Yes, it’s that time of year when Christmas music blares through speakers way before it’s appropriate and the lights have to be detangled yet again. There are tons of classic holiday songs to get you in the spirit around this time, but if you grew up in the 90s Christmas meant dusting off those boy band holiday albums. From 98 Degrees to Nsync, just about every boy band had a Christmas tune to offer. Plenty of them are cheesy or down right sappy, but they are sure to put you in a good mood and put the goofiest smile on your face. So here are some boy band holiday jams to decorate the tree and chug some eggnog to.
“Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” – Nsync
It just wouldn’t be Christmas without this insanely catchy single from everyone’s favorite boy band. Sure, it’s a little cheesy (aren’t most xmas songs?) but with the upbeat music, simple hook, and overall good feeling, it puts a big ol’ smile on your face when you hear it. The thing that always gets me is how catchy it is. Few holiday songs manage to be as memorable or as fun as this one, but somehow Nsync pulled it off. “Kiss Me at Midnight” is another great holiday-ish track from the boys, but this will always be one of the best Christmas songs around. Even better, it has the cheesiest video. Horrible green screen, bad dance moves, and a cameo from Gary Coleman. How can all these corny things make something so great?
“Funky, Funky Christmas” – New Kids on the Block
This is a song I only discovered last year and it’s quickly become one of my favorites. Yes, it’s terrible. It may be the one of the worst Christmas songs I’ve ever heard, but something about it makes it likable. Maybe it’s the horrible rapping, the stupid chorus, or the bad singing. Either way it’s so corny and cheesy you can’t help but laugh when you hear it. And strangely enough it puts you in a good mood. Sadly, no video was made for the single, but there is this amazingly bad performance from The Arsenio Hall Show. They sound horrible, the dancing is a joke, and Joey McIntrye, who looks like he’s 13, is shaking his butt. It’s so bad you have to watch it if you want a good laugh.
“Santa Hooked Me Up” – B2K
Just like the popular boy bands before them, B2K released their own Christmas album in 2002. And since I was a massive fan at the time I bought a copy. Yes, it’s just as terrible as it sounds. This opening track finds each of the members rapping about all the “fly” shit they got for Christmas thanks to Santa. With lines like “more carrots than Bugs Bunny” it’s hard to take anything these guys say seriously. Not to mention all of them are pretty weak rappers. And to think this was once one of my favorite Christmas songs, if you can even call it that. It’s more like a list of expensive cars and jewelry with the mindless chorus of “Santa hooked me up this year.” As you will soon see the entire album is pretty bad.
“Endless Christmas” – 3T
Oh man! 3T were so great! Remember their hit song….uh…that one with Michael Jackson? Okay, so 3T were never that popular. The reason anyone is remotely familiar with them is because they’re Michael Jackson’s nephews. But since they’re a boy band, they’re required to have a Christmas song and this is their contribution. It’s pretty boring actually. It’s supposed to be one of those slow, sentimental numbers that talks about the magic and joy the holiday brings. In other words, like every other fucking Christmas song out there. It’s something you would expect to find on one of those lame Christmas compilations (not the Very Special ones. Those rocked!).
“This Gift” – 98 Degrees
98 Degrees were one of those bands that I liked, but never held a special place in my heart like BSB or Nsync. Still, when this song came out in 1999 I went crazy for it. Maybe it’s because when I first heard it on the radio it was snowing outside and the chiming bells in the song seemed appropriate. Either way, I thought it was sweet and a beautiful song. Finally, they did something that wasn’t cheesy and corny! Of course, now I realize the song is incredibly sappy and overly sentimental. Proposing to someone at Christmas? How sickening sweet! It also sounds like a bad idea; you risk ruin Christmas forever if it doesn’t work out. Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no denying this is one of the essential Christmas songs from the 90s.
