This morning I woke up my boyfriend by saying, “There’s major breaking news!!!!” to which he replied, “Oh no, what happened?” because that is a natural reaction to any kind of “news” these days, to which I replied, “Don’t worry, it’s good,” because reader, it’s good.
As Rolling Stone reports, this coming holiday season, we’ll be getting a Hanukkah gift like no other: a star-studded Hanukkah compilation album called Hanukkah+, featuring the likes of Haim, The Flaming Lips, Jack Black, and more.
The album will be comprised of both original songs and covers — for example, Haim’s contribution will be a cover of the late, great Jewish singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen’s “If It Be Your Will.” (They’ve already written the perfect original Hanukkah song, lest we forget.) Actor and musician Jack Black has two tracks on the album: a cover of the classic “Oh Hanukkah” and a Passover bonus cover of “Chad Gadya” — the latter of which he once declared his love for to Conan O’Brien, calling it “the original heavy metal song.” (I’m really hoping the album version is full-on metal.)
Also on the roster is a new original song called “Eight Candles” from Yo La Tengo, whose annual eight-night Hanukkah concert series in New York City inspired the album. In a refreshingly honest statement from the band, they said, “As non-practicing Jews (and non-Jews), truthfully the holiday has little meaning for us (that’s the meta joke behind Yo La Tengo’s Hanukkah shows), but we were open to inspiration.”
There’s also some non-Jewish contributions to the album, which makes perfect sense when you remember that Jews have written some of the most iconic Christmas songs, so why shouldn’t it work the other way around? Loudon Wainwright III, who wrote a song for the album called “Eight Nights a Week,” said, “When [producer Randall Poster] asked me to write a Hanukkah song my initial thought was ‘Why me, Lord?’” which is always a good question to ask yourself.
I’m also personally very excited to hear Moldy Peaches’ Adam Green’s excellently named “Dreidels of Fire,” and the Flaming Lips’ original song, “Sing it Now, Sing it Somehow.”
The album will be released on November 22, a full month before Hanukkah, via Verve Forecast, and a vinyl edition will follow on December 13 (hello, friends and family: I need that).
If reading this news makes you super ready to get into the Hanukkah spirit, might I suggest giving Alma’s Hanukkah party music playlist a spin?