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10 Non-Holiday Records to Help Chill You Out this Holiday Season

Oh, it’s the most wonderful….and stressful time of the year. 

Admit it, while you’d like everything to be picture perfect every holiday season, there’s indeed moments where you……just want to cut an elf. 

We’re only human, right? It’s only natural to get a touch angst-y when driving around the mall for thirty minutes looking for a parking space. And you might have a bout of angered heat stroke because this is the time of year where every store feels like a million degrees and this long ass line you’re in sure isn’t helping anything.

And wait, there’s how many dogs on my shopping list this year?? Da f@#k? 

Yes, it all gets a little too extra this time of year. And while the jinglin’ beats of Mariah, Bing and Britney (plus trillions more) surely get the job done when it’s time feel all festive and stuff, they tend to have less an effect when you’re having a nervous breakdown in the middle of the Target parking lot. 

With that being said, it’s time to take a big ol’ seat (hey, it’s been a year..we all deserve it), kick back, take a sip, take a puff, and let the blissful non-jinglin’ sounds of Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light,’ Pure Moods, Jody Watley, Gorgon City, Miguel Migs, Bonnie Raitt, Fleetwood Mac, Sade, and the late, and still very great, Ms. Aaliyah help you get back to the true meaning of the spirit of the holidays. 

And searching high and low to find that perfect gift your co-worker’s Pomeranian isn’t it. No shade, Linda, no shade. 

Happy relaxing!! 

Aaliyah/All of Them While we may never know just where Ms. Aaliyah would be in her career if she were still with us today (anyone else ponder that thought, like, all of the time??), what we do know is that her precious catalog will always be the de-stressful gift that keeps on giving year after year. There’s simply no denying that the late diva’s hits like, “Back & Forth,” “Age Ain’t Nothin’ But a Number,” “Try Again,” “One in a Million,” “More than a Woman” and “Rock the Boat,” (just to name a delightful few) will always contain those special vibes to help us take a seat when it all gets a little too “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” this time of year. Plus, each one of ‘Liyah’s grooves reserve a certain type of sexy flair that’s still just so fly…not even your grandma can deny it.  Truth. Rest in Peace, Ms. Aaliyah.

Best of Pure Moods  Imagine a world where we couldn’t escape our troubles and sail away with the worlds greatest Celtic Diva, Ms. Enya? Yes, clutch those pearls because…..it would be like December without Christmas….truly shudder to think. And when you take a select few of her greatest sonnets and pair them up with the life brightening/pondering/wondering/living sounds and beats of DJ Dado (hey, ‘X Files’ theme), Enigma, Kenny G(!!), Robert Miles and David Byrne, among many others, well, you get one of the best damn reasons to actually have stress during the holidays. And bonus points if you remember those Time Life infomercials at your 2 a.m. drunk time in the late ’90s. Really, how can we ever, ever forget? But luckily for all of us, this compilation still has it and serves it out of the runway of this thing we call…life. Or is it? Either way, Pure Moods will always take us…there. 

 

Madonna/’Ray of Light’   First, it must be noted that Ms. Madge’s magnificent post-Lourdes outing turned twenty this year, so global respect must be paid. Second, well, that pretty much sums it all up as this record still holds to the key to the power of you just chillin’ the f@ck out this month. Whether it’s the soft, layered vocals delivered by the Kabbalah-worthy Material Girl on every track, or the spiritually charged production whirl of Ray beat master, William Orbit, there’s not a Scrooge in the world who won’t check themselves when it comes to this album…and yes, that means you. So, step into the Light because it’s gettin’ a bit stressful out there, and even if it’s not…do it. Your red stringed aura will thank you. 

Bonnie Raitt/Luck of the Draw  Yes, go ahead…get a little tipsy at the work holiday party and belt out “Can’t Make You Love Me” because he/she just broke up with you a few weeks before the holidays and it’s truly the only way to ease the pain without doing something to getting arrested/and/or get a restraining order. Hey, it’s the holidays, a touch of break up angst is bound to happen for some. But for those who may not be living the life of one of the most heartbreaking/real tracks ever recorded, the rest of the legendary Ms. Raitt’s 1990 breakthrough record has a little something for everybody and it will give them something to talk about…the days when music sounded as pure and smooth as this. Prepare to float and leave those December worries/that dreadful ex behind courtesy of everyone’s favorite Bonnie. 

