Your alternative Christmas playlist

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Columbia Records
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We love Christmas songs as much as the next office, but sometimes it’s good to have a change of pace come the end of the month. The Stylist team has plugged into some of the year’s biggest albums. Consider it a small gift from us to you for any late-minute present inspiration.

Rag’n’Bone Man - Human

Rory Charles Graham is Rag’n’Bone man, the big guy with the even bigger voice. Tipped for stardom by winning the BRITs Critics’ Choice award earlier this year, he fulfilled the promise of title track Human on his debut album. Oh, and that title track? Well, it’s quite simply a timeless slice of gospel-tinged soul which earned the plaudits of the likes of Elton John and pretty much everyone else who heard it. Even on your thousandth listen it retains the ability to speak straight to your soul, as the greatest songs do.

Dave Fawbert, Deputy Online Editor

Harry Styles - Harry Styles

Harry how I love you, let me count the ways… your snappy style, your cheeky smile, your progressive views, your beautiful tunes. Styles’s solo debut is a delightful 2017 surprise. The former One Direction heartthrob is all grown up and his self-titled album might have been written under a California sun in the mid-Seventies (it wasn’t). It’s soft rock done for 2017, balancing bold anthems such as single Sign Of The Times and Only Angel, while showing off his vulnerable side in From The Dining Table and opening track Meet Me In The Hallway. I know what I’m getting my 23-year-old cousin…

Helen Bownass, Entertainment Director 

Foo Fighters - Concrete And Gold

Concrete And Gold is the ninth album from Foo Fighters but you won’t find them resting on their laurels despite their undisputed position as one of the greatest rock bands on the planet. We received a taste of the delights to come with the release of the mighty Run ahead of their headlining performance at this summer’s Glastonbury – one of the best tracks of their career, complete with a truly memorable Dave Grohl-directed video. Massive riffs? Great melodies? Magnificent musicianship? A legendary band at the top of their game? You’ll find all that and more in Concrete And Gold.

Dave Fawbert, Deputy Online Editor

The Script – Freedom Child

“It’s been a whole nine years since The Script burst out of our radios with their hit single The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, but our hearts still break a little every time we hear those familiar opening chords. Now on their fifth studio album, the beloved Dublin trio are showing no signs of slowing down – and true to form, their latest offering triggers emotions from every end of the spectrum. Your cockles will be warmed by the beautiful Arms Open, while you’ll want to shimmy with joy at pop triumph Eden. Freedom Child is the ultimate Christmas crowd pleaser.”

Sarah Biddlecombe, Digital Features Editor

Calvin Harris - Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1

EDM king Calvin took a slinky step sideways from big beats and rave synths and embraced a new laidback West Coast summer soundscape on the fantastic Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1, which emerged, appropriately enough, in summer earlier this year. Featuring a galaxy of big-name guests – Frank Ocean, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry – and up-and-comers – Kehlani and Jessie Reyez – Harris’s grooves are the star of the show. You’ve probably already heard the glorious Heatstroke, the velvety Slide and the chart-topping Feels – all perfect to bring some aural sunshine to the wintry landscape.

Dave Fawbert, Deputy Online Editor

Arcade Fire – Everything Now

Get the party started: Arcade Fire are back, and dominating the dancefloor. The eclectic Everything Now is a brilliant departure for the Canadian six-piece – a lively, glitter-filled gem of a record, created with input from such heavyweights as Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter and ex-Pulp bassist Steve Mackey. Fans old and new will find it hard to resist dancing to Signs Of Life and title track Everything Now. Even better, the record packs a punch with its clever play on our content-overloaded world, making your brain tick over while your feet start tapping.

Sarah Biddlecombe, Digital Features Editor

LCD Soundsystem, American Dream

My favourite comeback of 2017, for my favourite woman of 2017. My best friend and I have spent the happiest of times dancing in a field, chanting along to LCD Soundsystem, so after five years of separation (them, not us) James Murphy’s magic fusion of Eighties disco rock, pulling in influences from David Bowie and Talking Heads, sounds even sweeter as the album builds and builds. Lyrically American Dream is utterly contemporary, dealing with fear, loss, ageing and political mayhem, all spiked with Murphy’s attitude and wit. Special love for synth-drenched Oh Baby which could easily be the soundtrack to an Eighties teen movie starring Molly Ringwald – there’s no higher compliment.

Helen Bownass, Entertainment Director

Roger Waters - Is This The Life We Really Want?

It will surprise no one with any knowledge of the Pink Floyd veteran that his first album in 12 years is not what you call a knees-up of a record. His distinctively dystopian take on modern life handles such non-festive themes as drone warfare, refugees and political shockwaves here and in the US. But with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich on board, the epic sounds complement the thoughtful songs, enhancing the lyrics without ever threatening to overwhelm them. Not one to play over Christmas dinner, perhaps, but a sure-fire winner for that relative who loves the adventure and possibilities of a great concept album.

Rebecca Denne, Content Editor

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