By Buck Cooke
Fear not, gift givers. Music is perfect gift, even for those who you think are impossible to buy for. Here are some fresh pop treasures to please the ear of even the most discerning men in your life.
We have your hookup to the pitch-perfect present, whether the gays on your hard-to-buy-for list like new holiday music by favorite artists, just-released non-holiday gems by heavy hitters, or keepsake box sets, music provides awesome choices for seasonal giving.
It was just a matter of time before Christmas got gayer and the holiday album from the Aussie pop princess certainly brings the sparkle as you deck the halls. The lead single “Only You” features a surprising yet heart-warming duet with James Corden, and the album mixes in traditional holiday tunes like “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” with a disco banger “100 Degrees” recorded with little sister Dannii. Frank Sinatra posthumously joins Kylie for “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and Iggy Pop, of all people, turns up on “Christmas Wrapping.”
RuPaul gathers Michelle Visage and the Pit Crew to help her with her second holiday album. Ru set the bar pretty high with 1997’s “Ho, Ho, Ho” and “Slay Belles” treads the same tongue-in-cheek territory. Todrick Hall, Big Freedia, Ellis Miah, Markaholic, and Grammy winner Siedah Garrett join in the fun. Listen for “Merry Christmas, Mary” at a gay Christmas party near you.
Stars of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”
Not to be outdone by their mentor, Sharon Needles, Ginger Minj, Alaska Thunderfuck, Miss Fame, Katya, and more assemble for an unusual holiday offering and follow in Mama Ru’s heels. Atlanta’s own Violet Chachki gives “The Night Before Christmas” an S&M twist, and Minj blends all the holidays together on “Christma-Hannu-Kwanza-Ka.” Your grandma might not love it but you’ll probably chuckle as you listen to these bent carols from our favorite kweens.
“Today is Christmas”
The country (and sometimes pop) crooner offers up a second full-length holiday album after she teased fans last year with a Christmas EP. There are new tracks and old favorites, so warm your chestnuts with Rimes and pals Gavin DeGraw and Aloe Blacc lending a hand on a few tracks.
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
“It’s a Holiday Soul Party”
Jones’ vocals are honey-soaked and perfect for a jazzy and, yes, soulful Christmas offering. Look for classics like “Silent Night,” “Silver Bells,” and “White Christmas” along with newer material, including “Ain’t No Christmas in the Projects,” “8 Days of Hanukkah,” and “God Rest Ye Merry Gents.”
“That’s Christmas to Me” Deluxe Edition
The a cappella super group re-releases their holiday album from last year, but this time with five new tracks, including “Joy to the World,” “The First Noel,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Recent releases & BOX SETS
If you’ve been under a rock, catch up: Adele is back, and everyone lost their damned minds! In a good way. The debut single “Hello” blew away every sales record for the year and rocketed to No. 1 on the charts, and the rest of the album is sure to delight fans. Adele says she was inspired by Madonna’s “Ray of Light,” so get ready for big things from Our Lady of Sorrow and Heartache.
“A Head Full of Dreams”
If you believe the hype, this is the band’s final album, so enjoy the music while it lasts. Lead single “Adventure of a Lifetime” features midtempo rock pop from the Brits with a little disco-esque flair. Tove Lo turns up on “Fun” and Beyonce and Noel Gallagher of Oasis are also along for the ride.
The dance darling offers up more music crafted for pop radio, like lead single “On My Mind” and “Aftertaste.” “Something in the Way You Move” is an excellent dance pop ditty (and is not a cover of the James Taylor classic) and “I Do What I Love” offers up hip-hop flavored pop. Smash hits “Love Me Like You Do” from the “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack and Calvin Harris’ collaboration with Goulding, “Outside,” are included as well, so get out your dancing shoes and get down.
“Jagged Little Pill” Collector’s Edition
Released on the 20th anniversary of this groundbreaking album, Morissette offers up a plethora of music, including a new remastered version of the classic album, the acoustic version from a few years ago, demos from her writing sessions with Glen Ballard, and a 1995 performance album recorded in London. With 48 tracks in all, that’s a lot of anger and catharsis, and that’s a good thing.
“Always – The Very Best of Erasure”
Andy Bell and Vince Clark are celebrating 30 years of crafting slick pop music with an extensive greatest hits package. All the biggest hits are here – “Chains of Love,” “Breathe,” “Take a Chance on Me,” “A Little Respect” – and there are new remixes and rare versions from the past, but it’s only available as an import. There’s also a slamming import remix single of “Always” as well, so check that out.