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February 11, 2016

Soundtrack for the cold months

photosteve101/flickr

The yearly phenomenon known as winter is now in full force and it is just as confusing as any other season in New England, so here is a playlist in commemoration of this tumultuous time of year.

“The Funeral” by Band of Horses

This song starts off simply, with haunting single notes, until the second verse where it switches to a busier mix of guitar and drums. This dramatic switch, followed by another that goes back to the lonely notes, is very evocative of the general idea of “winter.” It may be peaceful one moment, but the next second could be a flurry of activity (e.g. snow) that suddenly stops only to start back up again, and so on.

“The Only Living Boy in New York” by Simon & Garfunkel

If you are not enjoying a warm drink or soup with this song, then you’re doing it wrong.  You have to be looking out a window while “The Only Living Boy in New York” plays, otherwise the song-gods will smite you. While adequate to listen to during other seasons, winter seems excellently prepared for this song. Unassuming yet complex, the many layers of this warming Simon & Garfunkel classic combine to make an excellent any-weather-condition-past-December listening experience.

“Back to Black” by Amy Winehouse

While winter has its joyful moments, there is an aspect of the season that is known for being gloomy and unhappy. “Back to Black” counters this “blah” feeling by being energetic, yet still being tinged with the blues. It is Amy Winehouse, after all.

“The Ice is Getting Thinner” by Death Cab for Cutie

This song uses words like “seasons” and “ice” and “spring” and “wintery grave.” Lyrically, it is ideal for this list, but it also fits because of the moody imagery, moody music and general moodiness. If you are the kind of person that thinks about the meaning of life while in the shower, then this song belongs in any winter mixtapes you will make.

“Runaway” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Much like “The Funeral,” this song starts with singular notes. However, “Runaway” has more delicate notes, like tiny snowflakes falling from the sky. The singer’s gentle and breathy voice is reminiscent of a tiny snowstorm, the kind where the petite flakes are terrible to make snowballs with.

“Delicate” by Damien Rice

The best part of winter is when it is mild, but still on the chilly side. “Delicate” by Damien Rice is quite possibly the definition of the melancholy winter blues. When it’s cold outside, but not so bad that taking a walk is impossible, nothing helps encourage the introspective winter feelings more than Rice. Ray Lamontagne provides a similar feeling with his music.

“Whatever You Like” by Anya Marina

Anya Marina’s surprisingly good acoustic cover of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” is perfect for a relaxing night in during the colder months. Marina’s sultry voice is so warm and sincere that you forget she isn’t singing her own song. She owns it but isn’t overbearing, so you can do your wintertime tasks without being distracted by the busyness of the music. Recommended for quiet activities like sitting by the fire, reading a book or making soup.

Araz Havan can be reached at ahavan@student.umass.edu.

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