Thanksgiving — a time of family and togetherness often found in Christmas’s shadow. With an official Thanksgiving genre yet to find its stride in the music industry, one must be resourceful. This Thanksgiving playlist incorporates a blend of folk, lo-fi rock with a dash of indie and pop, all with titles relatable to Thanksgiving. The folks at home might not jive with it, but it’s a fun playlist to groove to for those driving home.
Here are 10 songs to get you into the Thanksgiving spirit this 2018.
1. “Cooking Up Something Good” — Mac DeMarco
This is the first track found on Canadian musician Mac DeMarco’s first full-length album “2.” It immediately captures the listener with its upbeat groove and gritty imagery.
DeMarco highlights his mother’s cooking to try to portray the typical American family. However, he follows this up mentioning his father cooks as well, though something a little more illicit. The chorus’ laid-back drawl accepts this drab home life, suggesting it fairs better to move on and pursue your own passions.
2. “Homeward Bound” — Simon & Garfunkel
Paul Simon of Simon & Garfunkel wrote the folk song “Homeward Bound” for the duo’s third album “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.”
The song has an aura of homesickness from constant touring and “one night stands” the band performs at each show. The song describes the alienation musicians can experience from touring constantly as cities begin to blend and people appear the same. Simon tries to keep home in his thoughts, the place where his songs and his beloved wait for him. This song implores the listener to keep a piece of home in their thoughts wherever they go.
3. “Family Trees Share Their Leaves” — Those Lavender Whales
“Family Trees Share Their Leaves” is a cute song by indie rock band Those Lavender Whales, coming from their sophomore album “Tomahawk of Praise.”
It has a homebody feel of recognizing that family is family, regardless of everything else. It whistles through its banjo twang and finds harmony with the narrator embracing his heredity. The looks of his father and the sense of humor of his mother make his familial bond stronger.
4. “Autumn Afternoon” — The Stone Poneys
From The Stone Poneys album “Evergreen Vol. 2,” the song “Autumn Afternoon” serves well for those wanting to set the scene for fall.
“Autumn Afternoon” is a mellow folk tune drawn out by the earthy vocals of Linda Ronstadt. It paints a beautiful picture of the season, cataloguing the changes surrounding us as the weather cools, leaving room for rebirth in the spring.
5. “Pork and Beans” — Weezer
The pop punk single from Weezer’s “Red album” rebels against a request for a more commercial aesthetic for the middle-aged rockers.
Coming off a twangy riff, lead vocalist Rivers Cuomo begins to list off hip items like Oakley shades and Rogaine to prevent hair loss. Cuomo declares he will eat candy with his pork and beans and not wear trendy clothes to stay hip. It’s a fun jam shunning authority with a catchy hook for that repressed youthful angst.
6. “Young Pilgrims” — The Shins
The song “Young Pilgrims” comes from rock band The Shins’ sophomore album“Chutes Too Narrow.” It features songs embracing the surrealism of their first album and treads on some folk and country for an easy listening experience.
The surreal lyrics talk of someone who finds enlightenment in his seasonal depression. Quaint ideas of barking sparrows, the fable of fate and piloting your craft into the sea can actually inspire the listener. The song concludes with a theme of courage found in the stories of the narrator’s youth. Listeners are beckoned to hold onto these stories as a means of overcoming life’s arduous obstacles.
7. “America (Never Been)” — Car Seat Headrest
“America (Never Been)” is the epic 7-minute track from garage rock band Car Seat Headrest’s EP “How to Leave Town.”
Songwriter Will Toledo was the only member of Car Seat Headrest at the time. Using “America (Never Been)” as his vessel, he writes about the beauty and frustrations of America. He rambles about traveling across the country, not having read Franz Kafka’s “Amerika” and even references Monopoly. It’s an epic, over-the-top patriotic tune with a great lo-fi jam to it.
8. “Ode To My Family” — The Cranberries
The hit album “No Need to Argue” from Irish rock band The Cranberries is probably most well-known for the successful single “Zombie.”
“Ode to My Family” is more harmonic than the grungy hit single, though. It reminisces on youth and the bond shared between the narrator and her parents who looked out for her. It’s a gentle track with bittersweet reflections and a catchy vocal delivery.
9. “Turkey Time” — Drug Cabin
“Turkey Time” is a psychedelic folk track from Drug Cabin’s album “Wiggle Room.”
It strolls on a funky rhythm of sliding guitars and leans back like a day at the beach. Its carefree attitude is like a de-stressor for the listener, just sitting back and enjoying the moment. It makes turkey time sound like the most groovy experience one can have.
10. “Sweet Potato” — Sia
“Sweet Potato” is an older track from Sia’s album “Colour the Small One.” It is the more alternative of her works and is an endearing love song.
The song feels very loose, like it was written spontaneously in the narrators head. It’s a track about a love that begin with the discovery of someone liking sweet potatoes. This becomes the center of a romance that is filled with lovers trying to intimately understand one another.
Bonus Track: “Black Friday” — Steely Dan
For those of you planning on Black Friday shopping, Steely Dan’s song “Black Friday” from the album “Katy Lied” is here for you during the carnage.
The song itself is not about the Black Friday shopping we all know and love, however. Rather, it’s a narrative about someone who makes his riches off of gold only to flee after the value of fortune has dropped. It’s a jam of jazz-rock with slick guitar solos from Walter Becker and good vibes for the oncoming onslaught of deal-hungry shoppers.