"Christmas Tree" is a song written by Lady Gaga and Space Cowboy, which features the latter as a vocalist. It was exclusively premiered on PerezHilton.com on December 2, 2008. The song was added to Amazon, Rhapsody, and iTunes stores worldwide, on December 16. The song samples an original Christmas song, “Deck The Halls”, but with a sexual twist. The cover art was updated on March 10, 2009, to add "featuring Space Cowboy" on it.
Background and composition
"Christmas Tree" is a Christmas music-themed song, featuring vocals from Lady Gaga and Space Cowboy. It was written by Gaga and Rob Fusari, and was produced by Martin Kierszenbaum and Space Cowboy. Space Cowboy and Gaga were introduced in Los Angeles in 2007 by Martin Kierszenbaum of Gaga's label, Cherrytree Records, an imprint of Interscope Records. Kierszenbaum recommended a collaboration between them after hearing Space Cowboy's single "My Egyptian Lover", released in January 2007 and featuring vocalist Nadia Oh. The pair worked together to create "Christmas Tree" and "Starstruck", a song from some editions of Lady Gaga's then-current album The Fame, in studios along the West Coast of the United States. Space Cowboy commented of working with Lady Gaga:
We figured out that we shared pretty much the same experiences; we’d been doing similar things on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Then I got invited to the studio to write some songs with Lady Gaga; we did “Starstruck”, we did a song called “Christmas Tree” She’s super-creative, she’s amazing — the best writer I’d ever seen, and best performer.
Describing the song in episode 25 of her YouTube broadcast series Gagavision, Gaga said: ""Christmas Tree" is about the spirit of celebrating the most joyous holiday and I'll tell you why: because Christmas is the holiday that most makes boys and girls feel randy." The song contains dance-pop and electropop music with synth beats and features many sexual innuendos and metaphors. Referenced in the song lyrics is producer Kierszenbaum's nickname of "Cherry Cherry Boom Boom".
"Christmas Tree" received mixed reviews from critics. "Christmas Tree" received a positive review from Alex Rawls of OffBeat Magazine as part of the "25 Days of Free" offer from Amazon.com. Joking that the artists of the more religious songs must be "praying" for Lady Gaga, Rawls described the song as "not so po-faced" as the five songs released before it was made available on December 6, 2009. Estrella Adeyeri, the music editor of Nouse, gave the song a positive review, complimenting its "synth beats and numerous yuletide innuendos". Ryan Brockington of the New York Post praised the song, describing it as a "favorite holiday jam" and a "subliminal lady parts pine-tree jingle". A reviewer from PlanetOut described the song as "merry" and "naughty choice", praising its "dark decadence". Gino dela Paz of The Philippine Star described the song as going from "zero to crazy" and Diana Nabiruma of The Weekly Observer called the song "plain naughty and wacky". Jason Lewis for Fast Forward Weekly called the song "charmingly ludicrous" and called it among "the best “new” holiday music out there".
Molly Gamble of Marquette Tribune gave "Christmas Tree" a negative review, criticising the song's "poorly veiled metaphor" for sex and calling the song "shameless". She commented that "Christmas Tree" is not a song one can listen to in the presence of family and that it "makes Christmas feel dirty". Katie Hasty and Melinda Newman of HitFix gave the song a very negative review, calling it "stupendously stupid and awful" and the "most terrible Christmas song ever in the whole wide world ever", criticising its obvious sexual metaphors. Cassaundra Baber of Observer-Dispatch listed the song on list of "Horrible holiday hits", criticising it for being "sexualized" and calling it "not for the kids".
The song was described as "porn-tastic" in a review for Now! Christmas 4 by Eye Weekly reviewer Chris Bilton, quoting the lyric "My Christmas tree is delicious". Bilton also called it one of few tracks on the album that make it a "worthy stocking stuffer". Also in a review for Now! Christmas 4, Charlottetown Guardian reviewer Doug Gallant called "Christmas Tree" a "dreadful offering". Beverley Lunney, a reviewer for Winnipeg Free Press, gave the song a negative review, commenting that listeners would be "offended" by the song's "truly unfestive metaphors" and called it one of a "sea of unbearable original tunes" on Now! Christmas 4. Darryl Sterdan of Sudbury Star called the song "the only reason to buy" Now! Christmas 4 and recommended downloading it. In a review of Now! Christmas 4, John Lucas of The Georgia Straight described the song as a "filthy electro banger" and "so blatantly about [sex] that you have to wonder how in the hell it got past the usually vigilant Now! gatekeepers", calling it the "single exception" to an otherwise bland album. In a review for It's Christmas Time, Chester Chronicle reviewer Polly Weeks called the song something that "will keep teenagers happy".
"Christmas Tree" was released as a digital download song on December 16, 2008 on Interscope Records while Gaga's first single "Just Dance", was charting. The song was not included in Lady Gaga's album, The Fame. One year later, in December 2009, it was one of the songs free to download from Amazon.com as part of its "25 Days of Free" offer, whereby for the first twenty-five days in December a Christmas-themed song is made free to download from the website. "Christmas Tree" was made available on December 6th. The song was included on several compilation albums: Canadian compilation album, NOW! Christmas 4, part of the Now That's What I Call Music series, Australian compilation album, So Fresh: The Hits of Christmas 2010, Taiwanese compilation album, Christmas 101, and the seasonal compilation album, It's Christmas Time, all of which were released for Christmas 2009. On November 10, 2010, the song was released digitally in Japan. "Christmas Tree" is a bonus track on limited edition USB pressing of The Fame. "Christmas Tree" is the fourth track on The Cherrytree Sessions in The Singles.