Sure, cooking the turkey so that it’s not underdone and not too dry is difficult enough. But the hardest thing about Thanksgiving Day with your family is, inevitably, the music. Your parents want something dire from the ’70s, like Neil Diamond or Creedence; that cousin from Jersey who you never speak to has somehow heard that you “like music” and wants to play you the new Nickelback record; and your kid sister keeps demanding to connect up her iPod to the stereo so she can play her Miley Cyrus record. Argh. So let us help out with a selection of Thanksgiving records that’ll at least placate your folks, and hopefully Jersey cousin too — you might need to just lend kid sister your headphones and hope for the best, though.
Leonard Cohen — Ten New Songs
If your folks are the same age as ours, they’re probably familiar with Cohen’s work from the ’60s and ’70s, but they may also have spaced on his late-career renaissance. Ten New Songs was the album that marked his return to music and to the world in general, the record that catalogued his descent from the mountain where he spent most of the 1990s in seclusion as a Buddhist monk. It even has the occasional upbeat moment (specifically “Boogie Street,” which, although it’s probably still the most downbeat song ever to include the word “Boogie” in its title, is positively jaunty as far as Cohen goes).