We, at Born Genius Records, wish you a Happy Holidays wherever you may be located! Christmas is a very special time of year and the season invites us to reevaluate our position in the world, what we have come to take for granted, and areas in which we need to grow and likewise the people and places we should move away from. Music is a wonderful asset for every Holiday and festive occasion, especially now when family gatherings are cut short and outside festivals and parties cannot proceed. However, that doesn't mean the music must stop at all! Keep listening to Holiday tunes and the harmonious sounds of traveling carolers, Hallelujah!
[PC: TLC Sleigh Ride single via A LaFace Family Christmas]
Plainly to see, this year has not panned out to completely fulfill all of our pre-determined expectations [except for some], nor is 2020’s series of unavoidable events, i.e., mischief and mayhem in the form of fires, disasters, disease, riots, ‘technically’ finished [We still have 19 days left!]. As a ‘break’ from the onslaught of unrelenting, supercharged news coverage on everything from the political landscape on Capitol Hill to militant gatherings across the Nation, I wanted to put together a five-song playlist that one can melt into, which can be turned on and listened to with the least resistance possible, succinctly described as the equilibristic musical genre called Easy Listening which Scholar Elisabeth LeGuin characterizes as, “a safe "place" to be...a place free of demands.” Sampled is an eclectic assortment of tracks ranging in melodic sentiments, thematic inclinations, satirical mannerisms, language utilization, and even public appeal [Hint hint, the first track], gathered from various public channels and covering three language dialects [French, English, and Vietnamese]. As a music listener with international interests, I think it’s important to feature Artists and subsequent compositions that are developed from the Artist’s utilization of their own, ethnographically distinct, soundscapes and stylistic orientations because here in America, we are far too comfortable with celebrating American musical practices without the secondary evaluation of the cultural heritages from whence those characteristics emerged [i.e., Hip-Hop, originally stemming from pre-Colonialist African culture and its usage of vocalisms paired with ritualistically hypnotic drum-beats, not to mention Hip-Hop bling which was derived from the African usage of jewlery].
[PC: Ownage Pranks]
Hip-Hop never seizes in amazing me, not only because of its ability to embody the correlated contemporary epoch with expeditious totality, but also due to the way the historical genre highlights the positive, and dualistically negative, aspects of the attributed socio-psychological mainstream consciousness, its culturological edifices, and utilized, philological ‘tool-kit’ for ‘in-the-field’ [lfirst-hand] experiences. To start the playlist, I take you all the way back to America circa 1992, and the United States is now two years into a national recession gestated by an oil-scare and overall low financial confidence and opportunities, the musical conduit being the enigmatic group ‘The Cold Crew’. I then pivot to the modern-day climate with a french-language invocation of love itself, made by the French-born Producer and Songwriter Adrien Lammoglia, with vocal additions by the French singer Manue Ritz. Third, we venture back to the Hip-Hop sphere with the ‘second-best-selling girl group of all time’ TLC and their 1992 song ‘Sleigh Ride’, featured in the film ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’. After their G-Funk inspired, R&B take on Christmas, number four serves as a drastic turn away from ‘kosher’ musical verbiage to its satirical, parody-based alternative, the Prank video creator Ownage Pranks serving here as the conduit for such transition. Their 2017 satiric song ‘Christmas Jingle’, which features a cast of ethnically diverse characteristic voices and depictions, is a shining example of the Hip-Hop subgenre called Ironic Rap [Comedy Hip-Hop, Meme-Rap]. Concluding this week’s eclecticism is the Vietnamese-English cover of Wham!’s temporally unperishable song ‘Last Christmas’, although in the form of a remix and with a direct translation available for the Vietnamese portion for digital view [The translation is available here]. The unknown, yet ostensibly publicly operating, Artist Ronniboi and Rapper Onekay partner to produce an ode to the lonely individual, “oh anh không biết phải đi về đâu.” [I don’t know where to go].
If you enjoy posts like these, please don't hesitate to reach out either via e-mail, commenting, liking, or even sharing! Any type of feedback is awesome, so respond away! Be sure to check-in weekly for new, diverse content on topics ranging from public opinion, to new music releases, all the way even to reviews, thoughts, and more! Follow on Facebook for updates, and stay safe during this Holiday Season! Be sure to wash your hands, cough into your elbow, but also smile!
1. The Cold Crew, Rappin Christmas’ 
2. Message d’amour: ALM 
3. Sleigh Ride: TLC 
4. Christmas Jingle - Ownage Pranks 
5. Last Christmas (feat. Onekay) 
Writer: John David Vandevert [Johndavidvandevert.com]