While this time of year tends to conjure up images of huge families reuniting for the holiday season, there are others out there who prefer to enjoy the holidays one-on-one with that special someone. Whether it’s a romantic evening in by the fire place or a night of passion, all you need to set the mood is a festive holiday list that will not only get you and your lover in the Christmas spirit, but provide you with the perfect soundtrack for a cozy winter’s night with your honey.
Holiday classics by legendary artists such as The Temptations and Luther Vandross will always have a place in our hearts and homes. It’s also necessary, however to show love to current and rising stars in soul and R&B music. From Faith Evans to Tori Kelly to the Queen Mary J. Blige herself, this is Soul Train’s Soulfully Romantic Holiday Playlist.
The youngest Braxton sister sets the mood for a sensual night in with your sweetie with her sultry rendition of the holiday classic. Made famous by the legendary Eartha Kitt, Tamar seduces her Santa with some of her sexiest vocals to date.
Ne-Yo, “I Want to Come Home for Christmas” (‘The Best Man Holiday Soundtrack’)
While it is pretty much impossible to top anything Marvin Gaye touched, singer/songwriter Ne-Yo’s version of this Motown classic is a brilliant cover that will give you and your boo ample reason to two-step in front of the fireplace.
Eric Bellinger, “Noel” (‘Your Favorite Christmas Songs’)
Eric Bellinger is not only the author of some of your favorite songs (Chris Brown’s “Fine China,” Usher’s “Lemme See”), but is also a brilliant vocalist himself. In addition to his numerous R&B bodies of work, the Compton native’s Your Favorite Christmas Songs EP is chock-full of modern covers of traditional holiday hits, including this beautiful cover of “Noel.”
Ledisi, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?” (‘It’s Christmas’)
Ledisi is unquestionably one of the most talented vocalists in the game, and she demonstrates this once again while making New Year’s Eve plans on this modern Christmas melody with a classic feel.
Destiny’s Child, “Silent Night” (‘8 Days of Christmas’)
This version of “Silent Night” from of Destiny’s Child’s 1999 Christmas album, 8 Days of Christmas, is pretty much Beyoncé showcasing those overly-impressive pipes solo. Queen Bey handles both the lead and background vocals on the smoothest record on the album.
Bridget Kelly, “O’ Holy Night” (‘A Classic Holiday…Presented by MBK’)
Bridget Kelly is, in many ways, still largely under the radar, but with an incredible pen game and powerful voice that just won’t quit, she’s bound to change the game. Her version of “O’ Holy Night” is a standout on the Christmas compilation album, A Classic Holiday…Presented by MBK, and I’d expect nothing less from the New York City native.
Toni Braxton, “Santa Please…” (‘Snowflakes’)
Toni Braxton’s unmistakable alto sexily rides over traditional R&B rhythms as she begs St. Nicholas to bring her baby home for the holidays, something distant lovers know about all too well this time of year.
Monica, “The Christmas Song” (‘The Best Man Holiday Soundtrack’)
“The Christmas Song” is obviously a holiday classic, and veteran soulstress Monica absolutely slays her version featured on The Best Man Holiday Soundtrack. Her tone is unmatched while having a style all her own that will not only put you in the holiday spirit, but make you want to cuddle up with the one you love. Mission accomplished.
Faith Evans, “This Christmas” (‘A Faithful Christmas’)
While there are several versions of “This Christmas” performed by some of R&B’s best, Faith Evans absolutely kills it, setting the mood for hot chocolate, romance and warmth throughout the season.
Kelly Price featuring Mary Mary, “In Love at Christmas” (‘One Family: A Christmas Album’)
As far as romantic Christmas tracks go, it doesn’t get more perfect that “In Love at Christmas” by Kelly Price and gospel duo Mary Mary. The song emphasizes the importance of real love this time of year over the myth of Santa or material things, something we can all stand to embrace more during the holidays.
–—Jessica “Compton” Bennett