• The Top Albums of 2013 – #81 to #90

    Here's #81 through #90 in our selections for the Top 100 Albums of 2013.

    #81. 12 Stories by Brandy Clark

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  • The Top 100 Albums of 2013 – #91 to #100

    This is the last entry in our Top 100 Albums of 2013 series.

    #91. Everlasting Light by The Proctors

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  • A Classic Rock Christmas

    What constitutes "classic rock" is a matter of debate. There's a fine line when it comes to 50s rock, should it be classified as "classic" or "oldies"? How old does a song have to be to be considered "classic rock"? Has the term come to describe a style, rather than an age?

    My criteria is a bit simpler. Is it a song I would hear on AOR or Classic Rock radio? If so, I have no qualms about classifying it as "Classic Rock".

    Classic Rock has a plethora of Christmas recordings to choose from, and for many, these songs are more palatable than tradition Christmas recordings.

    This playlist includes an hour and a half of Classic Rock Christmas songs.

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  • A Hip-Hop Christmas

    Is wasn't long after hip-hop was invented that we had our first hip-hop Christmas songs. The most famous is also one of the earliest. "Christmas in Hollis" by Run D.M.C. is a Christmas song that has entered the yearly rotation, and will most likely live as long as Santa himself.

    "Christmas Rappin'" by Kurtis Blow is also an early rap Christmas song, and in fact, it was the first rap song to ever be released by a major label.

    If you're a hip-hop fan, this is a must-have holiday soundtrack. The playlist includes Christmas songs by Run D.M.C., Kurtis Blow, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, Jim Jones, Ludacris, Ying Yang Twins, David Banner, Afroman and more.

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  • Snow Songs

    Are you sick of the same old Christmas songs that you've hear a million times, but still want to stay connected to the season?

    Well, this playlist may be worth a go. It includes songs that have snow as their foundational theme.

    I live in an area that experiences seasons, but we are far enough South that snow is a rare and welcome occurrence. I know many of my friends in the North are over snow, while my friends further South take vacations just to see some. But here, we have the best of both worlds. When it does snow, it's an exciting event! But it's usually gone before it wears out its welcome.

    This playlists includes worthy, but less heard songs about snow.

    Here's wishing you a white Christmas!

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  • A Classic Alternative Rock Christmas

    Every genre of music has its fair share of popular Christmas recordings. And as someone who grew on on alternative rock, it made sense for me to do a playlist of Christmas songs by popular alternative rock bands.

    There are more songs than you would think, but the most successful original Christmas song by an alt rock act is probably "Christmas Wrapping" by the Waitresses. The song was written at the request of the band's record label who wanted to release a Christmas compilation album. The song title is a reference to the singing style, which was very close to rapping (i.e."wrapping"). It went on to become one of the most memorable, original, Christmas songs of the 1980s.

    This playlist kicks off with this hit song by the Waitresses, and is followed up with some other successful, and not so successful songs from the same period.

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  • An Outlaw Country Christmas

    Country music is known for having a strong family values streak. It's wholesome, unapologetically American, and unafraid to show emotion. But there is a dark side to country music, and in my opinion, it's the good stuff.

    Outlaw country was most popular during the 60s and 70s, but there are many artists who have kept the bad boy (and bad girl) image going strong.

    For this playlist I've pulled together 11 Christmas songs as performed by classic outlaw country artists.

    And for the most part, they behave themselves.

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  • An Instrumental Christmas Playlist

    It's that time of year when Christmas music is everywhere. And I will freely admit that I would rather be stricken with food poisoning than hear "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" again.

    However, Christmas without Christmas music would be unbearably sad. Music provides the soundtrack for our lives, and the holiday season is always a feature film.

    One of the best ways to add a positive undertone to your Christmas festivities, without being overbearing, is to put on instrumental versions of Christmas songs. It's a great way to stay in the spirit of Christmas without the repetitious grating.

    For this playlist I've picked out 30 excellent instrumental Christmas songs that will be perfect for your Christmas dinner party or on Christmas morning.

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  • 50 Classic Christmas Songs

    Every Christmas season brings a rush of artists releasing Christmas albums. Each one trying to leave their mark on history. The majority are remakes of Christmas song classics, but there are also brand new Christmas songs released each year.

    Creating a "hit" Christmas song is very hard to do. I think the reason is because of how much nostalgia there is around the holidays. We all associate fond memories of Christmas past with the music we heard at the time. This means great Christmas recordings tend to be passed down from generation to generation, and this is something that's really hard to break into. But for those artists who can, it means a lifetime of Christmas bonus checks in the form of royalties.

    For this playlist I've picked out 50 classic Christmas songs that you'll hear every year. Each one has passed the test of time and show no sign of disappearing.

    So if you're a fan of traditional Christmas songs, this is the playlist for you.

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  • Songs About Santa Claus

    The Santa Claus we know today is largely based on the Dutch figure "Sinterklaas", who was based on the real-life Saint Nicholas, a Greek bishop from the 4th century. Nicholas is a saint that is said to have been responsible for great miracles, including bringing the dead back to life.

    One of the most popular stories of Saint Nicholas has to do with a poor man and his three daughters. Since the man could not afford a dowry, his daughters were bound for a life of prostitution since they would remain unmarried, and unable to earn a living any other way. It is said that St. Nicholas heard of the families plight, and secretly delivered gold to the family right before each daughter came of age. St. Nicholas wanted to keep his charity a secret, so when one of the daughter's came of age he dropped a sack full of gold down the chimney where it landed in the girl's stocking, which was hung on the fireplace mantel to dry.

    You can probably see where this bit of folklore led.

    This playlist includes contemporary versions of songs inspired by Santa Claus, the most famous and beloved person for millions of children across the world.

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