Justin Bieber is the rare modern pop star to have a hit holiday song. The catch? The song he's singing is nearly as old as he is. Bieber is enjoying success with a new duet version of "All I Want for Christmas Is You," which Mariah Carey originally released in 1994. And really, says Jeff Alexander at TIME, Carey's was the last new Christmas track to truly enter the holiday music canon. Why can't more holiday songs find success? Perhaps radio stations, Spotify streams, satellite channels, and Vevo playlists are dividing listeners. When songs like "Frosty the Snowman" and "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" came out, "popular music was more monolithic than it is now," and it was easier for songs to "get the traction a tune needs to achieve grade-school sing-along status." Here, Alexander offers another theory:
Perhaps [it's] because the holidays are inherently nostalgic… Decorations seem to hearken back even further to times before we were born, whether it be the early-to-mid-20th-century architecture of miniature Christmas villages, representations of Victorian carolers or dioramas that imagine a scene in a Middle Eastern barn two millennia ago. Maybe it would just be too jarring for us to integrate a new Lady Gaga composition as part of that whole universe.