Every holiday season, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” dominates department store playlists. It also gets covered with increasing frequency by artists who either slow it down to escape direct comparisons or make game attempts at matching Mimi’s vocal stylings. But since no such attempt will ever rival the original, I’ve given myself the task of finding the second-best recording of Carey’s Christmas classic.

There are tons of holiday tunes out there, yet every year the same old musical chestnuts get thrown on the fire, and halfway through the season you’re bored. Why not make your own playlist this time? For inspiration, start with some tracks off the beaten path, which you may not hear ad infinitum at the local mall. For hundreds more ideas, check out the meticulous broadcast archives of independent Jersey City radio station WFMU and listen online. Then, when your own set is ready, gather your friends, cue up the video Yule log, drink a shot every time it refreshes and enjoy the holidays! Oh, and suck it, Pandora.

Today Britney Spears releases her “most personal” album to date, Britney Jean. Its title, comprising Brit’s first and middle names, recalls another blond bombshell hunted by paparazzi—Norma Jeane Mortenson, a.k.a. Marilyn Monroe. Does this mean fans will finally get to see the real Britney? Executive producer will.i.am told Rolling Stone he hoped the new album aims to reflect who Spears is as a person rather than an artist.