Picture this: Its early winter. You're making a quick stop to the grocery store to pick up a couple things before heading home after work. You enter the automatic doors and take a few steps in when you hear it. The Arpeggiated bell chimes...The cymbal roll... and then a breathy unmistakable voice sings "I don't want a lot for Christmas.."
At first the nostalgia sends a blast of dopamine to your brain and you light up but by the time the intro is over and the song has reached its trademark fever pitch you're filled with existential dread. No disrespect to the Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey, but why do we torture ourselves with the same songs every year?! Studies have shown that that the repetitive nature of holiday go-tos can actually be bad for your mental health! (Don't believe me? Click here.) So, as a public service (or maybe for my own sanity) I've compiled a playlist of some holiday songs with soul. Let's take back the airwaves this year by blasting some x-mas tunes you can actually enjoy.
10. Last Christmas - Wham!
Sure, we've heard this one a million times. But, the quintessential 80's sound that Wham! brings to it fits in a way that makes us think this is how the song was meant to be performed.
9. Christmas Time Is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio
This song smells like pine needles and feels like a warm fire. I challenge anyone to feel anything but comfort and joy while listening to this one.
8. Christmas In Hollis - Run-DMC
Jingle bells...but make it funky. This is the one to put on when the egg-nog starts hitting.
7. Santa Clause Is Coming To Town - Jackson 5
Of course we love young Michael's vocal performances, but do you hear that bass line The Funk Brothers are laying down!?
6. River - Joni Mitchell
This one is for everyone who's holidays might not be picture perfect. And to all those folks: Its okay to be a little sad on Christmas. You're not alone!
5. Greensleeves - John Coltrane
The way the whole band effortlessly slides between iconic melodies and smooth solos makes this song the perfect background to Christmas dinner.
4. Christmas Rappin - Kurtis Blow
He says it best : "Don't you give me all that jive About things you wrote before I's alive 'Cause this ain't 1823, ain't even 1970 Now I'm the guy named Kurtis Blow and Christmas is one thing I know So every year, just about this time I celebrate it with a rhyme."
3. Stone Soul Christmas - Binky Griptite
This song makes me want a Silk Sonic Christmas album.
Until then, I'll just play this on repeat.
2. Wonderful Christmas Time - Paul McCartney
Okay, I know I know...This one is severely overplayed. But its Paul McCartney! And this is the remastered version with new weird synth and vocal parts so it gets a pass.
1. This Christmas - Donny Hathaway
Ugh. The soul jsut oozes off this one. Just do yourself a favor and put it on.