2021 Aquarian Weekly Holiday Extravaganza

Here it is! That time of year people absolutely adore or abhor – the holiday season. Admittedly, I fall into the latter category because I worked in retail for many years. The “best time of the year” usually begins November 1st or earlier in some instances. The jingle jangle causes an allergic reaction of sorts, so I try to avoid it at all costs.

In the spirit of pushing my boundaries, I actually volunteered to write this piece. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy… and you may be right. I went in search of the coolest Christmas songs of the year. So, let’s embark on this journey together. 

Since the majority of the country is experiencing cold weather, Kurt Baker is having summertime withdrawal and needs a “Christmas in the Sand.” (I’d dare to say many of us have the same sentiment.)

Tom Ciurczak allows us to join him in sunny California for “Christmas Time in Hollywood,” but the one-and-only Mr. Luva Luva, Shaggy, may have the antidote with Christmas in the Islands. He transports us to the Caribbean on this album with guest stars such as Joss Stone, Ne-Yo, and Sting. You can’t help but move your feet to tracks like “Take You to the Cool” and “Holiday in Jamaica.”

What would Christmas be without the standard classics? The following recording artists give them a unique holiday flair and make them their own.

Billy Idol is the perfect example with Happy Holidays. The album of yuletide favorites is sure to make the Grinch smile and a great example is of his version of “Frosty The Snowman.” It has me feeling a certain way while he sings “thumpety-thump-thump.”

Marc Martel offers the same with Hark!. Martel, best known for his vocal contributions to Bohemian Rhapsody and uncanny vocal likeness to Freddie Mercury, is joined by the likes of Jared James Nichols for “Zat’ You, Santa Claus,” Joe Bonamassa on “Blue Christmas,” and Arnel Pineda of Journey on the brilliant rendition of “Last Christmas.”

August Burns Red offers an instrumental take with ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ and is sure to have your head banging in no time. Just don’t spill the eggnog!

Damon Johnson and Brother Cane provide one of the most amazing interpretations of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” While the superb squeezebox player, Percy Cardona, has gifted us with “Linus and Lucy,” a lively translation of the song we all know and love from A Charlie Brown Christmas.

The Dollyrots cover Leona Lewis with “One Last Sleep” and add punk rock pizazz. The Aquadolls do the same as they cleverly resurrect my personal fave, “Xmas Wrapping.”

Other notable renderings come courtesy of Elle King, The Animal In Me, El Vez, The Puppini Sisters, and even DMX.

If you want festive tunes with an edge, there are a smattering of songs to satisfy that craving, such as ”Hold Your Tongue And Say Apple.” This one is excellent in that regard as it reminds me of the drunk uncle urging unsuspecting relatives to experiment this very thing at the dinner table.

On A Pirate Stole My Christmas, Ye Banished Privateers transport the listener to the 18th century with sea shanties such as “Deck and Hull’ and “Little Rummer Boy.” The Lathums spin a different tune, too, warning listeners about the horned, anthropomorphic figure we all know and love on “Krampus.”

“Cocktails and Candy Canes” by Geoff Palmer is another sure to have you moving and grooving.

I would be remiss for not including local loved ones in this story, though! “Yuletide Throwdown” is exactly what we need to celebrate. Blondie and Fab 5 Freddy combine “Rapture” with a festive twist. “The Man From Mars” makes a special appearance, too.

The Weeklings came in this year to present us with the swinging “Christmas Day.” Asbury Park resident Glen Burtnik is the lead vocalist for America’s most unique celebration of the music and muse of The Beatles.

Philadelphia’s very own G. Love & Special Sauce serve up Coming Back Home for Christmas, a new album he describes as “10 brand-new-made-from-scratch-fresh-out-da-kitchen-homegrown-all-organic-holiday-classics-from-the-dome-for-the-entire-family-jawn!” It is funky and fun. 

I may be like Scrooge in many ways, but after all is said and done, you may be surprised to find that I actually enjoy holiday music now. To prove it, I compiled a playlist of 150 Christmas tunes for your enjoyment. That’s right! One. Hundred. Fifty. (I must be coming down with something.) All of the musicians mentioned are included with more gems I discovered throughout the entire process. Hopefully, you will have a wonderful and joyous Christmas and will have music to fill your homes and hearts!