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    HomeCultureIt's The Most Epic Christmas Playlist. EVER!! 2023 Edition

    It’s The Most Epic Christmas Playlist. EVER!! 2023 Edition

    Welcome to this year’s The Most Epic Christmas Playlist. EVER!! What started out as a little project-turned-obsession, has evolved over the years into this collection of amazing artists and voices you maybe don’t know, the best original songs of the year, and classics covered in ways you’ve not heard before. I really took this to heart this year; the 2023 edition is easily the broadest variety and wildest mix I’ve ever done.

    I’ve been trying to figure how many songs is too many. Without compromising quality, of course. The answer? Who knows. But I’ve expanded from around 40 to 55 songs this year, so strap in!

    Okay, let’s talk music! First of all, you gotta, gotta, gotta hear Samara Joy (she has a solo track and a duet on The List this year). On its own without additional context, an absolutely extraordinary voice by any measure. It’s giving Ella & Etta in the very best way, but somehow with a modern sound. Stopped me dead in my tracks first time I heard her, but I didn’t find out until after I’d listened to her album that she is 24 freakin’ years old. WHAT?!?!?! Absolutely incredible. Her cover of “What Are You Doing New Years Eve?” with Gregory Porter is beyond delicious.

    And speaking of covers, I was able to tick a few more songs off my list of classics that I’d not yet found a List-worthy vision of. Welcome “Caroling, Caroling” (see caveat below), “O Christmas Tree,” “Hard Candy Christmas,” (cuz who’s gonna do Dolly justice?), and “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses –  released in ‘81/’82 and still maybe the coolest bassline in the history of Christmas songs – to The List!

    The band Smash Mouth, of all people, in what can only be described as a stroke of genius, brought Susanna Hoffs (of Bangles fame) in to do vocals on “Christmas Wrapping” but didn’t change much else musically, which keeps the integrity of the original, but updates it a little. It’s a bop!

    And “O Christmas Tree” is one of two tracks on 2023 List by an English artist called Geoffrey Gascoyne. Look, the more a track from the 20-teens sounds like it was made in the Big Band/Swing heyday of the 1940s, the more it makes my heart happy.  I found these gems quite accidentally while I was watching a show called ‘Smiley’ on Netflix this spring. (Gays of The List, if you haven’t watched it yet, ya gotta!) Gascoyne’s 2017 album “Swinging Christmas” was playing in the background of one scene which led me to discover both these songs. Thank you Shazam!

    Elsewhere … some of y’all got overruled on whether “Holiday Road” is a Christmas song, but if this cover doesn’t make you a little bit happy you have deeper emotional issues than The List can fix.  (That cut-time at 1:49? c’mon!!)

    Broadway is representing again with tracks from (Tony winner) Stephanie J. Block – whose cover of “Merry Christmas Darling” is an almost note-for-note re-make of The Carpenters’ version of that song which may be THE best Christmas record ever – and Julie Benko who dazzled in 100+ performance as Fanny Brice in the recently closed revival of Funny Girl. You should check out both full albums, imho. And there are some other nods to my 1980s/90s adolescence, including a track from Michael Bolton, a new cover of “Last Christmas,” and a duet from Cher & Cyndi Lauper.

    And finally, I kept some emotional favorites – honestly, more because of how I feel about the artist than the quality of the song – which historically I’ve tried NOT to do. But apparently that’s also out the window now, along with the No Country rule. In addition to the Cyndi & Cher track, there’s one from Dad Harmony, one from Hayden Jospeh (an up & coming gay Country artist), one from Matt Rogers (let’s GO! gay artists), and one from Chrissy Metz – just cuz I love her – among others.

    There’s also a couple of Easter Eggs in here, including a prayer for Maui one for Ukraine, Israel, and Palestine. And there you have it. Along with a wish for the Merriest of Christmases.

    The Most Epic Christmas Playlist. EVER!! — 2023 Edition

    1. Wake Up! (It’s Christmas Time) – Forest Blakk

    2. Top Of My List – Jessie James Decker

    3. Up On the House Top – Kings Return

    4. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Geoffrey Gascoyne

    5. Driving Home for Christmas – The Tenors 

    6. It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas – Maddie & Tae

    7. Christmas, Take Me Home – 7th Ave

    8. Santa Baby – David Foster & Katharine McPhee 

    9. Please Santa Please – Pentatonix

    10. Let It Snow – Christie Dashiell w/Kings Return

    11. The First Noel – Melvin Crispell III

    12. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve – Gregory Porter & Samara Joy

    13. The Christmas Song – Iam Tongi

    14. That Holiday Feeling – Liz Gillies & Seth MacFarlane

    15. Blame It On The Mistletoe – Ella Henderson & AJ Mitchell

    16. Christmas All Over Again – Tyler Shaw

    17. Holiday Road — VoicePlay

    18. It’s Christmas Time – Music Travel Love

    19. Naughty List – Kirk Pasich Project & Scout Durwood

    20. Dear Santa – OneRepublic

    21. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Ally Brooke

    22. I Pray On Christmas – Straight No Chaser

    23. Love Is Christmas – Mat & Savanna Shaw

    24. Who Could Imagine a King — Voctave

    25. Caroling, Caroling* — Greater Vision w/the London Philharmonic Orchestra

    26. Under the Tree – Ally Brooke

    27. Christmas Eve – Rhys Lewis

    28. Christmas Wrapping – Smash Mouth w/Susanna Hoffs

    29. Rise Up, Shepherd – Kirk Pasich Project & Scout Durwood

    30. O, Christmas Tree – Geoffrey Gascoyne

    31. Coming Home for Christmas – Forest Blakk 

    32. Blue Christmas – David Foster & Katharine McPhee

    33 Put a Little Holiday in Your Heart – Cher & Cyndi Lauper

    34. Last Christmas – Sarah Reeves

    35. What Christmas Sounds Like – Straight No Chaser

    36. Wonderful Christmastime – Blessing Offor

    37. Merry Christmas, Darling – Stephanie J. Block

    38. I Never Had A Christmas With You – Julie Benko & Mykal Kilgore

    39. Hard Candy Christmas – Hayden Joseph

    40. When Christmas Comes to Town – Dad Harmony

    41. Christmas Everyday – The Overtones

    42. I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Michael Bolton

    43. Warm In December – Samara Joy

    44. Thank You Note – salem ilese

    45. Christmas Miracle – The Tenors 

    46. Nutcracker Medley – Voctave

    47. Love to Keep Me Warm  Laufey 

    48. Tangled in Tinsel – Jessie James Decker

    49. Especially at Christmas – Chrissy Metz

    50. What Child Is This – Chris Rupp & Home Free

    51. I Don’t Need It To Be Christmas At All – Matt Rogers

    52. Christmas Waltz – Gregory Porter 

    53. I’ve Been Bad, Santa – Peach PRC

    54. Mele Kalikimaka – Iam Tongi

    55. The Greatest Wish – Anthony Nunziata

    (*Note: Spotify listeners get hosed once again this year – you’re getting a back-up substitute of the actual List version from Greater Vision & the London Phil which isn’t released on Spotify.)

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