Tuesday 18 June 2019

Have yourself a very mellow Christmas

Kristin Chenoweth
Kristin Chenoweth

Jim Hayes

'Tis the season to be jolly…but it's not all jingling bells and bumpy sleigh rides. Christmas is also a time for kicking back and reflecting. So gather these nine tracks into a playlist, light a few candles, turn off the telly and spend some quiet time just listening…

O Holy Night Jewel

Few have mastered this carol from the 1800s better than Jewel whose pure vocals pierce even the hardest of hearts. Be prepared: you will get goose bumps.

Do You Hear What I Hear Carrie Underwood

Written in 1962 as a plea for peace during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Do You Hear What I Hear has been covered by hundreds, but you won't find a better interpretation than this strings-laden tour de force from a lady with one of the best voices in the business.

Mary Did You Know Clay Aiken

Aiken's silky smooth vocals are perfect for this popular Christian music song which has been covered by many, across multiple genres. Dare we say, the definitive version?

Only You Kylie Minogue featuring James Corden

OK, so not everyone's favourite version of this Yazoo synthpop classic, but Kylie's 2015 performance - with a little help from pal Corden - over a beautiful backdrop of piano and chiming keyboards, is a Christmas gem.

That's Christmas To Me Pentatonix

Christmas a capella is a joy, and few do it better than Pentatonix. This was the only original tune on their 2012 album of the same name and it's an understated, note-perfect showstopper.

Christmas In LA The Killers

Released in 2013, this was the Las Vegas band's eighth Christmas release and one of their best. Harry Dean Stanton gets a mention in the lyrics, and features in the video alongside Owen Wilson, as Brandon Flowers laments spending another Christmas 'in an empty beach café', before segueing into the lyrics from White Christmas. It shouldn't work, but it really does.

Christmas Makes Me Cry Kacey Musgraves

Musgraves says she cried when she wrote this sad tune for her 2016 album 'A Very Kacey Christmas'. Deceptively simple, it strikes a chord with those whose Christmas is not always the most wonderful time of the year.

Sleep Well Little Children/What A Wonderful World Kristin Chenoweth

A marriage of Christmas carol and pop ballad from pocket-sized powerhouse Chenoweth's 2008 'A Lovely Way To Spend Christmas', and a magical three and a half minutes from one of the great interpreters.

White Christmas Bing Crosby

We couldn't leave it out. Irving Berlin's masterpiece is possibly the greatest Christmas ballad of them all, even though Crosby didn't think it anything special when he first performed it on public radio on Christmas Day in 1941. It's comfort food - a warm glow - and almost 80 years after it was written, we're still not tired of it.