Must-Hear Music Holiday Podcast: Pentatonix, Idina Menzel, Ariana Grande & More

The Pentatonix
Tiffany Rose/Getty Images for Caruso Affiliated

Avi Kaplan, Kristie Maldonado, Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi and Kevin Olusola of Pentatonix perform at The Grove's 12th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Spectacular Presented By Citi at The Grove on November 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  

Last week on the Must-Hear Music podcast, Billboard staffers shared their personal favorite albums of the year, from D'Angelo's Black Messiah to Nicki Minaj's The Pinkprint to Mapei's Hey Hey.

This week, it's all about that Xmas. And (sort of) like Dickens before us, we're talking about songs of Christmas past and present (sorry, future -- nothing personal).

Joe Lynch, Jason Lipshutz, Erin Strecker and Denise Warner each share one holiday favorite released this year and one underrated gem from past years. New classics include tracks from Pentatonix, Idina Menzel/Michael Buble, Ariana Grande and Los Campesinos, while (slightly) older faves include Prince, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Sufjan Stevens.

Download the podcast on iTunes or listen to it below. And beneath the SoundCloud, check out highlights from our Christmas chat.

Ariana Grande, "Santa Tell Me"

Erin: The Mariah Carey comparisons have never been more apt. She's flirting with Santa, and it's fun to put on and dance to it around your apartment. Not that I've ever done that.

Denise: Gawker's headline on this was something like "Ariana Grande's New Song Is About Fucking Santa." It's even weirder when you watch the lyric video, which has a bunch of her baby photos.

Erin: With most Christmas songs, it's best not to think too much about the lyrics.

Idina Menzel & Michael Buble, "Baby It's Cold Outside"

Denise: This is the rapey-est holiday song, but I love, love, love Michael Buble. His Christmas album is one of the good ones, although this is off Idina's new holiday album. It's great, even if a little creepy.

Erin: If you like big, brassy vocals, you have to check out her album Holiday Wishes. This version is far superior, at the very least, to the John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John cover from a few years ago.

Pentatonix, "That's Christmas To Me"

Jason: Going into this season, you thought Idina Menzel would have the biggest holiday album, no-brainer. But Pentatonix comes out with this album, and it's the hugest thing. It looks like it's going to chart higher than the debut week of Nicki Minaj's new album.

Joe: I don't really dig a cappella, so I'm surprised how great this song is.

Joe: This is a cover of a sad Christmas ballad from the '70s glam rock band Mud. Welsh indie rockers Los Campesinos put an indie-electronic spin on it, and I'm just a sucker for depressing Christmas tunes.

For our take on Christmas classics like Prince's heart-wrenching "Another Lonely Christmas," Sufjan Stevens' "The Midnight Clear," Britney Spears' "My Only Wish (This Year)," and Justin Bieber's bizarre Busta Rhymes collabo "Drummer Boy," listen to the full podcast above or on iTunes. And happy holidays!

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