Tag Archives: joy

Holiday Music to My Ears

By Tray Taylor
Instagram: @allusiontoreality

Through the years I’ve realized there are three kinds of people out there: 

  1. Ones that love Christmas music and will start playing it as soon as they possibly can.
  2. Ones that tolerate it, but only when (and I mean ONLY when) Christmas is a few days away.
  3. Ones that cringe at the sound of it. 

So where do I fit? I fall into the let me listen to Christmas music whenever I need a lift in spirits, and that definitely starts some time in November. 

But don’t worry 2’s and 3’s – I usually keep this to myself through headphones or when I’m in a car driving solo. I won’t subject others to it until, at least, December. 

My favorite thing growing up was playing Christmas records on our huge stereo (that had a radio, cassette player, record player, and cd player). We had a solid collection of Christmas with The California Raisins, Chipmunks Christmas, New Kids on The Block, and I’m sure a few other classics. 

The ones I still own: two throwback vinyl records and one new…all Christmas

Then the 90’s and 2000’s brought us a few classics like: 

+Mariah Carey (ahem the Queen of Christmas) – Her original Christmas album is the stand out above them all. I remember being young and trying to make up dance routines (by myself) with a single candy cane – as if I was in one of her music videos for “All I Want For Christmas is You”. Fast forward for a second to current time, have you seen her special that includes a festive number with Jennifer Hudson and Ariana Grande? If not, go watch it…now!

+Snowed In by Hanson (things that feel gay, but aren’t gay) – I remember walking in the mall past an FYE (remember those?) and seeing this beautiful album cover. My obsession with this band was so deep, and this album fulfilled all of Christmas music AND Hanson needs (…still does).

+Whitney Houston – She’s a woman that gave us lots of holiday content in these decades – with her ‘One Wish: The Holiday album’ and her role in The Preacher’s Wife.

+*Nsync’s Christmas album (did it even have a name?) – Apparently this album was entitled ‘Home for Christmas’ – who knew? This album is very nineties, but also still amazing from start to finish even in 2020. And that music video for “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” yes…please…on repeat.

+Britney Spears – let us not forget “My Only Wish (This Year)” because without Britney Spears what were the 2000s?

+TLC – I don’t know about you, but TLC encompasses everything 90s. “Sleigh Ride” is a necessity to listen to and have on every Christmas playlist. Plus, that video will surely send you back to more cheerful times than the current.

+Hilary Duff – before there was Miley Cyrus on Disney Chanel there was Hilary Duff. I just rediscovered “Down on Santa Clause Lane” when trying to create my latest holiday playlist. And I listened to it about five times on repeat. This song reminds me of the abundance of cheer Christmas music can bring.

+Vanessa Williams (okay but have you EVER seen A Diva’s Christmas Carol? *more on this later in an upcoming post if you haven’t*) – Little gayby me loved Vanessa Williams – so much to the point I can’t explain why entirely. The early 00’s gave us the pleasure from VH1 of dropping a full soundtrack of Vanessa William holiday songs via the movie A Diva’s Christmas Carol. I watched that movie any chance I got, to the point that it irritated everybody else in the house because it was on so much.

+Destiny’s Child – Oh the “8 Days of Christmas” how representative of the times. The music video for this song is so festive and will fill you up with nostalgia. One of the greatest female groups in musical history provided us this song, so if it’s not on your playlist – is your holiday music intake even complete?

I could go on, believe me – especially with all the new music that has come out over the past couple of decades. Instead, I’ll just share my newly created playlist, along with one filled with more of the “classics”. 

Happy Holigays (I needed a more upbeat Christmas playlist, and for it to be super gay)

‘Tis the season (I created this back in 2013, and have been adding on ever since – note: does contain some repeats from Happy Holigays)

So, where do you fall on the holiday music spectrum- are you a 1,2, or 3? Share some of your favorite holiday songs with me below in the comments.

The Sounds of Joy

By Tray Taylor
IG: @allusiontoreality

When I first started this blog, it was mostly so I could get into the habit of daily writing again. Something I knew would bring me happiness, and maybe a few people would like to read what I had to say.

Lately, I have been trying to figure out what it is I want to keep sharing on this blog or if I should have a particular focus. I concluded that …I don’t think I have a conclusion on that.

I am a lover of music, pop culture, books, and many things that most folks don’t particularly know about me. So far, that is what I have been sharing on this blog – sharing pieces of myself & the things I love. And I think that is how I will continue – for now.

On another note…don’t you love weekends that feel like resets? That is what I had this weekend, and it was beautiful.

For the first time since the beginning of March I looked forward to a Zoom call. I was able to connect with a good friend, catch up, and talk about our experiences with writing. Incredibly refreshing and fired me up with motivation.

The other highlight from this weekend was decorating for my favorite holiday. Yes I am a person that decorates way too early, and no I have no shame in that.

My new fiber optic tree that is giving me all the vibes of joy that I knew I needed this year.

But I do know it is way too early to start writing about the meaning of Christmas, so I will transition into a few song suggestions that are guaranteed to bring you a sense of joy and wonder…not holiday related.  

1. I am America – Shea Diamond


Okay…have you watched We’re Here on HBO or are you light years beyond everything that is fabulously Queer in the world? This is the theme song to the show, and let me just say… I sincerely think there should be a petition for this to be the new Queer anthem of the US. Anyway, listen to the song and go watch the TV show on HBO (no excuse if you don’t have HBO, free trials exist ya’ll…)

2. I Love Yous – Hailee Steinfeld  


Yes, you are right this song sounds familiar because it is a sample off of Annie Lennox’s “No More I Love You’s”. Maybe this song is for you, maybe it isn’t … I will say for me – I had this song on repeat for months when it first dropped a few months back. It’s catchy and allows you to be overly dramatic as if you’re living in a break-up scene in a movie.

3. To R. – Father John Misty


My music taste is all over the spectrum, I know. Father John Misty reminds me a bit of Nick Drake (I said a bit). I am a fan of his music, and I discovered his music from another one of my favorites who listens to him – Geographer. If you’re looking for music to relax to, I fully recommend this song.

4. So Emotional – Whitney Houston


Sometimes I just need to dance it out, and I usually turn Whitney on when I need to do that. It is amazing how healing breaking out into randomly dancing can be. Between this song, and “I Want to Dance With Somebody” …I know what artist I can depend on to dance me out of any funk.

5. Sugar Baby – Megan Thee Stallion

I don’t think I could call myself a fan of music if I didn’t recognize a song off of Megan Thee Stallion’s debut album (that just dropped on Friday). This is one of my favorite songs off the album, simply because of the beat and the feel good vibe to it. The entire album deserves a listen because, damn that woman is dripping with talent.

Remember, even in our darkest of days – there is still music to shimmer some light into the cracks.