12 Must Hear Contemporary Christmas Covers for the Holiday Season

Marv D'Souza , 24 Dec 2013
10 Contemporary Versions of Christmas Songs
10 Contemporary Versions of Christmas Songs

It’s almost Christmas and here is a musical treat for you. I have been listening to an eclectic mix of songs in my Christmas playlist and have come up with 12 picks for the holidays. There is something for everyone from the rock and roll lovers to the quiet ones that love to sip on cocoa and sit by their Christmas tree. What’s special about this list is that the artists you know and love have added their own style to the songs. Check them out…

XX – Last Christmas

This epic Christmas pop tune was originally sung by Wham! and has been covered by artists all over. From Whigfield to Florence And The Machine, they have all added their twists to this slightly melancholic yet Christmas-y track. So here are the XX doing their spin on the track in their signature dreams space and butter style.

I love the electric arrangement in the last 30 seconds.

Bastille – O Holy Night

Bastille is one of my favourite bands currently and they do some amazing covers. In their O Holy Night offering, they’ve managed to fuse an uplifting choir feel through the track that is shattered by their trademark mixing of popular dialogues and sounds from known Hollywood films.

Can you guess what film the dialogues in the song were from? Clue: It’s a Christmas classic and is featured in our top 10 list of films for this season.

Imogen Heap – Just For Now

The Holiday is one of those cheerful Christmas themed films that captures the happy, loving and romantic moods of the season. Imogen Heap sings Just For Now: A track featured in the film that talks of all the madness set around the Christmas table. It’s all about loved ones coming together with their different personalities, for a little happy time around Christmas.

Look out for the lines “Quit kicking me under the table” and “Will someone make her shut up about it”. Seems like Christmas with the cousins and grandmom, doesn’t it?

RadioHead – Winter Wonderland

Thom Yorke is a weird… weird but talented man and fronts the epic band Radiohead. Their version of winter wonderland is quirky and has that faint Radiohead-y mood throughout.

Fact: This track has been covered by over 150 artists worldwide!

Annie Lennox – God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

This traditional Christmas carol is a must sing during the Christmas mass. Annie Lennox performs it with a generous touch of her Scottish roots. The track is a part of her Christmas album aptly titled, A Christmas Cornucopia.

The songs mentions some of key moments in the Christmas story like the angel informing the shepherds and the birth of a Savior in Bethlehem.

The Bird and The Bee – Carols Or The Bells

We’re listing some contemporary versionds of popular Christmas songs and this one is called Carols of the bell. Birds and the Bee lends there twinkling style to bring out a whimsical tone through the track.

Something tells me this track is perfect for mommies to play for the toddlers… no?

Band Aid 20 – Do they know it’s Christmas?

The charity band returned in 2004 as Band Aid 20 with a few artists from the original band aid to join some popular names back in 2004. The list of artists included Daniel and Natasha Bedingfield, Busted, Dido, Jamelia, Christ Martin of Coldplay and of course Bono of U2, and many more.

Check out the original Band Aid sing their version here.

Lisa Loeb – Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells absolutely had to make the cut and Lisa Loeb‘s version perfectly plays to the cute-sy Christmas mood.

Yup, she sang Stay, a song that was lip synced by every girl who loved Reality Bites and was in love with Ethan Hawke.

No Doubt – Oi To The World

The video is cray cray! Gwen Stefani and her gang running through the streets (somewhere in India) dressed in their desi inspired avatar. The song is composed in a typically No Doubt style where reggae beats meet rock meet school band horns.

I love the fact that this track has lyrics that go, “Oi to the skins and oi to the punk!” because it takes all kinds of people to make this world. P.S. Among other references, Oi is also a sub genre that originated in London to bring the youth together.

Maroon 5 – Happy Christmas

Behold! it’s Adam Lavigne singing Maroon 5’s version of the John Lennon and Yoko Ono classic. Though the track was a protest song in reference to the Vietnam War, it has now become a Christmas favourite.

Again, like some of the above mentioned tracks, this one too has a number of covers. Some of them are sung by Celine Dion, Jessica Simpson and Sarah Mclachlan.

ColdPlay – Christmas Lights

And we have Christ Martin featured in the list, again! This time, he is with his own band, Coldplay singing Christmas Lights. The video is typical a Coldpay one with sweeping camera moves and interestingly cool sets to match Martin’s brilliant piano skills.

Coldplay has a beautiful way to turn sadness into joy with their music. Perfect for Christmas.

Citizens – Joy To World

Finally, we had to close this list with a worthy song. Joy To The World is a Christmas hymn and the Citizens sing it with a cool rock vibe.

I must admit this track was discovered by me on accident and I had to add it to the list. It just seemed like the right choice to round things up.

So there you go, 12 contemporary Christmas covers that capture the various mood of the season. Hope you enjoy them and remember to share the music. It sounds so much better that way. Merry Christmas and joy to you all! Remember to tell us about your favourite track from this list or if you have one you’d love for us to hear.

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