It’s a scientific fact that the only two truly great Christmas songs written in the last thirty years are Mariah Carey‘s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and Wham!‘s “Last Christmas.” (Disagree with us? Sorry, it’s science.) But while the sad reality is that every cover of Caraewey’s Yuletide standard pales in comparison to the original (you can’t outdo perfection), George Michael and the other dude’s track has been gamely covered by a laundry list of artists who have given Wham! a run for their money.
We were reminded of this earlier today while listening to The xx‘s dreamy, spare cover of the song — so in honor of their rendition (and the upcoming holiday, of course), here are a few other versions of “Last Christmas” that are pretty great.
Taylor Swift: In those pre-Haylor days of yore, Swift’s light and lovely Holiday Collection EP showed off the singer-songwriter’s pop-country stylings with original tunes like the heartbreaking “Christmases When You Were Mine” — but Swift’s cover of “Last Christmas” is one of the definite highlights. Her rendition is upbeat but still a little bitter, the way she does so well.
Hilary Duff: The great Hilegend’s seminal 2002 holiday LP Santa Claus Lane isn’t just a masterpiece because of original tunes like “I Heard Santa On The Radio” (featuring Christina Milian, natch) and the Lil Romeo-assisted “Tell Me A Story,” but for her covers of classics, too — and despite her flimsy vocals and the featherweight production, it’s a sparkly addition to the teen pop Christmas canon.
Erlend Øye: Norwegian singer-songwriter Erlend Øye (which is as pedestrian a name as “John Smith” in Oslo, we’re told) was known to Americans as one-half of the rather twee alt-pop duo Kings Of Convenience, but his solo work is at the dancier end of the spectrum. But he strips it way back for his gloomy take on “Last Christmas,” just him and a guitar. It effortlessly reveals the sadness in the song’s DNA, as dark as a Scandinavian night.
Florence & The Machine: Like The xx, Florence Welch stopped by BBC Radio 1′s Live Lounge to turn out her version of the tune — but while The xx’s version stripped the song down to melancholy resentment, Welch is all frustrated longing in her emotive vocal performance. C’mon, y’all — give us a studio version.
Jimmy Eat World: If you thought the power pop bros were too cool for a little Wham!, think again — they recorded their own version of “Last Christmas” for The OC‘s Chrismukkah compilation back in 2004. It’s a standout on that likable set of indie-leaning tracks, and amidst all the covers it’s a good one, too, peppy and propulsive in all the right ways.