Mariah Carey, Poly Styrene, *NSYNC, TLC, and More: It's a Very Ludacrismas Playlist


Yes, haha: Ludacris, “Ludacrismas” – I have never seen the film Fred Claus nor do I want to, but I am thankful for its soundtrack, which gave us this 2007 Christmas banger in which Ludacris requests Jordans and an XBox from Santa, raps about getting twisted on the holidays, and sweetly promises his mother a Cadillac. It’s absurd but fun and I am glad it exists! —Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Fuck yes: *NSYNC, “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” – I’ve listened to this song exactly once this holiday season, and it is now stuck in my head, so much so that I will find myself singing it to the cat, my Christmas tree, and myself, as I stalk the aisles of my grocery store looking for a ham that is a suitable size for one person. Everyone in this video looks like Seth Green in Can’t Hardly Wait and even listening to the song just at home, I feel like I’m at the mall panicking outside the good Sephora, trying to buy something for my stepmother. How nice to feel nostalgia for even the most unpleasant holiday sensations. Thank you, *Nsync. —Megan Reynolds

Y: Charly Bliss x Pup, “It’s Christmas and I Fucking Miss You – Of course New York’s Charly Bliss and Toronto’s Pup would combine forces for a joyously angsty, poppy-punk x-mas song about “fucking miss[ing] you.” No one’s having a good time this year, but at least the ascending harmonies and riffs of this one elicits the illusion of glee. —Maria Sherman

Also yes: The Aislers Set, “Cold Christmas” – Indiepoppers The Aislers Set have no shortage of holiday-themed songs, so I’ve elected to go with the latest one: “Cold Christmas,” a very pleasant ode to an indoor reality, complete with tambourine and xylophone. Be charmed, it’s fine! —MS

You guessed it… yes: Jesu, “Christmas” – No Christmas song list would be complete without an industrial, metalgaze ode to the holiday, as hazy as a snowstorm in December. Jesu, the post-Godflesh project of soundscape artist Justin Broadrick, has an interesting take on “Christmas”—distortion cascades, he whispers atop impossibly heavy percussion, it’s impossible not to hear the bands he would go on to inspire in this music: Deafheaven, Nothing and the like. Let it sit on your chest. —MS

Obviously yes: Poly Styrene, “Black Christmas” – Oh bondage, up yours: this “Black Christmas,” X-Ray Spex’s frontwoman Poly Styrene isn’t merry, no, no, no. The ska song, if Flux Magazine is correct, was written about “Bruce Pardo, a mass-murderer who went on a killing spree dressed as Santa Claus killing 9 people in Los Angeles,” but doubles as a dismissal of the corrupt holiday all together. Like everything Styrene touches, it is energetic, honest, and inspired repeat plays. —MS

Obviously: Mariah Carey f. Jermaine Dupri x Lil Bow Wow, “All I Want for Christmas Is You (So So Def Remix) – The world obviously loves this song, but it is a travesty that the version topping the charts every season is not the far superior So So Def Remix, a gossamer rendition from producer Jermaine Dupri’s rhythm & quad glory days. You’ll never hear the regular version of this song again without missing bass and a talkbox! —JES

Little yes-er boy: Lindstrøm, “Little Drummer Boy” – Some may say that 42 minutes of “Little Drummer Boy” is far too much; I think it’s not enough—at least, not when it’s this dynamic suite by Norwegian electronic producer Hans-Peter Lindstrøm (best known for his space disco journeys). This sounds to me what a bunch of cheap wind-up toys in front of reams of garland look like: a perfectly ersatz meditation on nostalgia. Since its 2009 release, I have revisited it every year, and every year I love it just as much as the year before—all 42 minutes of it. (There are much shorter edits, if you need ‘em.) —Rich Juzwiak

Reindeer, presents, happiness…oh, and YES: TLC, “Sleigh Ride” – Another of my perennial go-tos, this is one of the most perfect examples of the conversion of a Christmas classic to completely match the aesthetic of a then-contemporary outfit (this came out in 1992, during TLC’s premiere era, when the group wore condoms and its rough-around-the-edges attitude proudly). That the group and producer team Organized Noize could smoothe out and make knock a song that had previously ring-a-ling-a-ding-dong-ding-ed its way into pop radio listeners’ hearts was nothing short of a Christmas miracle. —RJ

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