It’s hard to write a modern-day Christmas classic. The Waitresses and the Vandals managed it in decades past, but since then, the presents under the tree have been sparse. Heck, Sufjan Stevens has been working at writing one for the better part of the past ten years, with nothing to show for it but a shelfload of EPs. So it was with surprise and not a little bit of glee last year that we first encountered Justin Beiber’s “Drummer Boy,” the standout track of the Bieb’s 2011 Christmas album and quite possibly the best contemporary Christmas song ever recorded.
(A primer, for the uninitiated: Bieber’s “Drummer Boy” starts off as a straightforward interpretation of the traditional “Little Drummer Boy,” before shifting gears and turning into something else completely. The drums get louder, faster, more insistent. Then Bieber starts rapping. It’s a masterpiece of sensory overload that only breaks when Beiber, his voice soaring to orgiastic heights, returns to something resembling the original melody … if the original melody was being sung by Mariah at the height of her melisma addiction. Then Busta Rhymes comes in to wish us all a happy Kwanzaa, and the Biebs finishes things off with an out-of-nowhere verse about the importance of giving to charity. It’s really something to hear.)
And now, barely 13 months after its release, the song has been given the official Christmas Classic stamp of approval, as educators around the world are including it in their holiday pageants, in what we know will be the first of many adorable elementary-school performances to come. One performance even got a show of support from the papa bear himself:
And we can’t deny: Jaydendoes kill it. But even better, for our money, is the husky kid on the right of the frame. Check the way he rocks the groove during the sunglasses part. Serious Big Man on Campus potential there.