Christmas is coming ever nearer, and the undisputed best part of the holiday season (besides family time, presents and tons of pie) is the music. Holiday songs have been filling people's minds and hearts for hundreds of years, and have become more than a tradition.
From "The Christmas Song" to "O Holy Night" to "The Little Drummer Boy," classic Christmas carols have become a major part of the holiday season and worked their ways into family life and popular culture. Thus, old Christmas favorites, which have some of the warmest spots in our hearts, get constant reimaginings and covers from all of music's major players.
But what versions of all the Christmas songs are the best? We here at Music Times are determined to find out. And, as a part of the 12 days of Christmas, we'll be counting down the days (and the best Christmas songs).
Of course, Christmas is not just about spending time with family and exchanging gifts. It's also the holiest night of the year in the Christian religion, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. That night, December 24, is right around the corner. So, a Christmas music countdown would not be complete without a classic, religious song.
"O Holy Night" is one of the oldest Christmas carols, originally penned by French songwriter Adolphe Adam in 1847, based on a French poem. The song has since been altered, and today's best known version was written by minister John Sullivan Dwight. Full of huge vocal swells and big musical moments, every rendition of the song is special. But whose comes out on top?
With only a few days remaining until Christmas, here are the three best versions of "O Holy Night."
3. Susan Boyle
A proper cover of "O Holy Night" requires a huge amount of vocal control and the ability to soar to unknown heights with one's voice. X Factor competitor and musical sensation Susan Boyle has one of the most angelic voices in modern music, so it's no wonder that her "O Holy Night" from her holiday album The Wish absolutely sparkles. While the other two songs on this list contain a bit more power, the true strength of Boyle's song is her restraint. She keeps the song soft throughout nearly the whole four minutes, though she does gain volume near the end, when it's most appropriate. And of course, it's completely brilliant.
2. Celine Dion
If you're looking for unbridled passion and total power in your female version of "O Holy Night," look no further than Celion Dion's cover. The Canadian songstress starts off softly and adds in small crescendos when appropriate throughout the first two choruses. The final minute or so of this song is where the song really picks up. Seriously, she just blasts through the final "Noel," all while maintaining an insane amount of control. The result is fully beautiful.
1. Josh Groban
Josh Groban was just made to belt out Christmas songs such as "O Holy Night," and the singer's live version of the song is unmatched in both beauty and power. There's little else to say about this song: it really just needs to be heard for itself.