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During the final days of autumn we remember myriad things we’re thankful for, including the Thanksgiving holiday itself. What’s better than the modern American tradition of taking the day off to eat turkey and pie with your family while watching football? Although it’s already a close-to-perfect holiday, we can make your Thanksgiving even better with one of our expertly-curated, family-friendly playlists.
Warm, Rich & Autumnal Music
Perfectly capturing the feeling of the fall season, these playlists will instantly put you in a Thanksgiving state of mind.
An Acoustic Thanksgiving
Warm, rootsy, acoustic music to get cozy with on Thanksgiving.
A collection of warm acoustic songs, handpicked for enjoying the crisp autumn air, fall foliage, and hot apple cider.
Home Is Where the Hearth Is
Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year. Whether you're on your way home or already there, these warm, intimate songs will help you relax and reflect at the start of the holiday onslaught.
A classic folk soundtrack for an after-dinner bonfire with good friends or family. Throw a log on the fire, share a blanket and pass the wine.
Vintage Cooking Music
Cooking a classic turkey dinner calls for listening to some classic music. These fun, vintage playlists will attract everyone to the kitchen.
Good Ol' Time Eatin'
These are good, old songs about food. It's the perfect upbeat soundtrack for cooking comfort food.
Lush and Plush
From World War II through the early '60s, The Golden Age of Big Band Jazz brought us some of the greatest interpreters of song, arguably ever. This velvet sound is the stuff of legend.
Easy Street, Fat City
From the foot-tapping rhythms of early R&B to the slicked-back twang of rockabilly, these vintage tunes will have you dancing in the kitchen.
Get down with these soul and R&B classics -- most of which are about food -- at your Thanksgiving barbecue.
The World of Ray Charles
Welcome to the world of Ray Charles, where you'll encounter not only monumental cuts from the man who melded blues, soul, country, jazz, and gospel into a harmonious whole, but also some titanic tracks by Brother Ray's influences, peers, and disciples.
Beautiful Dinner Music
Need some beautiful background music for your Thanksgiving dinner? One of these playlists will do the trick.
Thanksgiving Dinner Jazz
The perfect selection of classic vocal jazz and American standards for a classy Thanksgiving dinner with the family.
Classical for Autumn
A sophisticated, earthy soundtrack of classical music inspired by autumn. Listen closely and you'll hear leaves changing color.
Solo Jazz Guitar
Bring together 10 fingers, one guitar, and a head full of jazz, and a whole world will spring into view right before your very ears. Listen to these solo-guitar performances by some of the finest fretmasters ever to sling a jazz axe.
Family-friendly: Classic Hits
Playlists that the whole family can enjoy are crucial for this holiday. Try any of these classic collections of great hit songs.
Songs to Raise Your Kids To
Every kid needs to grow up with great music. These are the classic songs you should sing with (and to) your kids.
Entertaining with Soul
Entertain your guests with this collection of old school R&B, Motown, and soul, featuring the biggest names on the scene in the 1960s and '70s.
Timeless Pop/Rock Hits
Musical styles come and go, but some songs will always sound great. This collection of upbeat pop and rock songs from the '60s, '70s and '80s is perfect for the workday or the weekend.
Papa Was a Rolling Stone
Party songs for a Baby Boomer dad that can be enjoyed by mixed company, even his Millennial kids. Culled from six decades worth of music, this collection is packed with classic party-starters and plenty of worthy surprises too.
The Ultimate Oldies Party
Kick off your shoes and twist the night away to infectiously upbeat songs everyone knows by heart: the most fun rock, soul, and doo wop cuts from the '50s and '60s.
Relax and unwind with these smooth soul and R&B songs (hand-selected by music aficionado, and NBA star, Baron Davis).
You can’t always make it to Mom & Dad’s for Thanksgiving; if you’re young and producing your own Thanksgiving dinner this year, you might enjoy one of these indie or alternative playlists.
This playlist brings to mind autumn's greatest perk: sweater weather. Spend a cool, crisp day with friends and this earthy mix of easy-going rock from the '60s to today.
