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"All I Want for Christmas Is You" Is Still the Biggest, Best Holiday Song

A study by 'The Economist' says that Mariah Carey's classic rules Christmas streaming. It never left our hearts.

A recent study by The Economist examines factors that affect the streaming of Christmas songs, but casually shares the revelation that Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" has been streamed the most out of all holiday songs, amassing 210 million plays on Spotify alone. The study also says that it's responsible for about $60 million in royalties for Carey, which means she's definitely still receiving some respectable cheques to this day, but did that really surprise you? Its lasting popularity another reason as to why the song might be the greatest Christmas song ever written.


This seems like a heated argument, but it's not. If "All I Want" isn't the best Christmas song, then what is? It's not "Last Christmas" (RIP George Michael, though) and it's definitely not "Wonderful Christmastime" (too much delay on the keys, Paul). You could make a case for Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite as the GOAT of the holiday season but that's not exactly fair because romantic classical does more than any other genre of music and is thusly the best, IMO. The clearest argument is for "All I Want for Christmas Is You," which is still the most recent holiday classic to date.

Yes, Mariah obviously goes off and yes, its spirit is infectious, but the chords are the reason it rules. Diminished chords are the key to emotional success in music through their dissonant, unresolved quality, and "All I Want" uses a truckload of them in its chorus. You feel not just holiday cheer in your soul, but holiday sadness, holiday yearning, and the little-known feeling of holiday strife. Mainly holiday cheer, though. Add some nice C-minor chords in there and maybe that emotional complexity is why the song is still the most streamed in its field. "All I Want" is definitely infuriating in its ubiquitousness, but you unconsciously love it. You know you do. You can read the rest of The Economist's study here.

Phil is on Twitter.