The arrival of a sleighful of new music on the Internet over the Christmas holiday has, over the last few years, come to feel like an annual tradition. Whatever the reason, some of this year's haul, like LCD Soundsystem's sad-sack holiday reunion song, is Christmas-related while some of it, like Radiohead's dramatic, string-laden would-be theme for the latest James Bond movie, is just a nice surprise.
Either way, somewhere among this batch of songs you'll find the appropriate soundtrack to your Christmas, whether you're still in stocking feet and cap clutching a cup of coffee while children turn carefully wrapped presents into a cloud of colorful confetti, already in the kitchen making mince pies or roasted goose, sitting at home nursing a broken heart and recovering from last night's festivities or pondering the inevitability of death as the year nears its end while manning a desk on an otherwise empty floor of your cavernous office building (thanks, Radiohead!). In any case, here's a roundup of new songs to keep your earbuds (and your heart) warm:
Thom Yorke posted Radiohead's new song via Twitter along with the following message:
Last year we were asked to write a theme tune for the Bond movie Spectre. Yes we were. It didn't work out, but became something of our own, which we love very much. As the year closes we thought you might like to hear it. Merry Christmas. May the force be with you.
LCD Soundsystem, "Christmas Will Break Your Heart"
James Murphy, the former LCD frontman, posted this on Twitter and Facebook:
so, there's been this depressing christmas song i'd been singing to myself for the past 8 years, and every year i wouldn't remember that i wanted to make it until december, which is just too late to actually record and release a christmas song... but this year, al doyle had a short break between hot chip tours where he could be in nyc, and pat and nancy were home, and tyler agreed to fly out from berlin for a few days, so we all recorded this together, reserved a pressing plant slot, and our friend bob weston was available to master it quickly—so that means, less than 2 weeks after we recorded it, there is actually a christmas 7", which feels like something that could only have happened a very, very long time ago.
anyway, for the holidays we give you the previous, very long run-on sentence, and this song: "christmas will break your heart", which is another one of those songs which had about 75 lines of lyrics, though we've knocked down to 8 to keep the suicide rate in check.
Future Islands, "Last Christmas"
The Baltimore trio adds its trademark wounded masculinity to this cover Wham!'s holiday classic.
Will Butler, "City On A Hill" (contains profanity)
The Arcade Fire member's solo Christmas offering is shot through with fear, guilt, righteous anger and lyrics that weave together privilege, terrorist attacks and the worldwide refugee crisis.
Sadie Dupuis, "Krampus (In Love)" (demo)
Not exactly holiday themed — Christmas is more like the discordant backdrop to all the messed up stuff that goes on in the normal life of the Speedy Ortiz singer. Kinda like Die Hard.
Grimes, "Fifteen Minutes To"
Not a Christmas song, and not a new song either — Claire Boucher wrote on Tumblr that this was "probably pre halfaxa," referring to Grimes' 2010 album.
Green Day, "Xmas Time Of The Year"
Totally straight-ahead Christmas song on the "well-behaved, itchy sweater-wearing" end of Green Day's "heartfelt-to-bratty" emotional spectrum.
The Weeknd "Low Life (feat. Future)" and "Pass Dat (The Weeknd remix) feat. Jeremih)" (both songs contain profanity)
Overnight, 2015's reigning king of R&B/pop crossover posted two songs on Soundcloud. One is a new song featuring the narcotized rapper Future. The other is a remix of a song from the R&B singer Jeremih's recent album, Late Nights.
Miley Cyrus, "My Sad Christmas Song" (contains profanity)
Kind of a like the B-side to LCD Soundsystem's anthem for a broken-hearted Christmas, Miley's "Sad Christmas Song" was recorded with The Flaming Lips, who backed her recent album, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz.
Lauryn Hill, "A Cradle in Bethlehem"
Ms. Hill dropped this burbling, restrained, choir-backed take on a song previously performed by Nat "King" Cole and Vince Gill around noon on Christmas Day.