At The Farmer's Market
While you're shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, enjoy a selection of indie tracks as fresh as the produce you're buying.
Indie Roots Rock
Songs by indie artists that are strongly influenced by traditional roots rock, bluegrass, and country. Rootsy and rough around the edges.
Autumn on Your Mind
Not simply songs about autumn, but alternative tunes that bear an autumnal vibe, from melancholy piano ballads to rustic folk, these songs will give you that falling-leaves-and-chilly-breeze feeling.
Family-friendly: Today’s Hits
Is your family hip to the new stuff? Then try one of these family-friendly playlists full of today’s hit songs.
Hot 100 (Clean Lyrics)
Since 1958, Billboard's Hot 100 chart has been America's barometer of song popularity. This playlist includes edited versions of the most recent additions to the Hot 100.
Today's Upbeat Country Hits
Nothing but today's upbeat and rockin' country songs. No ballads or soft stuff.
Today's Happy Pop Hits
Need a serious pick-me-up? Feeling blue? This is just what the doctor ordered. Packed with only the biggest and happiest hit songs of the past two years, this playlist will make everything better. Like, 1000x better.
Enjoy the best soft and soothing pop songs from the '90s through today. The perfect soundtrack to melt away the stress of your day.
Bonus Playlist: If you’re watching football or playing two-hand touch in the yard, get pumped up with Gridiron Glory, our epic-sounding collection of scores from NFL Films and Hollywood football movies.
There have been better movies made in 2012 -- "Lincoln," "Silver Linings Playbook," "Argo," and plenty more; this has been a pretty fertile year -- but none were as much fun as "Pitch Perfect." The a cappella comedy, an amalgam of "Glee," "Mean Girls" and "Bring It On," is the feel-good movie of forever? Let's just say forever and be done with it. Buoyed by a toe-tapping soundtrack of covers (Kelly Clarkson! Ace of Base!) and a true break-out turn from Rebel Wilson (think: Zach Galifianakis + Melissa McCarthey), "Pitch Perfect" is the only film this year that I applauded during. Twice. Chills, y'all. It's aca-perfection. -- Christoper Rosen
Not to go all Stefon here, but you know that thing, where an actor who you previously thought could do only one thing, does something else and it totally blows your mind and makes everything before it seem irrelevant? That's Bradley Cooper in "Silver Linings Playbook." Playing a bipolar man recently released from a mental hospital and trying to piece his life back together, Cooper is razor-sharp, equal parts hilarious, heartbreaking and manic. It's the type of tight-rope walk that could have been a career killer. Instead, it makes Cooper one of the most interesting leading men to watch over the next decade. Free this man from "The Hangover" franchise and let him become the next Edward Norton. -- Christopher Rosen
Actual lyrics from Ke$ha's "C'mon," the second track off the ridiculous singer's newest album, "Warrior": "Feeling like I’m a high schooler / Sipping on a warm wine cooler / Hot ’cause the party don’t stop, I’m in a crop top like I’m working at Hooters / We been keepin’ it PG, But I wanna get a little frisky / Come gimme some of that, yum like a lollipop, let me set you free." Later, she rhymes "sabertooth tiger" with "Budweiser" and "Kosher" with "get it on, for sure." You can mock Ke$ha for her dollar sign, ghost sex and the fact that she probably bleeds glitter, but a better pop lyricist might not exist. No one understands the absurdity of Top-40 like Ke$ha; she's like Katy Perry with a sense of humor. -- Christopher Rosen
Taylor Swift's "Red," a great album, features some of Swift's most egregious and hilarious uses of talk-singing. You know, like on "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" when she's like, "That indie record that's much cooler than mine"? Or on "22" when she's like, "Who's Taylor Swift, anyway? Ew." Or on "Stay Stay Stay" when she's like "Let's talk" (and kind of that part where she's like, "You carry my groceries")? Swift makes those bon mots sound straight-up terrifying, like she's one step away from pulling out a voodoo doll. Lost in all her bubblegum pop and Trapper Keeper boyfriends is a woman scorned waiting to be unleashed. Can't wait for her to record some variation on "You Oughta Know" and just burn the internet down. -- Christopher Rosen
