One of the most beloved songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas is "What's This," where a discontented king of Halloween discovers the wonders of Christmas time as he visits Santa's North Pole workshop. Originally performed by composer Danny Elfman, this song captures all the wonder and magical delight of the Christmas season. It has become an unofficial Halloween/Christmas anthem and always brings down the house during the annual Nightmare Before Christmas tours.
In an interview with Time Magazine , Danny Elfman reflected on is career and the timeless creation of Jack Skellington:
"The great thing about the experience of creating Nightmare is neither of us had any idea how you create a musical. Most animated musicals of that era—this era, really—the songs feel like they come from pop or Broadway. I felt very strongly, and Tim agreed, that these songs should try to find a kind of timeless place that’s not contemporary, even though I knew critics would skewer me for it. My influences were going from Kurt Weill to Gilbert and Sullivan to early Rodgers and Hammerstein. He would come over and tell me a little bit of the story and show me some drawings, and I’d go write a song and three days later he’d listen. We were completely on our own and there wasn’t a script yet, so we just started telling the story in songs. We were feeling our way through it without knowing what we were doing, and of course that always makes for the best experiences."
Do you have a special relationship with [Jack Skellington?]
I do. When I wrote those songs with Tim, I felt like I was writing from my own point of view. I really related to Jack. He was completely Tim’s creation, but the personality as I was writing the songs, I totally connected to. Weirdly, that’s how I felt about my band. When you’re the leader of a band, you’re like the king of a tiny world. I really longed to get out and didn’t know how. So when I was writing about Jack and Halloween Town, in a way, I was kind of writing about myself.
YouTube metal performer and talented fan pellekofficial has created a Metal rendition of the song. Check it out below.