'Tis the season for cozying up, binging cheesy rom-coms, and listening to holiday music on loop (seriously, Christmas songs are unavoidable this time of year). While most artists put their unique spin on the jolly classics, few disrupt the holiday vibe with memorable original tracks of their own. But Tiffany Young, holiday enthusiast, isn't afraid to take a risk.
On Friday (November 30), the pop star dropped her "sweet and cool" new holiday single, "Peppermint." The sultry song is a strong showcase for Young's velvety vocals as she coos, "You've been waiting to unwrap me / In your arms is where I'm happy."
But "Peppermint" is more than a display of Young's sweet-and-sensual musicality and flirtatious wordplay; it's a gift for her fans. "I just wanted to give all of that love back."
"It's definitely inspired by my love of staying in, snuggling up by the fireside, and wearing pajamas all day," Young said of the "naughty and nice" track, which she also co-wrote. "Christmas, for me, was more special when it was celebrated staying in with a loved one, or loved ones, relaxing and listening to music."
Young's love of holiday music is no secret — this year, she started listening to Christmas music in September — so MTV News asked the "Teach You" singer to break down the essential tracks on her Christmas playlist.
Mariah Carey, "All I Want For Christmas Is You"
"It's just timeless. It's one of my favorite songs to listen to even when it's not Christmas. I remember being young when I first heard it, and my sister was always playing it. It's a song that I performed when I was in Korea. It's just always been very special to me. It reminds me of family and my bandmates, being on stage with them. It's so sweet, and it just gets you in your feels."
Wham!, "Last Christmas"
"I'm huge George Michael fan, and that version is a classic. I get festive pretty early, and that's the first song on for me. I remember shooting my December cover in September, and I was listening to that on set. 'George Michael' is all I need to say."
Babyface, "White Christmas"
"Actually, the whole Christmas with Babyface album is going on my playlist. I love that album. The way he arranged all of these classic songs — it's smooth, it's sexy, it's cool, and it's all the things I love. I like listening to full albums during the holidays. I play one every other hour."
Judy Garland, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
"It's so classic. It brings all of these colors and memories to my mind. It makes me think of visiting Santa when I was younger. That version is always nostalgic. I was listening to it earlier! And Judy Garland's version is my favorite."
Frank Sinatra, "Jingle Bells"
"It was 2014, and I was on tour getting Christmas songs ready, and I was listening to a lot of Frank Sinatra. I always left this song on while I was stretching, which is weird! I just played this one all the time on tour. I really love the classics. When you listen to these songs, it brings you back, but it also inspires new ideas and ways you want to sing it. It makes you want to create more. That's what I love about this song; it inspires me."
Michael Bublé, "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas"
"I love this sound and arrangement. It was put together so well, and it's something that I would like to try. It reminds me of walking in the snow. I remember listening to this one a lot on tour as well. His tone and delivery — and that style of singing — is always going to be timeless."
("My bandmates loved my Christmas playlists," Young added.)
*NSYNC, "Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays"
"This just reminds me of being a teenager and having crushes. I remember holding onto that CD — I listened to it non-stop. I would listen to the radio just for the chance of hearing this song. It reminds me of my life before I went to Korea. I still remember the cover!"
The Jackson 5, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus"
"That song was always on when I was a kid. I would unwrap presents to that song. It reminds me of my grandpa and Christmas morning and eggnog. It brings me back to this sense of childhood innocence. I thank my mom for giving me her music taste. She would always play this album."
Tiffany Young, "Peppermint"
"It's very current and now and me. I wanted it to be a gift to my fans and everyone who wants to enjoy snuggling in and listening to a sweet-and-cool type of song. The songwriting process started off with me throwing out any winter-related words possible, and it snowballed into 'Peppermint.' I wanted it to be more laid-back and relaxed compared to all of the other productions that I've done. I really focused on the tone of my voice, and I put in some Korean so that all of my fans could feel connected."