As "Magic Mike" and the People magazine Sexiest Man Alive honor can attest, 2012 is the year of Channing Tatum. It was "21 Jump Street," however, that might have been his biggest contribution to the calendar. Tatum stole the film from his funny co-stars (sorry, Jonah Hill), at once rendering any mockery of his career almost moot. This guy is so in-on-the-joke that he made the joke before anyone else could. Alternatively, "F--k you, science." -- Christopher Rosen
West Coast rap is back, and it feels good. Lamar's outstanding debut studio LP, "good kid, mAAd City," started a fire in the hip-hop community, with countless Twitter pundits going back and forth about whether or not the album is a "rap classic." What was thankfully not lost in the shuffle was Lamar's eloquent handling of sensitive subject matter. His treatment of Compton's poverty and crime stands out in a space presently dominated by the likes of brash, irresponsible Chicago gangbangers like Chief Keef and Lil' Reese. Of course, the disc sounds amazing, too. Lamar weaves between flows and voices with a reassuring ease that makes "good kid, mAAd City" a must for any end of the year lists. -- Kia Makarechi
Yes, Abel Tesfaye's songs universally concern themselves with a certain drug-fueled form of seduction (mostly of your girlfriend and women other than his) and they're extremely consistent sonically, but there was something refreshing about his three EPs. Delivered on time and textured, the once-shadowy figure made in impression last year -- one that he followed up with the release of "Triology," a compilation of "House of Balloons," "Thursday" and "Echoes of Silence" that came with a touch of new material. Throw in Miguel, whose "Kaleidoscope" put R&B back on Top 40 radio, and there's plenty of reason to believe that the resurgence of trap in hip-hop isn't going to wipe soul off the airwaves. -- Kia Makarechi
Deuce's album is fun, but it's no masterpiece. Lyrics border on lazy, and sometimes they shine the brightest when we're wondering if he even knows he's being funny ("Before Benihana's, it was canned goods"). But in the man formerly known as Tity Boi, America found a genial rapper who knew the value of a second chance. And come election time, Chainz was there to educate ex-felons on how they could head back to the polls and reclaim their vote. All this without mention of his social media accounts, where he shows us meals full of healthy options like turkey burgers "wit the works" and recounts eating tomatoes picked out of his backyard ("pretty good"). A keeper, all around. -- Kia Makarechi
We confess to having made a cottage industry out of covering the sometimes insightful, sometimes mind-numbing political musings of everyone from Betty White to Stacey Dash. We felt these voices deserved a place on our page because popular culture should not shy away from politics. But just like actual pundits, most of what these entertainment figures said came with a short shelf life, replaced the next day by a brasher voice or a bigger wallet. Of course, there were some narratives I'm glad we traced -- Barack Obama's decision to place hip-hop at the forefront of his campaign, the GOP's breathless excitement at the prospect of having a Hollywood giant like Clint Eastwood support them (and subsequent shock that things didn't go as planned). But there's a limited amount of energy one can expend on celebrity endorsements, and we certainly approached it this election cycle. -- Kia Makarechi
The "rise of electronic dance music" has been think-pieced to death, but watching a community of producers and DJs deal with the new spotlight is worth the unnecessary theorizing. First there was Deadmau5' feud with Madonna, a battle between a young artist with no care for PR spin and a fading icon trying to stay relevant by co-opting an emerging world. Then there was Deadmau5' feud with all DJs. A-Trak thoughtfully responded to on HuffPost, reframing the debate in a manner that's more to the point. How the "scene" -- born in part from a decades-long, rich history of complexm usic -- matures from here will depend mostly on the countless bloggers, critics and festival-attendees: Will an emphasis on quality emerge, or will the majority of EDM fans rest easy on popular bangers? Coming to a 2013 think-piece near you. -- Kia Makarechi
