Holiday Play Lists

Music sets the mood for a holiday meal, and our music writers certainly know how to set a mood. Pick one of their playlists to provide delightful background music or drown out your racist uncle, or take a song from all three lists to make sure your playlist includes something to everyone.

John Fuzek, The Roots Report columnist:

The tradition of “Alice’s Restaurant” by Arlo Guthrie played on Thanksgiving must be maintained Forever! Then play the entire Last Waltz album by The Band because it was recorded on Thanksgiving in 1976. But if you have to pick just a couple from Last Waltz, go with “Mannish Boy” by Muddy Waters, “Four Strong Winds” by Neil Young, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” by The Band and “The Weight” by The Band

Jake Bissaro, Alt-Nation columnist:

“King Harvest (Has Surely Come)” by The Band
“Cookin’ Up Something Good” by Mac DeMarco
“Golden Slumbers” by The Beatles
Matthew Curtis, Motif office manager who starts playing Christmas music before Halloween suggests:

“At The Christmas Ball” by Bessie Smith

“Santa Baby” by Eartha Kitt

“Hippopotamus For Christmas” by Gayla Peevey

“Merry Little Christmas” by Frank Sinatra

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by The Carpenters

And finally, Mike Bilow, Motif columnist and no one’s current DJ, suggests a depressing playlist for the day after Thanksgiving:

“Christmas at Denny’s” by Randy Stonehill; Lyrics excerpt: “It’s Christmas at Denny’s tonight/Once I had a home/And a wife and a daughter/Had a company job/Earning middle-class pay/Then Lisa got killed/By a car near the schoolyard/And my wife started drinking/Just to get through each day.”

“St. Stephen’s Day Murders” by The Chieftains; Lyrics excerpt: “For that is the time to eat, drink, and be merry,/’Til the beer is all spilled and the whiskey has flowed./And the whole family tree you neglected to bury,/Are feeding their faces until they explode./There’ll be laughter and tears over Tia Marias,/Mixed up with that drink made from Gibley’s./’Cause it’s all we’ve got left as they draw their last breath,/Ah, it’s nice for the kids, as you finally get rid of them,/In the St. Stephen’s Day Murders.”

“Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues; Lyrics excerpt: “You’re a bum, you’re a punk!/You’re an old slut on junk!/Laying there, almost dead/On a drip in that bed/You scumbag, you maggot/You cheap, lousy faggot/Happy Christmas your arse/I pray God, it’s our last”

“Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis” by Tom Waits; Lyrics excerpt: “Hey Charley, I almost went crazy/After Mario got busted/So I went back to Omaha/To Live with my folks/But everyone I used to know/Was either dead or in prison/So I came back in Minneapolis/This time I think I’m gonna stay.”

“Please Daddy Don’t Get Drunk This Christmas” by John Denver; Lyrics excerpt: “Just last year when I was only seven/And now, I’m almost eight as you can see/You came home at a quarter past eleven/Fell down underneath our Christmas tree/Please Daddy, don’t get drunk this Christmas/I don’t wanna see my Mamma cry.”

Honorable mention:

“Feast of Lights” by They Might be Giants; Lyrics excerpt: “You never write, you never call/And now you wander in the hall/You look familiar/I barely know your face at all/We never get together at all/Until the last day of Hanukkah./I got you a harmonica/And a bag of chocolate coins.”

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