Songs, songs and more songs #80: Christmas singles 2022 – Salem Ilese, Rachael & Vilray, Sigrid, Ingrid Michaelson & A Great Big World + Chord Overstreet

(via Shutterstock)

It’s almost Christmas people – like just two days to go woohoo! – and so, it seems fitting to end this year’s selection of songs I love with a selection of festive singles by artists who may not have an album but who have declared their love of the season in one perfectly festive song.

Ranging form enthusiastically upbeat to intimately heartfelt, all five songs are alive with vivacity, hope, joy, love and a thousand other wonderful hallmarks of the season, sung by artists who have clearly poured their heart and soul into these songs.

Not everyone loves Christmas music true but there’s some much truth about the human condition in these tracks that festive trappings aside, you’d have to hope that the emotional truthfulness cuts through and the songs connect with everyone who really needs to hear them.

Have a musical Christmas everyone!

“Secret Santa” by Salem Ilese

(courtesy official Salem Ilese Facebook page)

An American singer-songwriter, Salem Ilese has been honing her musical craft since the age of 10, a steady process of creative progress for the Californian which has seen her work with Bonnie Hayes, songwriter for Bonnie Raitt and Cher and also attend the Berklee School of Music. With her songs recorded by a host of artists like Demi Lovato, Jamie Millar, Mia Rodriguez and Bella Poarch, and naturally by herself, Ilese has now turned her obviously talented hand to Christmas music with the release of her festive single, “Secret Santa”. It’s bright, breezy and playful, exactly the kind of ’50s retro-influenced fun Christmas track that the season is calling for, especially three very hard pandemic years. Absolutely up to the minute with its references to crypto and a Fortnite battlepass, and yet full of good old-fashioned festive musicality and romaniticism, “Secret Santa” is a heartwarming glow of a Christmas track that makes the season even more delightful than it already is.

“Just Me This Year” by Rachael & Vilray

(courtesy official Rachael & Vilray Facebook page)

Composed of Lake Street Diva singer Rachael Price and Brooklyn guitarist/vocalist Vilray Blair Bolles, Rachael & Vilray are, in the words of their bio, “an intimate duo who sing a mix of jazz and traditional pop standards from the ’30s and ’40s, as well as original songs in the jazz and Tin Pan Alley style.” It’s an evocative style that suits Christmas music to a tee, evidenced in the playfully upbeat “Just Me This Year” which feels happily like it’s being delivered in a cosy club somewhere, right near Christmas with snow falling down just outside and everything contentedly wonderful about the season distilled into one perfectly romantic seasonal moment.

“Home to You (This Christmas)” by Sigrid

(courtesy YouTube (c) Sigrid)

Hailing from Norway, Sigrid is a singer-songwriter who possesses an emotive voice that perfectly capture the feeling of any song she’s singing. That’s beautifully on show in “Home to You (This Christmas)”, a stunningly lovely 2021 track which, filmed at St Pancras station in London, captures how much we need a place to go home to, somewhere that the love is unconditional, the support unquestioned and the sense of belonging absolute. Accompanied by orchestral strings and piano, the song is one of those emotionally on-point tracks that captures with real clarity and moving truthfulness why going home for Christmas matters so much and how deeply we need it, especially at a time of year when having those we love around us feels more pressing that we can put into words … unless you’re Sigrid, of course, who manages it flawlessly.

“It’s Almost Christmas” by Ingrid Michaelson & A Great Big World

(courtesy Apple)

Another gorgeously intimate festive track, “It’s Almost Christmas” is the wonder of the season in one fantastically emotionally resonant package. With lyrics that refer to “magic in the air” and “I Know it’s there / I still believe it”, the track evokes that sense we all have that this time of the year is something different to normal, that the banal ordinariness of the everyday world is banished in favour of magically lovely possibility. Anchored by the emotive vocals of American singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson and New York duo A Great Big World (Ian Axel and Chad King), “It’s Almost Christmas” is lushly evocative which you can picture as the ending of a quintessentially special Christmas movie when the finale is upon us and we need the music to send us home, content that Christmas is every bit as lovely as envisage it to be.

“Everybody Loves Christmas” by Chord Overstreet

(courtesy official Chord Overstreet Facebook page)

Often referenced as a Glee alum, Tennessee native Chord Overstreet is an actor and singer who’s been on Apple TV+’s series Acapulco since 2021 and who’s come up with one of those gloriously upbeat doowop Christmas tracks that evokes the visual and emotional touchstones of the season. In “Everybody Loves Christmas” – OK they don’t but those of us who are festive fanatics like to think they do and besides going all inclusive feels right lyrically – we head back to the ’50s, the golden age of the Christmas song, and we’re treated to a song that talks about joy in the air, people falling in love, bands playing while people are in sleighs and under the mistletoe, with the kind of joyful alacrity that the season engenders without breaking an eggnog-infused sweat. It’s festive joy in a bouncy pop song, the perfect soundtrack to the new film, Falling For Christmas, starring Chord Overstreet and Lindsay Lohan where, yep, everyone ends up loving Christmas.

Related Post