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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Soulful holiday albums to soothe your spirit

These four holiday albums will warm your soul this season. (Photos courtesy of Spotify)

Do you have the same holiday songs on repeat and just can’t stand to listen to “Last Christmas” by Wham! another time? I don’t understand who would ever get sick of that song, but I digress. If you want some variety in your listening this month here are four albums to diversify your holiday palette.

“It’s a Holiday Soul Party” by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

Wow, this album is funky – a good funky. Sharon Jones is a powerhouse vocalist and has the perfect tone for holiday songs.  The album’s number one track, “8 Days (Of Hannukah)” seduces with Jones’ voice and grooves with a strong brass section – and a hell of a trumpet.

This album takes a playful poke at traditional holiday music with “Just Another Christmas Song (This Time I’ll Sing Along),” which strives to rewrite the classics. It also funkifies original Christmas songs such as “Funky Little Drummer Boy,” which will get you tapping your feet to the beat. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings emulate all the good things about soul and funk.

“Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas” by Ella Fitzgerald 

It would be a crime to not include this album. It seems like Ella was born to make holiday music. “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve” is one of my favorite holiday songs of all time. I would say the industry should make more music about New Year’s, but I think that Ella might be the only one capable.

“Ella Wishes You A Swinging Christmas” is the perfect record to play in the background of dinner surrounded by people you love. Her voice is warm and gooey like toasted marshmallows, especially on “Sleigh Ride” and “Frosty The Snowman.” If you need the classics on your holiday playlist but still want some variety, this album is a refreshing change of pace while staying true to the seasonal music we all know and love.

“A Very Laufey Holiday!” by Laufey

As an up-and-coming jazz artist, Icelandic singer Laufey is single-handedly saving the genre through her angelic cello medleys and luscious vocals. This three-track holiday album is a gift to us all and leaves us wanting so much more.

What I love about this album is how original and true to Laufey’s style these songs are. “The Christmas Waltz” is a modern-day, sophisticated Snoopy soundtrack, and it’s perfect for sitting around the fire, dancing around the fire, taking a nap around the fire – basically doing anything by the fire. Listen to “Love To Keep Me Warm” once the fire burns out and you need the power of Laufey’s voice to keep you cozy.

“A Legendary Christmas” by John Legend 

John Legend can do no wrong in the land of music. He is one of the modern greats of R&B and soul. His Christmas album takes on soulful covers of the classics, from “Silver Bells” to “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” He also threw in some originals such as “Give Me Love,” which is an upbeat, joyful tune dedicated to sharing the holiday season with the people you love. Seriously, what’s better than that?

Legend’s voice is a spoonful of smooth honey, especially with his rendition of “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire).” He set some pretty high expectations by naming the album “legendary,” but I think it’s safe to say that he surpassed them. Get this album playing in a Macy’s!

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About the Contributor
Bernadette Russo, Culture Editor
Likes trees and hates writing bios.

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