The Best Modern(ish) Christmas Songs To Help You Be Merry As Fuck

From Phoebe Bridgers to Spice Girls to RuPaul.

modern christmas songs good photo

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For every great Christmas song out there, there are at least two dozen that deserve to be cast out to sea and scratched from memory.

The history of music is littered with godawful songs attempting to wring out some Christmas cheer, from the horror that is ‘Little Drummer Boy’ to Sia’s dreary ‘Santa’s Coming To Town’.

But there are some great modern Christmas tracks out there hidden amongst the trash, from maudlin, melancholy bops to high-powered pop crushers. To clarify, we’ve classed basically anything that isn’t a traditional carol as ‘modern’.

We’ve wrapped up the best ones for you below.

*NSYNC — ‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays’

A track that proves you can release a straight up pop song about Christmas and it doesn’t have to be awful. *NSYNC brought all the cheese they could find to ‘Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays’, and it gleams with the collective power of their megawatt teeth. Glorious.

Mariah Carey — ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’

An obvious addition, sure, but there’s no way you could construct a list of modern Christmas songs without including arguably the best one out there.

Mariah Carey’s sleek pop stunner gets more and more popular every year — the beginning of every Mariah Season heralds some kind of content from the singer — and has been meme’d to heaven and back numerous times over.

Wham! — ‘Last Christmas’

If the opening lines of ‘Last Christmas’ don’t punch you in the gut straight away, there’s a chance you’re not alive. “Last Christmas, I gave you my heart/But the very next day you gave it away”, George Michael wails.

Sad Christmas songs are perhaps the best sub-genre — Judy Garland’s ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas’ being the gold standard — and George Michael lends this one a melancholy that will bulldoze you.

Britney Spears — ‘My Only Wish (This Year)’

As we’ve previously discussed, there’s simply way too much horniness in a lot of Christmas songs. ‘My Only Wish (This Year)’ certainly skates the line of horny/yearning. But it’s a bop, so we’ll forgive any strange Santa horniness for now.

Spice Girls — ‘Sleigh Ride’

This song is worth it alone for the mad English bruv adlib at the start.

Ariana Grande — ‘Santa Tell Me’

A lot of modern Chrissy tunes have a ‘more is more’ approach, throwing in bonkers production and instrumentation to try and differentiate themselves from the pack (Sia, we’re talking about you).

Simple is always better, and Ariana’s jangly and jaunty ‘Santa Tell Me’ is as sweet and classic as a candy cane.

RuPaul — ‘Hey Sis, It’s Christmas’ (feat. Markaholic)

If you’re familiar with any of RuPaul’s musical work, then you’ll be able to guess what this sounds like. What other visionary could rhyme ‘sis’ with ‘Christmas’?

It’s silly, it’s stupid as hell, but every Xmas playlist needs it.

Phoebe Bridgers — ‘If We Make It Through December’

Another one to add in the ‘Sad Christmas’ playlist. Bridgers’ recent cover of the Merle Haggard classic is, like everything Bridgers does, quietly devastating. Grab a Baileys and prepare to gently sob.

To make it even better, she’s released an EP full of her Christmas songs that’s she’s covered over the years, including a rendition of ‘Have A Merry Little Christmas’ which may or may not wrench your heart from your chest.

Julian Casablancas — ‘I Wish It Was Christmas Today’

A song that answers the perennial question: Just what would a Strokes Christmas song sound like?

Slayyyter — ‘All I Want For Christmas’ (feat. Ayesha Erotica)

“All I want for Christmas is to get fucked,” starts Slayyyter’s twisted Christmas carol, which then swerves and explodes like a laptop being hurled at a concrete wall.

It’s not one for the fainthearted, so maybe don’t queue it up at Christmas dinner unless you want some elderly relative to shuffle off the mortal coil.