Gorgon City/’Sirens’/’Escape’  Since it’s an unwritten rule that there’s absolutely no stress allowed on the dance floor at any times, let UK beat maestros Gorgon City take you well away from the ugh of it all and lead you under those shiny disco balls all holiday season long and beyond with their collection of werk. From hard-hitting romps (“Ready For Your Love,” “Go Deep,” “Kingdom”) to bubbly life-isms (“Night Drive,” “Here For You,” “All Four Walls”) to wondering if you’re going to snatch that Tinder/Grindr date just in time for the holidays (“Lover Like You”), Gorgon City has got a beat to get down to for you and yours..right now. So, drop that list and slowly step away from that mile-long gift wrapping line, these therapeutic grooves are calling you and it’s time to go..deep into the dancefloor. Yes. And bonus points if you request (be good to those DJs, y’all) GC’s JHud collaboration, “Go All Night,” at your holiday office party…that employee of the month spot is as good as yours. 

Miguel Migs/’Outside the Skyline’/’Dim Division’   After you’re done sweatin’ out the stress thanks to the power of all of it provided by Gorgon City, take a seat to a serving of an even deeper life whirled up by San Francisco dance mogul, Miguel Migs. With each slow, steady breath of each one of the tracks on not one, but two of his sensational full length sets, it’s almost a guarantee that not only will you be brought back to life after the six-hour shopping excursion you just put yourself through, but you might just become a better person and feel bad about throwing shade to that Salvation Army Santa..maybe..probably not. But either way, you’ll get to the know the names Lisa Shaw and Meshell N’degeocello and all shade and hate will be cast aside. It’s that powerful…it’s deep house, kids, and it can truly lead to holiday miracles. Listen up. 

Fleetwood Mac/Greatest Hits While any one of the legendary rockers’ studio sets are guaranteed to give you and your silk scarves a night of twirlin’ like nobody’s watchin,’ their greatest hits collection is where it’s at when you need to unwind from the holiday madness–“Rhiannon,” “Gypsy,” “Little Lies,” “Hold Me,” “Dreams,” “Everywhere.” They’re all blissfully right here. And even if you want to use “Don’t Stop” as your last-minute shopping anthem, it’s all good as long as these undeniable grooves are contentedly filling your stocking…of life. Ready, set, twirl. And who’s ready to see them take over Wells Fargo Center on April 5th? Everyone and their AHS lovin’ mother. 

Sade/Greatest Hits   Sorry, there’s just nothing to say here because silence is preferred when it comes to getting lost in every single of these life-altering numbers. “Hang on to Your Love,” “No Ordinary Love,” ‘The Sweetest Taboo,” ‘Soldier of Love,” Smooth Operator.” Yes, yes and ahhhh. But you see, what it really comes down to….is that if you don’t feel just a tinge of reinvented well-being when taking in Sade’s greatest grooves, then you really are The Grinch…really. 

Jody Watley/’Paradise’   While indeed it’s absolutely necessary to let that perm down and cut a rug to any one of Ms. Watley’s late ’80s/early ’90s treasures (“Don’t You Want Me”…yes), there’s just something special about her 2014 set as it’s laced with any kind of vibe you could ever want to fall into. Because you know what they say, a little disco(“Nightlife”), a little funk (“The Dawn”), and a little diva makes everything nice. But perhaps it’s stated best in closer, “Sanctuary” with the line, “De-stress, unwind…cherish the time,” as that what’s it’s truly about this time of year…not your panicked state. So, calm down and..enjoy your damn life. This album will certainly help, and it’s Ms. Watley we’re reveling in, so immediate respect must be paid. 

Your Very Own….Since this time of year is all about using your imagination, close your eyes and let the stress of the holiday season lead you miles away from the nearest elf. Because sometimes it’s not all Mariah, candy canes and Santa’s lap, and it’s all good.

Have a happy, healthy and (slightly) stress free holiday, everyone!! 

Cover photo courtesy of Sade and, like, life and stuff.