Every Christmas season over the last few years I’ve always looked forward to one compilation album: An Overclocked Christmas (AOCC). I grew up with my major Christmas music being Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and whatever 98 Rock would play Christmas mornings (some classics, a lot of Christmas-adjacent rock songs, and a number of comedic parody songs). Speaking of, if you’re a fan of Linkin Park but never delved into all the songs they made outside of their major albums — check out My December, it’s great.

This year marked volume 17 of AOCC and it’s another joyful selection of tunes. These songs are often one of three flavours. Christmas classic remixes, Christmasy remixes of video game songs (both of songs readily winter-y or remixed to be so), and mashups of Christmas classics and video game music. I’d go so far as to say there’s a fourth flavour, original new songs, but I’ve not delved into what is original and what is just pulling from games or songs I’ve not heard of before aside from original lyrics.

The team behind the collaboration actually streamlined the release this year so I was able to have the songs in my library before Christmas Eve! Which was a welcome change, usually each volume would come out really close to Christmas and I’d throw it in my library sometime after…only to let it sit mostly un-listened until the following holiday season. Being able to listen to it on time was a very special feeling this year.

As New Years approaches my feelings grow somber as we exit the cheerful weeks and enter the cold dead winter season proper. The happiness music gives me being one of the greatest reprieves in these times.