This piece is not an actual article or review, you can consider it a map or a listing for having a fruitful and warm Christmas season and Winter holidays. While having a sandy, stormy, rainy Wednesday morning accompanied by Loreena McKennitt “To Drive the Cold Winter Away”, I decided to remap my Christmas songs listing! Simple! I’m just trying to satisfy those Christmas songs addicts and those who are not! It is a little bit challenging to introduce a beautiful Christmas themed playlist, but it’s harder to set a playlist for those who are not Christmas songs fans. We tried to adapt some non-Christmas songs to follow the general mood of winter, love, gathering, joy, and celebration! I will try to combine different genres including rock, metal, and others, along with both Christmas songs and none Christmas songs. So, let’s start!
PS: Here in Egypt, Christmas is on the 7th of January! So we are celebrating with the whole season (December and January). Have a great time
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – A Boatman’s Call
One minute! Nick Cave!! Yes, Nick Cave! Cave’s “The Boatman’s Call” is a musical gem! It has various levels of warmth dressed in jazzy and classic tunes for those long cold nights! For example, “Here is the Kingdom” is a warm, lively and lovely track. The album could be suitable for drinking a nice cup of coffee during the holidays.
Skillet – Rise
Winter and December in the Middle East usually mean exams, not a vacation like Europe or the USA. So hard rock lovers absolutely need this energy to break the gloomy, muddy streets with rhythmic music. Skillet is a master in engaging mystic themes to modern and energetic music. I chose “Rise” for its various levels of madness and mysticism. You can find those crazy loud hits in “Sick of it,” “and “Circus for a Psycho” or you can find deeply spiritual tracks like “Salvation”, “Fire and Fury” and “Hard to Find”, or revolutionary songs like “Rise” and “Not Gonna Die” or optimistic and love like “Good to be Alive” and “Battlecry”.
Iron Maiden – A Brave New World
Maiden for Christmas? Maiden is for every season! For me, A Brave New World is a dynamic break away from the cold winter. Madness, energy, headbanging, and solidarity of heavy metal are the best tools to kick-start your mind.
Insomnium – Winter’s Gate
Winter speaks about itself! From melodic death metal to pure progressive metal style, interludes from acoustic guitars and keys! Insomnium!
Wintersun – Time I
“Time I” is a shining star in Wintersun’s career. “The Sons of Winter and Stars” bring their white Finnish landscapes into their music, fulfilling your soul through an epic and orchestral melodic death style.
Swallow the Sun – “Songs from the North” (Disc 2)
For me, acoustic tracks are the best way to overcome cold and the blues that come along with it. Through the second disc of “Songs from the North” there are beautiful and fantastic tracks for the season, especially the mention of the Northern Lights and don’t forget to dive into the musical beauty of “Pray for Winds to Come” (The wind is knocking on my windows while writing this lol) and “Songs from the North” that makes you say, “Oh, Mother NORTH”.
40 Watt-Sun – Wider than the Sky
Postrock is also one of the greatest choices for winter, revolving around themes of love and isolation. “Wider than the Sky” is full of musical solidarity and magic! Guitar melodies, the clear presence of acoustic tunes can magnify your emotions.
Empyrium – “Where at Night the Wood Grouse Plays”
A mysterious trip into the darkened rooms of the human’s soul represented in a scary trip into a forgotten forest while the strange Grouse creature is watching your suffering from the top of the oldest tree. It is dressed in a shadow so you may think it’s a part of the tree’s leaves. Folk and acoustic music for diving through “a night of December so DARK and COLD”! (I hope doom metal fans are satisfied now).
Within Temptation- Acoustic Night at the Theater
Sharon’s vocals are suitable for the broken-hearted and for winter. Her acoustic set carries different colours of resistance, warmth, and sorrow. WT fans, don’t worry, “Frozen”, “Memories” and “The Cross” are all honourable mentions.
RE-EXPERIENCE Christmas Music
This is a mini list for people who hate Christmas songs and need to catch the holiday train! But what about RE-EXPERIENCING CHRISTMAS SONGS! Random choices!
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again
Iconic Lynyrd Skynyrd is the best friend for your lovely Christmas time. If you are feeling extra lonely, just pause for a minute and replace your “Lonely This Christmas” with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Christmas Time Again”! A warm classic rock track that defeats this freezing and melancholic mood.
Frank Sinatra – Christmas
Sinatra’s Golden voice and remarkable music portray the nostalgic Christmas songs like “Silent Night” and “Jingle Bells” in a warmer and brighter light.
Fayrouz – Christmas Hymns
Lebanese folk/contemporary music icon, Fayrouz enriches the Arabic music scene with an unforgettable Christmas piece that carries an Arab-ized form of international hymns alongside Arabic chants.
Loreena McKennitt- “A Winter’s Garden: 5 Songs for the Season”
World music icon Loreena McKennitt introduces many Christmas themed releases alongside her mystic-influenced music such as “To Drive the Cold Winter Away” and “Midwinter Night’s Dream”. However, for me, her most unique Christmas release is A Winter’s Garden: Five Songs for the Season. She starts the album with “Coventry Carol” then follows with an impressive oriented polyphonic cover for “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” along with her original track “Snow” that she previously introduced in her album To Drive the Cold Winter Away. Loreena re-released the songs of the EP in her album A Midwinter Night’s Dream alongside other hymns.
We all hope for you a great Christmas and holiday time with your family and friends. Have a great time
Written by: Rana Atef.
Edited by: Shereen G.