Going out? Need a playlist? Then NYLON’s NYLON Nights playlist is here for you. Each month we invite a guest artist to curate an exclusive playlist that will keep you going from pre- to post-game. This December 2022, K-pop group NCT Dream share their favorite holiday tunes.
Nothing beats a classic Christmas song during the holidays. In 2022, of course, the term “classic” has significantly broadened, expanding to include beloved modern anthems like Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and Ariana Grande’s slinky “Santa Tell Me,” and non-Christmas-Christmas-songs like Joni Mitchell’s “River” (and, maybe for the super non-traditionalists, Fleet Foxes’ “White Winter Hymnal”) to live alongside all the “Let It Snow”s and “Silent Night”s. But even then a classics-only playlist can feel stuffy; Sometimes, a song can be a Christmas song if it just sounds wintery enough.
NCT Dream knows this well, which is why the seven-piece K-pop band’s holiday-themed playlist, exclusively curated for NYLON and available to stream below, is stuffed full of crowd-pleasers (including the tracks from Grande and Carey) with a few, special wildcards thrown in for good measure. This includes SZA’s “Special,” off her sophomore record SOS, which is definitively not-Christmas song but is a gentle and twinkling acoustic track that befits any quiet moment during the holidays; Dallas singer-songwriter Johnny Stimson’s “Honeymoon,” with its surfy acoustic twang that could serve as a modern alternative for Elvis’ “Blue Christmas;” and Hans Zimmer’s “Tennessee” from the 2001’s Pearl Harbor film, which NCT Dream member Chenle says is perfect to soundtrack “watching the sun set in the winter sky.” Though they may first seem like odd picks for a holiday playlist, after listening through the collection several times myself, I agree with the vision.
Fittingly, the group’s unconventional spirit bleeds into NCT Dream’s first winter-themed mini album, Candy, out now. It’s helmed by a cover of legendary K-pop boy band H.O.T.’s 1996 song “Candy” that’s also not immediately Christmassy (the lyrics are about waking up and deciding to break-up with a girlfriend). But NCT Dream puts a twinkling sheen to its production and it magically becomes something you’d want to listen to between cups of hot chocolate and figuring out what movie you wanna binge next on Netflix.
Then, after that, maybe you could lavish in their specially curated songs, below. Stream the playlist on Spotify, and read on for NCT Dream’s own commentary about each of their picks.
“Santa Tell Me” - Ariana Grande
Jeno: “Santa Tell Me” is a perfect track to enjoy during the winter season and one that I listen to the most on Christmas.
“come out and play” - Billie Eilish
Renjun: “come out and play” has a calm warmth to it that suits the holiday mood.
“Special” - SZA
Mark: I’ve been waiting for the album SOS which came out in time for the winter. I listened to it once it was out, and found this track really refreshing and easy on the ears.
“Tennessee” - Hans Zimmer
Chenle: This is a great piece to enjoy while watching the sun set in the winter sky.
“첫 눈 (The First Snow)” - EXO
Jeno: Whenever it’s snowing outside, this is the track that comes to mind right away!
“Santa Baby” - Love Renaissance (LVRN), Summer Walker
Mark: I believe this track is from the album Home For The Holidays, and I’ve always liked Summer Walker’s vocals so I hope people will give it a listen too.
“Candy” - NCT Dream
Haechan: This is our title track from our Winter Special Mini Album Candy, and it’s a track that’ll make you feel warm during the cold season. It’ll melt you away!
“Last Christmas” - Ariana Grande
Renjun: Needless to say, it’s played everywhere during the Christmas season. It’s a track that just makes me feel so happy whenever I listen to it.
“발자국 (Walk With You)” - NCT Dream
Jisung: For a holiday track, I’d have to pick one of our own, “발자국 (Walk With You)!” This track has such a good vibe that will brighten your day whenever listening to it.
“All I Want For Christmas Is You” - Mariah Carey
Jaemin: It’s the classic track played everywhere that cannot be left out when it’s Christmas.
“Sing For You” - EXO
Haechan: This is a heart-warming track that has added so much coziness to my winter and I hope others can feel that same warmth too when listening to it.
“Mistletoe” - Justin Bieber
Jaemin: Not only is this track perfect for the holidays, but it’s one that I enjoy and have listened to even before my debut.
“The Lonesome Road” - Kris Bowers
Chenle: If you ever go on a drive during the holiday season, this is the track you want to listen to. It’ll put you in a good mood!
“Honeymoon” - Johnny Stimson
Jisung: “Honeymoon” is cozy yet calm. It’s a track that feels like it could make you fall in love with someone if you listen to it together on Christmas.