same title, and tells a rather different story to the songs we usually hear at this time of year.

While opening lyrics about not needing “diamonds”, “a fancy car” or “a jet” put us in mind of plenty of other tunes that have borrowed from the theme of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’, it quickly becomes apparent that the similarities end there, and ‘This Christmas Day’ is actually a song about loss and missing someone around the festive season.

As a song, Jessie is more controlled and restrained than we’ve heard her on her more upbeat hits (‘Bang Bang’, ‘Do It Like A Dude’) or show-stopping ballads (‘Who You Are’), which allows the message of the song to resonate all the more.

And while this isn’t a song we imagine we’ll be in a rush to play any time soon, the message of ‘This Christmas Day’ is something that will certainly resonate with a lot of listeners.

Our rating: 🎄🎄🎄

Sample lyric: “I know it’s not the same, but you love me, and that will never change, and I love you on this Christmas day, and I miss you, yes, every single day.”

Tyler, The Creator - ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch’

 

It says a lot about the unpredictability of the last 12 months that it feels fitting the year should be ending with a Dr Seuss tune reimagined by rapper Tyler, The Creator and celebrated film composer Danny Elfman.

About a thousand miles away from the lyrical content we’re used to hearing from Tyler, ‘You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch’ is heavily based on the song of the same name from the 1966 cartoon ‘The Grinch’.

It’s been given a modern twist, though, including hip-hop production and a brand new rap from Tyler, which fits surprisingly well alongside the original Seuss-ian lyrics and children’s choir.

Our rating: 🎄🎄🎄 

Sample lyric: “All them decorations, I tear ’em down, you can ask Max, I don’t play around... who is this mean fellow, with his skin all green and his teeth all yellow?”