The return of our favourite festive tracks is often one of the best parts of the holiday season, but even the best of us can acknowledge these tracks can get a little stale after a while. This year at The Edge we’ve been committed to updating your Christmas playlist, with our takes on some alternative Christmas tunes coming thick and fast throughout the Advent Calendar month. Here, I’m going to take a different route – or two.
I’m taking you on a whistle-stop tour of my favourite festive mashups, tracks which seamlessly blend multiple Christmas classics to make something entirely new. Puntastic and often as funny as they are festive, hopefully even the Grinches among us can find something to warm their hearts.
Winter Wonderland/Here Comes Santa Claus – Snoop Dogg & Anna Kendrick
Here’s what got me thinking in the first place – this scene, taken from this summer’s favourite song-packed sequel, Pitch Perfect 2. While trying to conquer the World Championships of Acapella, Anna Kendrick’s Beca is also trying to set the ball rolling on her future by interning at a record label. Desperate to impress her boss, who is struggling to bring anything exciting to Snoop Dogg’s Christmas album, she quickly improvises an awesome mashup.
Though I do have difficulty imagining a world where a Snoop Christmas album would be anything less than outstanding, the mixture itself is fresh but festive. Kendrick layers ‘Here Comes Santa Claus’ acapella – with a little electronic, dubstep-y twist – over Snoop’s ‘Winter Wonderland’. The scene should have been at least twice as long, since it’s easily the highlight of the whole film; taking itself just seriously enough to be hilarious, while also being self-deprecatingly corny. It even made the official soundtrack for the film – maybe add it to your Christmas list!
Party Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee & LMFAO
Honestly, three seconds into this one and I loose it. Something about the concept is just so plain funny to me, plus the music video is a work of art. Scenes of little Kevin running excitedly around his empty house interspersed with LMFAO breakdancing in the streets. The moment where his mouth almost seems to move to the energetic party proclamation, ‘Let’s go!’ has me howling.
Objectively, this song truly is a pretty solid mashup – there is excellent matching of rhythm, barely a change in the BPM. There’s a nice even blend of both tracks, so whichever one you prefer you can enjoy, while laughing it up at the other. It even comes complete with punny title. What more could you need, to change up your Christmas?
The Sugar Dub Fairy – Sleigh Bells, M.I.A. & Tchaikovsky
Suited to your holiday house party, this track layers trance from Sleigh Bell’s ‘Run The Heart’ and dubstep from M.I.A.’s ‘Steppin’ Up’ on top of ‘Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy’, the most recognisable movement from Tchaikovsky’s winter ballet The Nutcracker.
There are other elements in there, too, which make this the musical equivalent of a heady cocktail. The Sleigh Bells’ vocals might be a little too much at times due to the addition of vibes from the track’s Bassnecter remix, but the introduction of baseline from The Ramones’ ‘Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want To Fight Tonight)’ is subtle enough to get a pass from me.
All I Want For Christmas Is Last Christmas – Marc LePage
For something a little more relaxed, this beautiful instrumental is a seamlessly composed arrangement between two modern Christmas classics. Interweaving different instruments for a rich sound, the rhytmns of the tracks we know so well are there to hear so clearly that is sounds effortlessly festive; without there being a jingling bell or twinkle of chimes in sight. The two choices – which, again, add for a wonderfully witty title – come together sounding more like an entirely new track than a mashup of something else. Fans of Pentatonix’s takes on Christmas classics might find themselves predisposed to something a little like this. Entirely original, this track could be the background to a moment of peace in a hectic holiday season.
Rudolph (You Don’t Have To Put On The Red Light)
One final track, and with it one final pun (truly, they are the best part of the modern mashup). This one is more than just a pun, though; it’s a full scale commitment to a joke about a red nosed reindeer, complete with a dramatic music video that truly pulls the viewer in to a tale of betrayal and exploitation. Hardly in the spirit of Christmas, I know, but Rudolph’s friends weren’t exactly kind to him before they found out they could use his disability for material gain.
The cinematic music video flawlessly uses clips from the beloved 1964 stop motion Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer, from which the main vocals are borrowed too. But they are set against the melody from The Police’s ‘Roxanne’, the story of Parisian prostitutes which was featured in the movie musical film Moulin Rouge. Come on – that’s pretty clever. The Police feature ever more heavily as the tempo picks up. Santa demands Rudolph uses his nose so bright to light the sleigh’s way, while Sting, elves and snowmen implore him not to. It’s honestly hugely engrossing, and so well done – wether it makes it onto your new Christmas playlist or not, it’s truly one of the best mashups I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in a long time.
To quote the creator – “putting the ‘Ho’ back in Ho Ho Ho”.