In very technical terms, the Christmas season doesn’t begin until this Sunday, December 6, because it marks the first day of Advent on the Christian calendar. But the lights are already hung, the trees are going up and the sales are already in full swing, which means that we are in the thick of Christmas already. It’s a time of togetherness, a time of giving, a time of sharing and healing, but it’s also a time of some truly terrible songs. No other holiday invites so much truly awful music into existence. All Christmas carols are shrill and boring, and there are only a handful of Christmas-related pop songs that don’t make everybody want to stab hot pokers into their ears. The few exceptions are as follows: The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York” (perhaps the best Christmas song ever written), the Flaming Lips’ “Christmas at the Zoo” (because it contains the lyric “The snakes and seals could all get out/ But they refused to leave”) and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas is You,” which just got re-released in remix form on iTunes.
The original version of “All I Want for Christmas is You” is a majestic anthem full of chimes, sleigh bells, doo-wop flourishes, sweeping strings and one of the most dynamic and clean vocal performances of Carey’s career. The remix doesn’t do much to improve on the song (it’s difficult to improve on perfection, after all), but it does dress up the song in a disco thump that should make your office Christmas party 28 percent funkier than it was last year.
Carey holds a lot of records (she has more #1 singles than any other solo artist in history and is the only artist to have seen her first five singles top the chart), but the fact that she is responsible for such a charming, catchy and listenable Christmas song should secure her place in the pop star hall of fame.