Cue the Christmas music. What's new from Dolly Parton, Jonas Brothers, Carrie Underwood and more
Tis the season for Christmas music — and lots of it.
Of course we're listening to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" and Brenda Lee's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" on repeat, but what about new tracks for the holiday playlist?
In a year that's been anything but ordinary, some of our favorite musicians have dropped festive tracks to boost our spirits. The Jonas Brothers and Gwen Stefani gave us new songs while Dolly Parton, Carrie Underwood and Meghan Trainor gave us the full-album treatment.
Here are some offerings that'll keep you smiling during this trying holiday season:
Carrie Underwood, 'My Gift'
If you think your neighbors put up their Christmas lights early, they've got nothing on Underwood. The country superstar got an early jump, dropping her first-ever Christmas album on Sept. 25. Among the standouts are the Underwood-John Legend duet of "Hallelujah" and "The Little Drummer Boy," where her son Isaiah makes a vocal appearance.
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Jonas Brothers, 'I Need You Christmas'
The JoBros channeled childhood memories when writing their catchy single "I Need You Christmas." "With having such a crazy year, we all really need something to look forward to... the Holidays is a time that brings us together and is something that brings us joy in the darkest of times," they wrote on Instagram. "For us, this song stirs up memories of childhood snowball fights and finding the nearest hill to sled. It brings us back to spending time with family setting up the Christmas tree."
Dolly Parton, 'A Holly Dolly Christmas'
Parton's third Christmas album, following "Once Upon a Christmas" (1984) and "Home for Christmas" (1990), features guest appearances by Michael Bublé, Billy Ray Cyrus, Miley Cyrus and others. Lead single "Comin' Home for Christmas" was released in 2009, 11 years ago. An hourlong holiday special featuring Parton performing select tracks airs Dec. 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
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Goo Goo Dolls, 'It's Christmas All Over'
The first-ever holiday album from Goo Goo Dolls came together after the group was unable to tour due to the coronavirus pandemic. It primarily features covers, although there are two original tracks. "It's pretty unexpected for us to do this kind of thing," lead singer John Rzeznik told USA TODAY. "But it's fun to embrace it, and people could use a little bit of happiness right now. Pat Monahan from (rock band) Train was like, 'Of course it's cheesy! It's a Christmas record.' And he's absolutely correct: There's no room for trying to be cool at Christmas."
Tori Kelly, 'A Tori Kelly Christmas'
Kelly's first Christmas album includes traditional favorites such as "Silent Night," "O Holy Night" and "Go Tell It on the Mountain" as well as "Let It Snow" featuring Babyface. Kelly also sings two originals: “25th” and “Gift That Keeps On Giving.”
Meghan Trainor, 'A Very Trainor Christmas'
Trainor's first-ever Christmas album features collaborations with Earth, Wind & Fire ("Holidays") and "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane ("White Christmas"), as well as members of her own family (her dad, Gary, joins her on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"). “I’m a Christmas baby (born Dec. 22), it’s always been a dream of mine to release a Christmas album and to do it with my family makes it that much better,” Trainor said in a press release.
Mandy Moore, ‘How Could This Be Christmas?’
Moore is out with a two-track single that features original tune "How Could This Be Christmas?" and her take on a classic, "It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." The singer and her hubby, Taylor Goldsmith, co-wrote "How Could This Be Christmas?" “The holidays are certainly going to feel verifiably different this year and in this vein, I challenged myself to write a song that hinted at the acknowledgment of something missing without being too specific,” Moore said in a statement.
Gwen Stefani, 'Here This Christmas'
Stefani has reissued her fourth studio album, "You Make It Feel Like Christmas," adding a new single, "Here This Christmas." The catchy tune will be getting plenty of airtime in the coming weeks, as it's been picked as the theme song for Hallmark Channel's “Countdown to Christmas.” The network will roll out more than two dozen new holiday flicks this Christmas season.
For King & Country, 'A Drummer Boy Christmas'
The Christian duo from Australia is out with its fourth studio album. In addition to classics such as "Joy to the World," listeners will find a pair of new tracks: "Heavenly Hosts" and "The Carol of Joseph (I Believe In You)." To support "A Drummer Boy Christmas," For King & Country is staging a series of 20 drive-in concerts at venues across the country.
Pentatonix, 'We Need a Little Christmas'
If it's Christmas, it's time for a Pentatonix holiday album. "We Need a Little Christmas" follows 2018's "Christmas Is Here!" and includes a cappella covers of classics such as "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)," "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "12 Days of Christmas."
Lil Nas X, 'Holiday'
Forget about 2020. Lil Nas X heads to the future in the music video for "Holiday," portraying a futuristic Santa Claus working alongside robotic elves in the year 2220. The rapper teased new music was on the way on Twitter earlier this year, joking that the money he made from breakout hit "Old Town Road" was running out.
Mouseketeers, 'Why? Because It’s Christmas'
Cast members from Disney Channel's "All-New Mickey Mouse Club" reunited for this album, which drops on Black Friday. It features fresh takes on familiar favorites including “Jolly Old St. Nicholas,” “The First Noel,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Away in a Manger.” Proceeds will benefit MusiCares and the Brave of Heart Fund, which offers support to families of front-line workers who died battling COVID-19.
Sabrina Claudio, 'Christmas Blues'
The sultry singer-songwriter's "Christmas Blues" features collaborations with The Weeknd, Alicia Keys and Jhené Aiko. Lead single "Warm December" is one of five original tracks. The album also features three holiday classics. Claudio, in a press release, boasts, "This is going to be the biggest Christmas album since Mariah (Carey)." No pressure, right?
Edmund Bagnell, 'Christmas at Home'
The violinist who has worked alongside Patti LuPone and Kristin Chenoweth released his first solo album. Tracks such as “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Everybody’s Waitin’ for the Man with the Bag” and “Feliz Navidad” were selected based upon beloved childhood memories. Because of the pandemic, Bagnell recorded most of the album from home, with friends in Ecuador, Israel and elsewhere around the globe contributing via technology.
Follow Gary Dinges on Twitter @gdinges