When people think of December songs, they think mostly about Christmas music. But there are a number of memorable pop and rock songs that refer to the month as well. With apologies to artists like Regina Spektor, Norah Jones and David Gray, whose songs failed to make this countdown, here’s a list of the best December songs, counted down from seven to one.
(If you really are looking for Christmas music, check out The Best Christmas Pop Songs of All-Time.)
Best December Songs #7: Remember December by Demi Lovato
Disney actress Demi Lovato doesn’t have much in the way of musical cred, but her 2009 single “Remember December” is a guilty pop pleasure, fusing keyboards with guitars in a catchy electro-pop formula that recalls Metro Station. The song from the album Here We Go Again reached #38 on the Billboard dance chart.
Best December Songs #6: December by Weezer
Maladroit might have been Weezer’s least-impressive album (at least until 2010’s Hurley), but it contains an overlooked song in “December,” one of Rivers Cuomo’s most simple compositions in terms of lyrics. Cuomo repeats the refrain “only love” while the rest of the band coos background vocals.
Best December Songs #5: December by Basia Bulat
Canadian folkie Basia Bulat is an artist who deserves a lot more attention. Her beautiful song “December” appears on her 2007 debut Oh, My Darling, which earned a nomination for the Polaris Prize, awarded to the best album by a new Canadian artist each year. Bulat’s song features violin and piano complementing her trademark autoharp.
Best December Songs #4: My December by Linkin Park
“This is my December / These are my snow-covered dreams,” sings Chester Bennington on this delicate track feels like it’s going to explode with guitars at any moment, but it never happens. “My December” was recorded in the early 2000s around the same time as Linkin Park’s rock-rap breakout album Hybrid Theory but did not appear on the album; instead it was released as the B-side of the “One Step Closer” single.
Best December Songs #3: December by Collective Soul
Georgia rock band Collective Soul recorded a string of hits in the 1990s, including “Shine,” “The World I Know” and “December,” the grungy song with the chorus, “Don’t scream about / Don’t think aloud / Turn your head, now baby just spit me out.” The track earned Collective Soul their second chart-topper on the Mainstream Rock tally.
Best December Songs #2: A Long December by Counting Crows
Penned by Counting Crows frontman Adam Duritz, “A Long December” is a ballad with a depressing theme but a few optimistic lyrics sprinkled throughout. “There’s reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last,” sings Duritz, who sounds like he’s offering his thoughts from the stool of a lonely bar. Ultimately, Duritz concludes, “It’s been so long since I’ve seen the ocean… I guess I should.” The song’s music video stars Duritz’s one-time flame, actress Courteney Cox.
Best December Songs #1: December 1963 (Oh, What a Night!) by Four Seasons
Interestingly, the classic disco hit “December 1963” was originally called “December 1933” and was written about the repeal of prohibition. Thankfully, the lyrics were changed to describe a nostalgic look back at a romantic encounter. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons took the song to #1 in 1976, and a remixed and updated dance version of the song charted again in 1993. It’s the one true classic among all the December songs.