LJ VP LAFIURA
Rootin’ Tootin’ Holiday Vacation
With winter in full swing there are so many holidays to celebrate, and nobody does the holidays quite like country music artists. Whether you’re having a happy family celebration or a full-blown four-alarm holiday emergency, we’re going to push on while listening to the hap, hap, happiest holiday playlist since Bing Crosby tap-danced with Danny Kaye.
“What Does Christmas Mean (feat. The Shindellas)” - Jimmie Allen
Starting with the pace up, we hit you in the mouth with Jimmie Allen’s partnership with The Shindellas. The song models a traditional gospel piece in which Jimmie Allen’s soulful voice and the clean harmonies assembled by The Shindellas fit quite well. Some artists like Michael Bublé and Brett Eldridge get much notoriety from their Christmas music which supplements their nonseasonal popularity. If Allen continues to strum out Christmas bangers like this, he could definitely enter that conversation alongside his great discography.
“Winter Wonderland” - Blake Shelton
You’ll notice that this is the only “traditional” holiday song in this playlist. Frankly, it’s impossible to not be at least a little sick of the classics by the time you make it to college. It’s not bad to look for something fresh. Blake Shelton finds a way to keep the light, and joy eliciting vibe intended by this classic and alter slightly with his unique voice. Listening is like meeting an old friend for the first time again.
“Neon Christmas” - Mitchell Tenpenny
If Hallmark made an audio story, “Neon Christmas” is the song they would come up with. The song puts the narrator and their significant other stuck in a snowstorm, unable to get home for Christmas. Rather than being miserable, the narrator suggests they go down to the bar and make the best of the holiday season. I understand people's disinclination to those, but like it or not, they’re feel-good films, and so too is this song. The entire Neon Christmas EP is also excellent and worth a listen.
“Hallelujah” - Carrie Underwood with John Legend
This isn’t your normal “Hallelujah.” In fact, the title is the only critique I could give. It’s a beautiful duet about love, hope, and joy, which Carrie Underwood and John Legend do justice. Underwood and Legend might have the most complimentary voices in music currently, and you will thoroughly enjoy coming along for this ride.
“Take Me Home For Christmas” - Dan & Shay
I’m rolling my eyes with this one too. Dan and Shay are the blandest, most khaki-sounding group in country music. A large portion of their newer music isn’t worth your time, especially if you’re looking for a country sound. This is one of the few exceptions. The song plays out as the title suggests as the narrator pitches a holiday season where they learn about their lover's home life on a more personal level. It provides an aspiration for any hopeless romantic or young couple.
“Santa Claus Was My Uber Driver” - Lee Brice
Pretty self-explanatory; Brice gets picked up by an Uber operated by the jolly old man who spends his off time playing music and relaxing by the beach in Virginia. It’s a fun song, but it brings up concerns. With the toy output coming from the North Pole, it’s illogical to think the process doesn’t take all year. How can St. Nick spend all that time away from the workshop and be an effective leader of men… or elves? Way to flake out on your employees and take the credit when it matters. That’s also assuming he’s the sole investor in the process. How do the other stakeholders feel about a CEO that’s asleep at the wheel? Delivering all those toys is understandably taxing, but this is just poor leadership.
“Star Spangled Banner” - Francis Scott Key
This is the only way you can end a playlist of this theme. May you all have a wonder-filled and enriching holiday season, regardless of if you made it through the Santa rant. This list is a start, but follow your heart through the season, and you’ll find loads of great songs, rootin’, tootin’, or otherwise. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays.