It’s that time of year again! Along with all the mayhem comes a new year’s worth of material. So, I’m going to review some the new Christmas-themed music that’s been released in 2010, but in the spirit of the holidays, rather than use the traditional letter-grade system I will judge who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.

“Oh Santa!”, Mariah Carey

It would prove next to impossible to beat Carey’s signature Christmas hit, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, and “Oh Santa!” definitely doesn’t come close to touching her Christmas classic. The latter lacks the warmth and sincerity of the former, but proves to be nearly as infectious. It’s guaranteed to be stuck in your head all day, so might as well give in and enjoy it. Verdict: Nice

“My Only Wish”, Jessica Simpson

Speaking of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, Jessica Simpson shamelessly rips it off on her new holiday original, “My Only Wish”. Simpson, who is credited as one of the song’s co-writers, doesn’t even try to disguise this song as being anything other than a thrid-rate “All I Want For Christmas Is You”. The chorus is actually built along the line: “My only wish for Christmas is you“, sound a tad familiar? I might have been able to forgive this blatant rip off if the song had at least been infectious, but the song also had a lackluster production and an even more lackluster vocal performance from Simpson. I’ll stick with the much better original. Verdict: Naughty

“Christmas Lights”, Coldplay

It’s vintage Coldplay with a Christmas twist! I have a soft spot for Christmas music in general, but I have an even bigger soft spot for sad Christmas music. So like I said, it’s vintage Coldplay with a Christmas twist. Verdict: Nice

“Shake Up Christmas”, Train

These guys really need to disappear for another eight years again. Verdict: Naughty

“It’s Not Christmas Without You”. Katharine McPhee

I really am a sucker for a sad Christmas ballad.  Verdict: Nice

“On This Winter’s Night”, Lady Antebellum

OK enough is enough, there are sad Christmas ballads and there are just dreadful Christmas ballads. “On This Winter’s Night” isn’t the worst new Christmas song of 2010, but it’s probably the most melodramatic. Heck, even the children’s choir in the background sounds bored. Verdict: Naughty

“Wish List”, Neon Trees

This song tries so hard to be Christmasy (I’ve lost count of how many holiday-themed clichés they name-checked) that I can’t help but like it. Plus it has a hooky chorus. Verdict: Nice

“All I Want  For Christmas Is New Year’s Day”, Hurts

Although it was not released outside of Europe, I couldn’t help but include this gem. It comes from a British synthpop duo know as Hurts and is hands down the best Christmas song of 2010. The line: “I’m singing goodbye to the year before/I know that the next one will be different” manages to capture the perfect balance between melancholy and hope. This decades first, of hopefully many, truly great Christmas songs. Verdict: Very Nice