15 Holiday Tunes That Will Add Some Cool to Your Christmas Playlist


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Listening to the same holiday tunes year after year is a tradition we all (mostly) love, but let's face it: Your modern-day merrymaking playlist could probably use an update. No, we're not saying you need to kick Mariah Carey and Michael Buble to the curb, but there are some lesser-known Christmas songs from your favorite artists that you've probably never heard -- and they could be just what you need this year!

Oftentimes unexpected but always unforgettable, the songs on this list are a gift to us all -- especially those of us who are really, really tired of the same old corny carols!

  • Bob Dylan, 'Must Be Santa'

    1

    Sure, it came as something of a surprise when recent Nobel prize winner Bob Dylan came out with an entire holiday album (2009's Christmas in the Heart), but tunes like "Must Be Santa" soon became mandatory seasonal listening for fans.

  • The Ramones, 'Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)'

    2

    A B-side to their 1987 single "I Wanna Live," "Merry Christmas (I Don't Want to Fight Tonight)" is the only holiday anthem that features Joey Ramone's punk-perfect voice dispensing wisdom like, "Christmas ain't the time for breaking each other's hearts." 

  • No Doubt, 'Oi to the World'

    3

    Flashback to high school holiday break with this high-energy 1997 No Doubt cover of the Vandals' "Oi to the World," which appeared alongside more traditional tunes like "I Saw Three Ships" by Sting on A Very Special Christmas 3

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  • Johnny Cash, 'Blue Christmas'

    4

    Sure, Elvis is the king, but "Blue Christmas" from the Man in Black is just about as good as it gets. (All of 1991's Johnny Cash Country Christmas is pretty great, actually.)

  • Lemmy Kilmister, Dave Grohl & Billy Gibbons, 'Run, Rudolph, Run'

    5

    Pay tribute to Motorhead's dearly departed Lemmy Kilmister (who passed away around this time last year) with 2008's raucously rocking "Run, Rudolph, Run" -- also featuring Dave Grohl and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons!

  • Miley Cyrus, 'Silent Night'

    6

    If you missed the fabulously quirky A Very Murray Christmas (2015), then you might not know that the Miley Cyrus rendition of "Silent Night" is one of the most moving, lovely versions of the classic song you'll ever hear.

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  • Lady Gaga & Joseph Godon-Levitt, 'Baby It's Cold Outside'

    7

    This standout from 2013's Lady Gaga & The Muppets' Holiday Special doesn't actually include any singing Muppets, but Gaga and Gordon-Levitt totally have the vocals covered!

  • Weezer, 'Oh Holy Night'

    8

    It's sweater season, so why not get in the spirit with a tune from the band who brought you "Undone (The Sweater Song)"? And if you like Weezer's "Oh Holy Night," be sure to check out the rest of Christmas With Weezer!

  • Norah Jones, 'It Came Upon a Midnight Clear'

    9

    You can't go wrong with the sublime Norah Jones covering one of the most beloved and beautiful Christmas songs of all time, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear." 

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  • John Legend & Stephen Colbert, 'Nutmeg'

    10

    Everybody can use a little comic relief around the holidays. Get yours with John Legend and Stephen Colbert's ode to indispensable eggnog spice "Nutmeg" -- and don't worry, innuendo-laden lines like "I'll sprinkle your Christmas cream with my spice supreme" will probably go over your kid's head.

  • Willie Nelson, 'Christmas Blues'

    11

    More mellow than merry (but still heavy on the good vibes), Willie Nelson's "Christmas Blues" -- from 1979's Pretty Paper -- will musically melt all your holiday stress away.

  • Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, 'Christmas All Over Again'

    12

    Featured on A Very Special Christmas, Volume 2, "Christmas All Over Again" by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers is a tune we can all relate to this time of year, with lyrics like "Long-distance relatives, haven't seen them in a long, long time / Yeah I kind of missed 'em, I just don't wanna kiss 'em, no." 

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  • Stevie Nicks, 'Silent Night'

    13

    Okay, so we already have one "Silent Night" on this list -- but come on, this is Stevie Nicks we're talking about! Try replicating Stevie's 'do in this video from the 1987 Top of the Pops Christmas Special at your holiday dinner this year.

  • Patti Smith, 'We Three Kings'

    14

    Already one of the more dramatic tunes in the Christmas canon, Patti Smith's "We Three Kings" is an avant-garde update that incorporates spoken word and borderline ominous tones.

  • Julian Casablancas, 'I Wish It Was Christmas Today'

    15

    Originally (and brilliantly) performed by Jimmy Fallon, Tracy Morgan, Chris Kattan, and Horatio Sanz on SNL, you'll be humming this catchy track from the singer of the Strokes well into the New Year!

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