Ah, Thanksgiving—the annual autumn holiday that stores ignore while scrambling to decorate for Christmas. For many people, Thanksgiving is a day to watch football and sit down with family or friends and eat delicious food. For others, Thanksgiving is a time to engage in heated family political debates, endure criticisms for lifestyle choices and get sucked into drunken arguments over board games. But no matter how you celebrate this holiday, every kind of Thanksgiving deserves a good soundtrack. Here are seven songs to poignantly accompany any type of Thanksgiving event.
1. Queen, “You’re My Best Friend”
Best for: Friendsgiving
Spending time with the friends you consider your family is often better than spending time with your actual family. Hosting Friendsgiving is a great excuse to have people over to share some food, drinks and Thanksgiving traditions and no real friend will complain when you throw on some Queen. Play this sweet-as-pie track while appreciating that you are in the presence of people that are always there for you after a bad day, who have endless patience with your on-again-off-again relationship and will forgive you when you lose that item they let you borrow. Friends are the family you make, and this is a moment to be grateful that you have made such a stellar one. “Ooh you make me live.”
2. Alanis Morissette, “Hand in My Pocket”
Best for: Thanksgiving With Your (Often Difficult) Family
Just because you love your family does not mean you always have to like them. So when your aunt and mother begin peppering you with the inevitable question barrage (“When are you going to find a real job?” “Is that what you are going to wear to dinner?”), just make a flimsy excuse and slip out the back door for some much-needed fresh air. Toss on your headphones and walk down your childhood block as you treat yourself to a track off of Jagged Little Pill, an album you may have listened to in this same spot some 20 years ago. Sing along, sing out loud and know everything is just “fine fine fine” even if your parents turned your room into a home gym. You are sure to return to the house with a rejuvenated level of patience that may even last through dessert.
3. Ozzy Osbourne, “Crazy Train”
Best for: Thanksgiving With Your Partner’s (Often Difficult) Family
“All aboooaaard” the 2016 edition of your mandatory holiday dinner with the in-laws! You’d be hard-pressed to find a better guitar intro to blast while angrily picking scallions out of the mashed potatoes for your sister-in-law who claims to have developed a sudden allergy. “Learn how to love and forget how to hate” as your boyfriend’s father goes on a rant about refugees taking all the jobs. Silently scream that you are “goin’ off the rails on a crazy train” when your girlfriend’s mother asks for the hundredth time when you are going to stop working long hours and have a baby already because time is ticking. Bonus points if you hum the song to yourself while locked in the bathroom enjoying a shot of the whiskey you hid in the hamper.
4. Lady Gaga featuring Florence Welch, “Hey Girl”
Best for: Thanksgiving With Your Girlfriends
Maybe your best girlfriend can’t make it home for Thanksgiving this year. Or maybe she just broke up with someone and her plans got cancelled. Or maybe you just asked your closest ladies over to give thanks for their endless love and support. Whatever it may be, end the night by blasting this track off of Lady Gaga’s latest album. “Help me hold my hair back / Walk me home ‘cause I can’t find a cab / And we dance down the Bowery / Held hands like we were 17 again.” Drink champagne and sway around your apartment and remember that these are the women who will be there for you through thick and thin and you are all lucky to have one another today and every day.
5. Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, “Home”
Best for: Thanksgiving as a Couple
Okay, so you didn’t listen to your mother and you and your partner waited too long to buy those plane tickets home and now they are bananas expensive. Instead of getting upset about being away from your usual holiday destination, give thanks that you have someone you love to spend the day with. Enjoy the simple act of preparing a meal together (or the joy of ordering one in) and dance in your living room to this lovely and upbeat Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros tune. “Home” celebrates the idea that what feels most comfortable and right doesn’t have to be a tangible place, and what better moment to express that sentiment to the person you love?
6. La Roux, “Bulletproof”
Best for: First Thanksgiving as The Host
You were excited when you first agreed to host Thanksgiving and now all you feel is fear. What if the turkey is dry? What if everyone notices that your Pinterest gourd project looks nothing like the picture on the website? What if you have too many scalloped potatoes and not enough yams? Take a deep breath and blast La Roux’s empowering club anthem “Bulletproof” through your speakers while setting the table. Stop criticizing and second-guessing yourself, and don’t give any mind to anyone who would bring you down when you tried this hard. You got this. They’ll love it. And if they don’t then to hell with them anyway, fire away fire away.
7. Tame Impala, “Solitude Is Bliss”
Best for: Thanksgiving For One
Who is to say you have to celebrate Thanksgiving at all? It’s expensive to travel, you’ll see your family next month for more holidays and you can make double overtime if you take a shift at work. Whether you spend your Thursday in a bar or in your office or at home with some Thai food, enjoy this moment and celebrate yourself. Tame Impala’s “Solitude is Bliss” may be one of the best tracks for your solo holiday, providing the ideal upbeat and dreamy soundtrack. The lyrics strike just the right balance between empowering and snarky with lines like, “Movement doesn’t flow quite like it does when I’m alone / I’ll be the one who’s free / You and all your friends can watch me / today don’t ask me how you’re supposed to feel.” Do what you want and enjoy some time with me, myself and I.