Heartbeats: Your Ultimate Inclusive Christmas Playlist Is Here
BY JENNIFER HAKIM
If you’re one of the lucky few still celebrating Christmas with family at this point, you may be looking into the tunes that will play in the background while you munch on all the delicious goodies. And if you’ve decided to skip the chaos this year, or have to lock yourself up in your bedroom for 10 days like me, you can still have some fun and dance to some of these irresistible tracks - I know I will, between two paracetamol tablets.
Here’s your ultimate (and obviously inclusive) Christmas playlist - with the gems you may have missed in the past few years.
1) 8 Days of Christmas, by Destiny’s Child
It would simply be impossible to start this playlist without Destiny’s Child, who have provided the soundtrack of each of my Christmases since I was 15. There is no Christmas without the magical first notes of their iconic ‘8 Days of Christmas’, and teenage me still won’t allow herself to skip a single track on the album. The joy, the harmonies, the girl power - still unrivalled to this day.
2) I Just Don't Feel Like Christmas Without You, by Rihanna
Not everyone knows it, but Riri does have a Christmas song, and it’s a banger. YouTube is where it's at for this one, as it can’t be found on Spotify - but it’s worth the trouble. This is 2006 Rihanna we’re talking about, the same one who released Unfaithful and We Ride on the same album. Listen to this R&B track while reminiscing about your highschool sweetheart and watching the snow fall for a transcendent experience.
3) If We Make It Through December, by Phoebe Bridgers
Not to be a bummer, but you’d have to be made of ice not to feel the lyrics of this 1973 classic, beautifully covered by indie rock icon Bridgers - especially in this economy: “Got laid off at the factory, and their timing is not the greatest in the world, heaven knows I've been working hard, wanted Christmas to be right for my girl. I don't mean to hate December, it's meant to be the happy time of year, and my little girl don't understand why we can't afford no Christmas here”.
4) Silent Night, by Boyz II Men
Oh 1993, the year of Mariah’s Dreamlover and Haddaway’s What Is Love. Also, the year of Boyz II Men’s Christmas album, entitled Christmas Interpretations. When we talk about harmonies, no one does it like Boyz II Men, and their craft shows once more on this track. Everything that makes the boyz superior is present in Silent Night, the last song of the album, and the chills may make you reach for the nearest lateral flow test available.
5) Hey Sis, It's Christmas, by Rupaul feat. Markaholic
If you’re not in the mood for Christmas carols but still want to party, this one right here is what you need to keep the energy going. On this track, Rupaul sings and raps about reindeers, Santa Claus and ‘the Missus’, in an impeccable, fun number that is hard not to loop. It almost makes me sad I’m not supposed to listen to it the rest of the year (but I do because there are no rules anymore).
6) Make You Mine This Season, by Tegan and Sara
Another failed attempt at the ‘try not to dance’ challenge. If you’re in the mood for a solid pop rock ballad, 80s sounding keyboards, jingle bells, drums and romance, all at the same time and in no particular order, then look no further. The coolest twin sisters on this planet released this new fave last year and I can’t get enough of it.
7) Dynamite - Holiday Remix, by BTS
At number 7 because that is their lucky number, but always a great playlist opener, comes this bop. After spending 2020 in flares and sequins dancing around the house to Dynamite (I’m lying, of course I was in my pjs like everybody else), I jumped up and down when the song came back as a holiday remix. Not every song works as a Christmas version, but BTS, as usual, understood the assignment and delivered a beautifully cheerful track with exquisite harmonies. Christmas joy combined with an extra shot of serotonin, anyone?
8) Sleigh Ride, by TLC
In this track, the forever missed TLC wishes us all a happy Christmas and a happy new year, hoping to go on a sleigh ride with us, and you know what, it may be just what I need. For anyone who’s never seen it, I strongly recommend watching the music video on YouTube for a lesson in Christmas fashion, tree making, kindness and - spoiler alert - safe sex.
9) Do You Hear What I Hear, by Whitney Houston
Released on her 1995 EP ‘Exhale’ (yes, the one with the ‘Shoop Shoop’ song) this version of the Christmas hit Do You Hear What I Hear ticks all the right boxes: unmatched vocals from Whitney in her prime, a choir that takes you to church for 3.32 perfect minutes, ‘90s vibes all around and once-in-a-generation talent you can appreciate whether you celebrate Christmas or not.
10) Angels We Have Heard on High, by Andrea Bocelli
It’s 1am, and it’s time to wind down - you’re finishing off your mulled Lemsip and you’re listening to Andrea Bocelli by the fireplace (Netflix has a great 4K Ultra-HD version, you know). With a voice that gets you closer to the gods, Bocelli virtually tucks you in for the night, with the comforter high up on your chin so you can dream of better days. Days where you can get out of your house and see your friends, perhaps.