Happy Holidays, Lennys! We're getting into the spirit of the season by listening to Odetta, La Tuna Estudiantina de Cayey, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, and more! You can check out some of the tracks on our holiday playlist below.
What Lena Dunham is listening to:
"Children, Go Where I Send Thee" by Odetta
My favorite holiday album hands down belong's to Odetta, whose album Christmas Spirituals manages to put an activist spin on Christian classics with only the power of her voice. My personal favorite is the joyfully warbled "Children, Go Where I Send Thee," which in her masterful hands becomes a song of liberation and freeing, flailing worship. Seeing Odetta live before she transcended this world is perhaps the closest I've come to religion.
What our deputy editor Laia Garcia is listening to:
"Parranda del Sopón" by La Tuna Estudiantina de Cayey
As soon as I hear the beginning guitar strums, I know it's Christmas. As soon as Thanksgiving had passed, the sounds of this record reverberated through my house every single weekend. I am for sure biased, but Puerto Rican Christmas music is truly the greatest, all the songs are about partying too much, getting drunk, and of course, the occasional mention of baby Jesus. The "Parranda del Sopón" is an absolute classic, a tale of the people that ate a chicken stew at two in the morning and got sick from it – the cause? A hex put on them by the rooster, who was I guess... dating the chicken they had just killed to make the stew. God bless us everyone.
What our contributing writer Kaitlyn Greendige is listening to:
A John Waters Christmas
This is my favorite Christmas album because it is weirdly sincere in its choice of music. "Santa Claus is a Black Man" and "Fat Daddy Claus" are at first glance gag picks, but after years of listening to them, I think they are truly the heart of this season. And then the album ends with the super creepy, haunting "First Snowfall" by the Coctails.
"Christmas Wrapping" by the Waitresses
This is my favorite Christmas song because it is so relentlessly dopey. It sounds like the music that would play in a mid-80s Christmas special on Nickelodeon and for that, I love it. It sounds like scrunchies and checkerboard patterns and Laura Achley dresses worn with knee socks.
It's a Holiday Soul Party by Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings
The original songs "Big Bulbs" and "Just Another Christmas song" are perfectly written. And this album has best Hanukah song ever in "Eight Days of Hanukah."
"Let's Make Christmas Mean Something this Year" by James Brown
James Brown records where James Brown stops singing and just talks to all of us in a rambling, beautiful voice are my absolute favorite. This one has a great monologue that never fails to make me cry.
What our assistant Dianca London is listening to:
"Last Christmas" by Wham!
2016 has been a bit of a garbage fire, but despite all of the loss, struggle, and heartbreak, my dedication to yuletide cheer persists. Even in the darkest of times, nothing conjures the holiday spirit quicker than blasting Wham!'s "Last Christmas." The synth-y melodrama of this karaoke-ready ballad (not to mention, George Michael's absolutely angelic voice) will turn your bah-humbugs into joy and delight.