“Last Christmas” – Human Nature
Thanks to Wham! this is one of the most popular songs that you’re guaranteed to hear until it makes you sick. That also means there have been numerous covers of it, including this one from Human Nature. Yeah, I don’t know who they are either. They’re Australian boy band who has actually toured with notable acts including Michael Jackson and Celine Dion. During this holiday performance they do an acapella version of the song and they actually sound pretty good. Yeah, it’s missing the breathless vocals of George Michael and it’s nowhere near as good as the original, but out of all the shitty covers out there this one is the most tolerable. Good job, boys.
“Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” – The Jackson 5
The Jackson 5 Christmas album is actually strange since the band were Jehovah Witnesses, who don’t celebrate the holiday. But you can’t say no to the sweet cash streaming from teenage girls’ pockets I guess. Since this is one of the more traditional holiday songs just about everyone has covered it, but this has to be the most soulful rendition. Something about the way young Michael Jackson screams “Saaanta Claus is comin’ to town!” is so satisfying. As soon as those drums rev up and Michael hits that first note you know you’re in for a good time. For another Jackson 5 classic, “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” is good pick just to hear Michael utter “I did! I really did see her!”
“What Christmas Means to Me” – Hanson
Yeah, I was a Hanson fan, but never a fanatic, so I never picked up their Christmas album Snowed In. Listening to it now, they actually have some great renditions of holiday songs like “Merry Christmas Baby.” But if you’re looking for something more upbeat and jaunty then this is the perfect song. They don’t do much to change it from the original; they just sound really good while playing especially during this later performance since they’re voices have matured. The original version from their album isn’t so bad either. And just try to resist those catchy “oh-oo-oh-oo-woah’s” they toss in during the chorus.
“Lonely This Christmas” – Blue
The UK has a lot of boy bands that never make it to American shores and this is one of them. Formed back in 2000, this R&B group covered this Mud (yes, that’s the band’s name) holiday song and I guess it’s not terrible. Like most holiday songs that try to mix love and Christmas, it’s pretty sappy but at least the guys sound decent enough. Judging from this performance they had quite a following since the girls can’t stop screaming until they leave the stage.
“Stay Another Day” – East 17
Yet another boy band I’ve never heard of. East 17 were pretty popular over in the UK with this being their biggest hit. Thing about it it though is it’s not really a Christmas song. When you listen to the lyrics it actually sounds like they’re begging a their lover to stay with them. The song was actually written about one of the member’s brother who committed suicide. The marketing team then decides to add in chiming bells at the end to appeal to the holiday market. Profit! There’s even a winter themed video that features the members wearing white fluffy coats while mashed potato buds fall around them. When you think about it, the whole thing is kind of sad. Let’s take this sad song and tweak it to sell for Christmas! Charlie Brown was so right about holiday commercialism.
“It’s Christmas Time Again” – Backstreet Boys
Believe or not, BSB released this song in 2012 and it’s actually pretty damn good. Their five part harmonies are in check, there’s a mindless catchy hook you’ll catch yourself singing, and Nick Carter has his obligatory solo part that makes you swoon. It’s a sweet little tune that talks about the coming of Santa and a couple enjoying the holiday over the years. It’s fun, upbeat, and just puts you in the holiday spirit, which every good Christmas song should do. Who else thinks BSB should put out a Christmas album? Hey, both Hanson and Nsync did it. What are they waiting for?
“All I Want for Christmas Is You” – Big Time Rush
Sometime during the early 2010’s Nickelodeon started giving “bands” their own shows. Remember the Naked Brothers Band? Yeah, I wish I didn’t either. Anyway, Big Time Rush had their own series on Nick and even signed to Nick Records at the same time. And since it’s some sort of unwritten rule that every boy band must contribute at least one holiday song, the Rush guys decided to cover this Mariah Carey classic. Honestly, it’s not too bad. I’ve heard worse covers of the song, like the one Carey did with Justin Bieber. Otherwise, it’s a pretty tame and faithful version of the song. Of course the original is the best, especially since Big Time Rush aren’t that notable when it comes to boy bands.
What’s your favorite holiday song by a boy band? Is there one I missed? Let me know in the comments below!