All posts tagged: lot of holiday music

The Dark Side of Christmas Music

The Dark Side of Christmas Music

This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here. The season of Christmas music––of Mariah Carey blasting in malls, carolers gracing street corners, and children singing about Rudolph—has once again arrived. Fans of festive cheer are rejoicing, and haters are rolling their eyes. I spoke with my colleague Spencer Kornhaber, who covers music for The Atlantic, about what makes holiday music sound distinct, how the genre relies on nostalgia, and why sleigh-bell-sprinkled tunes can be so polarizing. First, here are three new stories from The Atlantic: “It’s Nice Wallpaper” Lora Kelley: What makes a holiday song a holiday song? Spencer Kornhaber: A lot of holiday music is harmonically rather dark. But instrumentally and in the performances, it’s bright and cheerful. Minor chords paired with sleigh bells and a happy choir is a classic combination that unites many holiday songs across eras. Certain piano tones and lyrical topics—of festivity …