Set the Scene this Thanksgiving with EDGE's Queerish Holiday Playlist

by Christopher Ehlers

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday November 25, 2022
Originally published on November 23, 2022

Sure, the food on Thanksgiving matters, but perhaps more important to set the scene and help get things moving is the music. And it will come as no surprise to anyone reading this that if there's one thing at a party that most queer people have an opinion about, it's the playlist.

Thanksgiving is a hard vibe to nail — It's too early for Christmas music, but it's too elegant an evening for something clubby. And given that Thanksgiving is often an event that brings together multiple generations of people, you've got to curate something that, however gay-adjacent it may be, appeals to young and old alike.

Here's our stab at it this year:

Next to Me, Emeli Sande

This hit by queer artist Emile Sande always hits the spot.

Thanksgiving Theme, Vince Guaraldi Trio

You can't go without this, can you?

Home, Michael Buble

Corny but so good. Grandma will love it, plus he's cute as hell.

Better, Khalid

Khalid is always a vibe, and "Better" is just the thing for setting a mood while keeping things moving.

Can't Help Falling in Love, Kacey Musgraves

Any one of Kacey's songs could be on this playlist, but we love this new spin on an old classic.

Be Thankful for What You Got, William DeVaughn

Classic, retro, and warm, it's what Thanksgiving is all about.

Anything Goes, Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga

Both of Gaga and Bennett's albums would be the perfect Thanksgiving dinner playlist, but we're partial to this Cole Porter classic.

Thinkin Bout You, Frank Ocean

This R&B classic by queer icon Frank Ocean is always a sure bet, and it slips nicely into just about every mood.

Right on Time, Brandi Carlile

While we were tempted to put all of her devastating "By the Way, I Forgive You" breakup album on this list, that's not quite the vibe for Thanksgiving. Instead, we went with this crowd-pleaser and last year's nominee for Record and Song of the Year.

Autumn In New York, Billie Holiday

It has to be there, don't you think?

At This Table, Idina Menzel

A song that she co-wrote for her "Christmas: A Season of Love" album, it's easy to dismiss it as corny. But really, what Thanksgiving table couldn't use its message of inclusion, acceptance, and validation?

Home, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

A crowd-pleaser since the day it was released, this modern classic offers the perfect soundtrack for being around those you love.

Electric, Alina Baraz & Khalid

Chill, sexy, enigmatic, yet somehow comfortable, this is great for when the cocktails are flowing after dinner.

Japanese Denim, Daniel Caesar

Speaking of after dinner, whether you're lazing on the couch with a scotch and your pants unbuttoned or gearing up for something sweet, this perfect R&B song is just the thing.

Evergreen, Omar Apollo

One of the brightest up-and-coming singer/songwriters on the planet, newly minted Grammy nominee Omar Apollo deserves a spot at all of our tables this year.

Positions, Ariana Grande

Light enough to be background music and familiar enough to keep things moving, "Positions" is Ari's gift that keeps on giving.

Wildest Dreams, Taylor Swift

There are about 45 Taylor Swift songs that could be on this playlist, but we're sticking with "Wildest Dreams" from "1989," which was released a month before Thanksgiving in 2014 and has served on our kitchen prep playlist for the last seven years and counting.

Perfect Places, Lorde

Infectious, familiar, and a bit sad — just like all the best holiday gatherings.

The Greatest, Lana Del Rey

While we'd be thrilled with a Thanksgiving soundtrack comprised entirely of Lana Del Rey songs, we'll spare you all by selecting only one. This, the best song off her seminal "Norman Fucking Rockwell," fits the vibe the best.

I Drink Wine, Adele

If wine is good enough for Adele, it's good enough for us.

Out of Time, The Weeknd

A standout hit from this year's "Dawn FM" album, this chic groove from the Dark King of Pop (a moniker we just made up) is just right.

I'm Not the Only One, Sam Smith

Grandma approved, this Sam Smith classic is still a welcome earworm.

That's the Way Love Goes, Janet Jackson

Classic, smooth, and understated, this Janet classic is a cocktail party classic.

On a Night Like This, Kylie Minogue

The original version of this dance track is fun, but it's the stripped-down 2012 version of her "Abbey Road Sessions" album that remains intoxicating.

I Say a Little Prayer, Aretha Franklin

Every Thanksgiving table across America would benefit from a "My Best Friend's Wedding"-like singalong to this classic.

Smooth Operator, Sade

Smooth, timeless, sexy, chic...we could go on and on. No party is complete without Sade, if you ask us.

Never Forget You, The Noisettes

The Noisettes seemed poised for superstardom around the time that their "Wild Young Hearts" album was released in 2011, but they quickly faded back into obscurity. Still, this entire album remains a modern classic, and brings a certain "where have I heard this before?" to the dinner table.

Hold Me Closer, Elton John & Britney Spears

Good for the gays, good for grandma, this is what we call a win-win.

Passionfruit, Drake

Probably the most vibey song that Drake has ever released, this track blends perfectly into the background of whatever else is going on, whether it be dinner, drinks or...something else entirely.

Mystery of Love, Sufjan Stevens

What would a queerish playlist be without a queer love song? While those who have seen "Call Me By Your Name" might burst into tears at the opening cords to this song, it will seem like nothing more than sweet background music to others. Just no talk of cannibalism, OK?