Okay, so it may be difficult to compete with ‘Fairytale of New York’ and ‘Last Christmas’, but every festive playlist needs at least a little bit of an annual spruce up. Enter, DIY’s Essential New Christmas Tracks. We’ve gathered together some of our favourite new seasonal tunes - some originals, some covers, but all released this year - to ring in the holiday season in style. You can find all the tracks below (plus a few more) in our nifty playlists on Spotify and YouTube, so merry listening!
Laufey - Christmas Dreaming
This year, Laufey adds to her sparkling collection of Christmassy tunes with the luscious, fairytale tones of 'Christmas Dreaming'. With its swooning strings, tinkling piano notes and Laufey’s characteristically velvet vocal performance, it could easily soundtrack Snow White or Cinderella, given how truly Disney Princess-esque it is. But a sugar-plum dusting of delicately interpolated melodic motifs from familiar favourites like 'I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas' ground Laufey firmly in a winter wonderland. (Ims Taylor)
Ezra Collective - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Fresh off the back of their Mercury Prize win, London jazz group Ezra Collective have given us their spin on the festive favourite 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen'. A slight departure from their usual bombastic and colourful sound, the initial focus is on a subtle piano intro that drives things before segueing into horns and more of the sounds we expect. It’s a warm dose of festive cheer perfect for this time of year, and a welcome new addition to the seasonal canon. Far from being a throwaway, there is plenty of fun and quality on display - it'll be interesting to see if the group decide to reinterpret other yuletide tunes in future. (Chris Connor)
Cher - DJ Play A Christmas Song
It seems pretty wild that Cher – possibly the only person bar Mariah who is camper than Christmas – did not have a festive album before 2023. ‘Christmas’ the record (but also, according to Cher, the season) dropped in October, following the release of its lead single ‘DJ Play A Christmas Song’. It’s maybe the most ‘Cher’ a Christmas song could ever be: an ode to the dancefloor laced with a thumping chorus and, arguably, very little to actually do with the holidays. It’s an undeniable banger though, and proved what many people already knew – that Cher was born for a Christmas single. (Caitlin Chatterton)
piri & tommy - christmas time
When you think of Christmas songs, a dance-pop track from a pair of buzzy young producers isn't necessarily the first thing that springs to mind, but hey - traditions are there to be reinvented, right? Merging their now-signature brand of UKG with classic festive sonics - think sleigh bells and lyrical references to temperature - 'christmas time' epitomizes piri & tommy's approach to their craft: ripping up the rulebook with an intrinsic sense of fun. (Daisy Carter)
boygenius and Ye Vagabonds - The Parting Glass
For the past few years, Phoebe Bridgers’ tradition of releasing a charity Christmas single has produced the delicate, if slightly miserable, covers of ‘So Much Wine’, ‘Day After Tomorrow’ and ‘If We Make It Through December’. This year she joined forces with the boys (Lucy Dacus and Julien Baker), plus the Irish folk duo Ye Vagabonds, for a beautiful rendition of ‘The Parting Glass’. The cover art shows the late Sinéad O’Connor, who put her stamp on the tune in 2002. The Sinéad O’Connor Estate also chose The Aisling Project as the recipients of the single’s net proceeds, which helps disadvantaged children in Sinéad’s home county of Dublin. The track is thoughtful, emotional, and transportive; everything boygenius does best, in a fitting tribute to one of 2023’s greatest losses. (Caitlin Chatterton)
Matilda Mann - Make It Home
Amidst the ambience of Christmas cheer, Matilda Mann provides a decidedly sombre – and equally blissful – addition to the festive season with ‘Make It Home’. Organic yet intricate arrangements place the 23-year-old’s effortlessly mesmerising vocals above an undercurrent of warm strings and lilting guitars. Loneliness, nostalgia, and hopelessness are all wrapped into a glistening sonic, propelled by the unbridled longing for a loved one. “I don't wanna wait forever / For you to get to me / 'Cause everybody's strange here / But I guess that's family”, she details. Sprinkling glimmers of wit among the pervading solemnness, it’s a resonant offering for the upcoming holidays. (Emily Savage)
Ellie Bleach - Merry Christmas, Do You Ever Think Of Me?
Released via the solid-gold cult label Sad Club Records, the first festive single from Ellie Bleach is a nostalgia-fueled trip down memory lane, in which she ponders how "returning to a place that hasn’t changed can transport you back to the person you once were". Providing a healthy dose of yearning melancholy to counter the season's saccharine hits, 'Merry Christmas, Do You Ever Think Of Me?' is yet more evidence of her remarkable world-building aptitude. (Daisy Carter)