Since the last episode of "Sex and the City" in 2004, 20-somethings (often those moving to New York City to chase their dreams) have been looking for a show to fill the void. "Girls" isn't that. There are no dreamy shots of a pantsless Lena Dunham quipping "I couldn't help but wonder..." while typing away at her laptop in her disturbingly large Upper East Side apartment. There are no giggly discussions amongst teens about who in the clique is the "Marnie." And yet, "Girls" satisfies all the same. Maybe it's the striking way in which the show manages to hit entirely too close to home while still feeling beyond foreign and bizarre. Maybe it's that as sad and frustrating as Hannah is, you're still rooting for her to get a healthy relationship and a well-paid job. Or maybe, just maybe, it's the simple fact that Dunham recognized the incredible therapeutic quality of getting down in your bedroom to Robyn's "Dancing On My Own." Either way, the return of "Girls" on Jan. 13 can't come soon enough. -- Madeline Boardman
Something incredibly bizarre happened to me this year. I realized I had accidentally become a fan of P!nk. P!nk will get you like that. She sneaks into your subconscious with her upbeat melodies and quotable lyrics -- "Dont be fancy, just get dancey," anyone? That stuff is gold. P!nk released her first album in 2000 and has been slowly but surely churning out hits over the 12 years since. With her astonishing lack of PR stunts to keep herself relevant, P!nk just keeps delivering. 2012 gave us P!nk's latest hit, "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)," and honestly girl, I'll raise my glass to that. -- Madeline Boardman
It was a dark day in 2010 when Oprah announced that she would be airing her final "Favorite Things" episode. The birth of the beautiful phrase "You get a car and you get a car and you get a car," Favorite Things was a yearly exercise in over-the-top television absurdity, and the most jealous anyone will ever be of a random middle-aged woman from Wyoming who happened to be in the audience. Then, something magical happened. Oprah brought back Favorite Things this year - and not just the in-studio part where she gives away the gifts, but an hour of behind-the-scenes footage showing Oprah dancing in Macy's and Gayle munching on everything in sight. All I can say is, thank you, Oprah. Nothing will give you the warm-fuzzies like watching a bellowing Oprah hand out cable-knit sweaters and elliptical machines. -- Madeline Boardman
For more than ten years, people in Seattle have been bumping songs by a red-headed rapper named Macklemore. Born Ben Haggerty, 2012 was a huge year for Macklemore. After continually climbing the charts and slowly gaining acclaim and influence, Macklemore found himself with the No. 1 album on iTunes with the release of his record "The Heist." Aided in large part by his collaboration with Ryan Lewis, Macklemore debuted two big hits this year, "Same Love," an eloquent take on the relationship between homosexuality and hip-hop, and "Thrift Shop," a fun track with an even better music video, glorifying second-hand shopping. "Same Love" even landed Macklemore and Lewis on "The Ellen Show." Currently performing sold-out shows across the world from Amsterdam and Oslo to Missoula, Montana, 2012 was truly Macklemore's year. -- Madeline Boardman
Oh, Twilight. You had a good run -- you really did. But we all knew it was getting a little weird, didn't we? It's a bad sign when R. Patz himself seems tired of the project. It's not as though the franchise crashed and burned, but it visibly lost some of that glitter that the vampires are so famous for. There is something wonderfully relieving in knowing that the movies are finished. Twi-hards got all of the films and midnight premieres that they were promised, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are back to being the moodiest of moody couples again, and Taylor Lautner is successfully graduating from the movies with his permanent smile still stuck on his face. Now let's all agree to never talk about it ever again. -- Madeline Boardman
Following the birth of her and Jay-Z's daughter Blue Ivy Carter -- a baby already destined for musical greatness -- Beyoncé emerged from her hiatus, quickly ascending to reclaim her spot as one of music's most celebrated entertainers. First she joined Tumblr, sharing tons of personal images -- including the first glimpse of Blue. Then came a weekend of shows at The Revel Casino where she powered through her set with vocal precision and those famed hair flips we've grown to love just as much as her poised public persona. It seemed like she maxed out on good news with her Super Bowl XLVII halftime performance announcement, and then she joined Instagram, solidifying her return with an appropriately filtered kiss. All hail the king! -- Treye Green
