Sonic Stocking Stuffers
Spice up your holiday party with these adventurous audible treats.
- Written byRich Thomas
Everyday Is Christmas
Sia | (Atlantic)
Probably the best contemporary Christmas album released in the last few years, and it doesn’t contain any covers. “Santa’s Coming For Us” sounds like a holiday re-rub of the Bewitched theme song. “Ho Ho Ho” is a raucous stein-swinger that name-checks all your favorite spirits. And “Puppies Are Forever” has really nothing to do with Christmas but is pretty much a universal truth and is guaranteed to put you in a good mood. Sia is a gifted songwriter with a magical voice, and this is definitely a new classic you’ll play every season.
Christmas is 4 Ever
Bootsy Collins | Shout Factory
What’s Christmas without a little funk? Bootsy serves up 13 tracks on this offering, most of which are tongue-in-cheek reworkings of old standards. Instead of “The Christmas Song” we get “Chestnutz,” “Winter Wonderland” becomes “Winterfunkyland,” and Santa Claus isn’t necessarily coming to town—he’s just coming. Christmas is 4 Ever isn’t for everyone, but Bootsy has never been a conventional cat. Who else is going to include a voicemail from Bishop Don “Magic” Juan and a guest vocal from Snoop Dogg? Not Michael Bublé, that’s for sure.
Christmas With Weezer
Weezer | DGC/Interscope
The songs on this six-track EP were originally created for an iOS game, and the total running time is just over 12 minutes—but it’s a solid assortment of tunes to sprinkle into a playlist. The best part is the songs featured—“O Come All Ye Faithful,” “O Holy Night,” “The First Noel,” “Silent Night,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”—are usually the types of songs you’d skip over in a traditional Christmas mix. But Weezer’s big guitars and Rivers’ emo swagger make ‘em irresistible.
Kaskade | Columbia
On the dance floor, Kaskade is known for bringing the euphoric EDM feels, but this collection is free of big-room bangers. Instead Kaskade parlays his crisp, immaculate production into soulful collaborations with female vocalists like Erika Sirola, Skylar Grey and Jane XØ. If everything I’ve just said sounds like a completely different language, just imagine the safe, poppy feeling you get when you hear any Maroon 5 song. Kaskade delivers the same type of vibe.
Verve Remixed/Unmixed Christmas
Various Artists | Verve Records
When the party requires the classics but you still need some flavor, cue up this compilation. Mel Tormé, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and other greats get a few subtle retouches—and some complete overhauls—from beatsmiths like Wax Tailor, The Orb, Fink, The Heavy and Brazilian Girls. If things get too weird, back off the remixes and let the originals warm up the room … but you really can’t go wrong with Verve. Their Very Best of Christmas Jazz compilation is a holiday essential.