REPORT

Which version of All I Want For Christmas Is You is the best?

By Milo Yiannopoulos

It’s the quintessential feel-good Christmas song, sitting atop the charts year after year. But with so many different versions to choose from, how do you know which one to put in your Christmas playlist? We feel your pain, so we asked our Editor-in-Chief, who describes himself as “an ardent lamb”, to rank the major studio versions of the song in terms of festiveness and provide some brief expert commentary.

Original version (1994)

FESTIVENESS INDEX: ❄❄❄❄

What can be meaningfully said? This is the standard against which not just the other items on this list but all other Christmas anthems are judged.

Tell you what, just hit play and enjoy, and we’ll see you in four minutes.

So So Def remix (2000)

FESTIVENESS INDEX: ❄❄

For those among you in search of an urban yuletide, there’s some fun to be had with the So So Def remix, but one thing you can’t credit it with is festiveness. It’s too stripped back and the backing vocals sound unfinished. It does get points for the cute animated video and you no Mariah fanatic should be without the vocals from 2.30 and through the climax, which recall her vocal style on 1999’s Rainbow: lots of lovely upper register runs and delicate squeals.

But, let’s face it, for a truly ghetto-tastic Christmas you needn’t look much beyond Destiny’s Child’s 8 Days of Christmas.

The Olivia Olson cover (2003)

FESTIVENESS INDEX: ❄

As execrable as the cloying movie from which it originates, this naff ‘oh look it’s a cute kid singing a Christmas song’ appeal to the heartstrings left this reviewer cold, and it’s no better ten years on. Soulless and insipid.

You can summarise this performance as: “Bitch, if you ain’t got the pipes, back the fuck away.”

The My Chemical Romance cover (2005)

FESTIVENESS INDEX: ❄❄❄

A sensation when it was first released in 2005, this heavy metal version of the anthem has endured surprisingly well. Initial tenderness gives way to some unexpectedly upbeat, percussive guitar work. Gerard Way’s yowling reveal fresh nuances hidden in the lyrics and recall a bleaker, more Dickensian vision of Christmas than the usual uncompromising cheerfulness of the song.

Oddly compelling, this treatment deserves attention and the could only really be improved by the presence of Marilyn Manson, whose vocal style Way sometimes recalls. One for the grandkids.

‘Mariah’s New Dance Mix’ (2009)

FESTIVENESS INDEX: ❄❄

Unforgivably overlooked? Well, not really. Official dance remixes of Mariah’s best tracks are rarely bassy or edgy enough (do Americans really dance to that shit?) and this one, too, falls flat.

But if you want to turn up the tempo instead of your temper at Christmas, you could do worse than grabbing your granny and bopping around the living room to this. Points for wild abandon.

Extra Festive Edition (2010)

FESTIVENESS INDEX: ❄❄❄❄❄

The only version of the song to achieve a full five snowflakes in our Festiveness Index, Mariah’s own Extra Festive Edition does exactly what it says on the tin. Released to lukewarm critical reception and rarely played these days, the extra backing vocals and orgasmically fabulous new intro, together with the stronger beat, represent a subtle but significant improvement on the original song.

The real war in this list is between the 1994 version’s ethereal simplicity and this edition’s lush and more aggressively rhythmic soundscape. Well, my money’s on the Extra Festive. The new vocals are great, the orchestral intro is literally the spirit of Christmas and the stronger beat works wonders.

Turns out you can improve on perfection.

The Glee cast version (2010)

FESTIVENESS INDEX: ❄

The technical term in the musical industry for covers like this would be a “fucking abortion”. Enough said.

The Michael Bublé cover (2010)

FESTIVENESS INDEX:

It’s a mystery to me how anyone can bear to listen to the drab, anaemic sounds that come out of Michael Bublé’s mouth. But perhaps chief among all his musical offences is this cover, which manages to take one of the most joyful and exuberant records of modern times and transmogrify it into a snoozefest I hope never to hear again in my lifetime. It’ll have you reaching for a razor blade faster than you can say “Sheryl Crow”.

Play this record at Christmas only if you hate your family and want them to die.

SuperFestive! Edition, ft. Justin Bieber (2011)

FESTIVENESS INDEX: ❄

It’s not done to speak of this unholy misnomer in Mariah-loving circles, but for the sake of completeness we are including this aural abomination. Aside from the hilariously whiny, metallic sound of Bieber’s accompaniment, which had to be digitally pitch-shifted because the internet’s favourite diminutive Canadian lesbian couldn’t hit the high notes, there is nothing to redeem this fetid misery of a duet – not even the video, which is bordering on the obscene, given the age difference between the two stars.

Needless to say, this track appeared on Bieber’s album, not Mimi’s. And as divine as Mariah looks and despite the mildly redemptive final 45 seconds, which has some pretty cute vocal layering, you can’t, in good conscience, inflict this record on your loved ones at Christmas.