With some fresh dance moves and those timeless vocals tuned to perfection, Brandy decided to give the music game one more run with her latest album "Two Eleven." And it looks like her fighting spirit served her well, leading to one of her most successful albums in years. She already had two underappreciated albums to her name with 2004's "Afrodisiac" and 2008's "Human," but "Two Eleven" broke that streak, putting her back on the charts and iPods of R&B fans across the nation looking for quality music from a real vocalist, not an auto-tune dependent studio artist. Her sound may be more trendy and her look a little sleeker, but her voice has always been her greatest weapon, and B-Rocka has proven it is stronger than ever. - Treye Green
As the male lead of the Kardashian house, Bruce Jenner just doesn't get the credit he deserves. He has willingly stepped to the sidelines as his daughters and wife have tirelessly conquered the farthest reaches of commercial exposure, solidifying a hit reality show, clothing line, string of boutiques and, in the case of his most famous little angel Kim, a celebrated hip-hop star to replace last year's basketball star. Still, Bruce remains inspiringly composed as his little ladies and their cropped cut wearing commander continue their assault on the nations. He supportive but still puts his foot down when necessary, providing the perfect example of what a dad -- at least the reality show type -- should be. - Treye Green
With her trusty, tailored trenches, formidable strut and impressive ability to coherently scold her "clients" and intimidate her aggressors in breathless, hurried bursts of dialogue, Olivia Pope is the ultimate mean girl with a heart. A bulldog in crisply pressed slacks and blouses, she is revered but still so easy to feel for during during the rare moments when her emotions are exposed and it seems that not every problem she encounters can be spun to her liking. She is wrapped in a messy affair with the president. The first lady hates her guts and her team shares one stick of deodorant -- but only overnight stays at the office. Still, I revel in her drama and accept Ms. Pope, flaws and all. - Treye Green
The news that Frank Ocean is contributing a song to the "Django Unchained" soundtrack combined two of the pop-cultural developments I'm most thankful for this year. Ocean's "Channel Orange" may not be a perfect album -- can we call a moratorium on skits, especially when they amount to amateur recordings of moms yammering? -- but when it's good, it's so damn good. "Thinkin Bout You" is the feel-bad slow jam of the year, and "Super Rich Kids," with its sublimely slurry rap by the resurrected Earl Sweatshirt, captures Los Angeles malaise better than anything since Jim Morrison lost his battle with a bathtub. Then there's "Lost," which is guaranteed to make you buy a silk shirt, as long as it's Versace. Add to all that the provocative subtext suggested by Ocean's admission that he has had homosexual experiences and you've got a strong contender for album of the year. -- Michael Hogan
Three words for anyone who thinks the Disney-produced Star Wars sequels are bound to be disastrous: Marvel's The Avengers. Sure, you can come back at me with a litany of prequels that didn't work nearly well, but why go pessimistic when there is so much cause for hope? A new hope, even! (Sorry.) -- Michael Hogan
She has to pee, guys. And she's an idiot. Actually, she's the coolest celebrity to come off the conveyor belt since ... ever? Jennifer Lawrence says she was content to make indie movies and drive a minivan for the rest of her life, but fate had other plans -- and we are the benificiaries. She won't always be the so refreshingly quotable -- it's only a matter of time before the crushing indignities of modern fame kill her how-did-I-get-here vibe -- but in the meantime we want to hear every word she says. -- Michael Hogan
Those movies that pissed you off because they were full of plot holes or, worse, had no discernible story? Yeah, I loved them. In fact, I saw "Prometheus" and "The Master" twice apiece. How else was I supposed to figure out why David poisoned that annoying guy, or why Joaquin Phoenix kept walking back and forth across that room? The best thing: I still don't know! All I know is that Ridley Scott and P.T. Anderson are such masters of visual spectacle -- working in such utterly different modes -- that I can't wait till these confounding films come out on Blu-Ray so I can relive the joy of not knowing what the hell is going on and not giving a damn. -- Michael Hogan