There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
HO HO WHO: DRAM, a multi-genre well of infectious charm who’s guaranteed to put you in a good mood, whether he’s going quintuple platinum with a recorder-playing Lil Yachty, cuddling his goldendoodle, or hanging with his puppet avatar. He’s one of the most good-natured singer/rappers working today (or ever) so he’s a natural fit to do Christmas ditties. Back in 2015, he released the original song “#1HappyHoliday,” and now he’s back with an EP by the same name, rounded out with some classic covers.
SANTA (BIG) BABY: DRAM’s voice is as rich and warm as a hot toddy, and apparently, he got it from his momma. His mother (credited as BigBabyMom, after DRAM’s own nickname, Big Baby) leads “Silver Bells” with a voice that’s pleasantly inviting, bright, and just a little bit husky. DRAM comes in for the second verse, peaking in a sweet falsetto at certain points. A twinkly piano instrumental and some rumbling laughs from DRAM provide the background, and notably, there’s not a jingle bell within earshot. Mother and child join up for the final chorus, with DRAM graciously providing the echoed “ring-a-lings” for his mom. You get the sense that these two really know how to entertain at family Christmases.
PLATINUM BELLS: “Silver Bells” has been riffed on countless times, and a jazzy cover isn’t anything new, yet DRAM’s take manages to feel both fresh and timeless. The familial connection certainly lends the song a warm and fuzzy “home for the holidays” feel, and if you’re not charmed by that adorable family photo album art, well, I have some Christmas ghosts I’ll be sending your way.
CHEER FACTOR: 10/10. This version has immediately pushed the Bing Crosby version from my mind. From now on, I’ll be holding this track up as the gold standard for “Silver Bells.”