We Haven't Had a Real Christmas Hit in 19 Years

Chris Klimek blames nostalgia, iTunes
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2013 2:45 PM CST
We Haven't Had a Real Christmas Hit in 19 Years
A holiday release by Mariah Carey, "Merry Christmas II You." Not since her "All I Want for Christmas Is You" have we had a real holiday hit.   (AP Photo/Island def Jam)

It has apparently become impossible to write a new Christmas classic. The holiday canon "isn’t just closed—it’s a location-undisclosed black site that’s locked down tighter than Santa’s workshop," observes Chris Klimek at Slate. The last song that really fits the bill is Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You," and that came out in 1994. It's not for stars' lack of trying: Lady Gaga, for instance, had a Christmas song back in 2008, and Coldplay released one in 2010—but you probably don't remember either one.

Yet much of the Christmas fare that comes out these days amounts to a rehashing of old favorites. Even the new stuff sounds "sort of old": The original songs on new holiday albums by Kelly Clarkson and Leona Lewis are reminiscent of Phil Spector. What gives? Well, "during the nostalgia-drunk holiday season, people crave old songs," Klimek writes. And because people can select individual songs on iTunes and YouTube rather than getting full albums, songwriters aren't likely to make much headway even if they tuck new material in with the old. Click for Klimek's full piece. (Read more Christmas stories.)

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