For some reason, there are certain songs that sound so much better when you listen to them in the cold weather. In fact, I look forward to this time of year because I’ll be able to enjoy certain music even more. It may just be that the fall and winter seasons bring back some nostalgic memories that fuse well with certain songs, but I also think some music is made to be listened to during specific moments throughout the year. And of course, the whole “seasonal depression” thing that many folks, including myself, go through has some say in what we want to hear. There’s no one perfect way to describe a song meant for cold times. Some days you want to feel warmth from the music you put on. Other days, as the year ends and a new one begins, you want the music to put you in a state of reflection, whether that be on the memories the old year brought you or what you need to do to improve for the new year. But many days, especially on those days when even an exaggerated amount of layers won’t do justice, I want music to make me feel at home. There’s a level of comfort and tranquility that music brings that a person can’t, and even more so towards the end of each year. It’s a time to put all those summer and high energy anthems into hibernation. So here are some songs that will hopefully give you stability against your seasonal depression as we approach the winter season.
Ari Lennox – ‘La La La La’
This smooth, soulful track is topped with Ari Lennox’s beautiful vocals. Apart from being such a sweet song, her voice is what grabs you, and helps you relax. Ari reflects on a past relationship, which might have you doing the same. It’s nice to have some sort of companion during the holidays to do all of the traditional winter activities with. For the many who don’t have that, Ari does the favor of putting that fantasy into the listener’s mind by saying things like “How does it Feel?/To know I’m wrapped around you”, and who doesn’t want to feel that when it is extremely cold outside. And even if you’re not particularly listening to what she’s saying, her voice is so pure that it still makes you feel relaxed and at ease.
Porches – ‘Mood’
Another relationship song, but in this Porches track, singer Aaron Maine is put in the position of having to wait for someone, a place where many of us have been in. The dreamlike production on this track compliments Maine’s hopeful, subtle vocals. That’s exactly what this song is, hopeful and confident, two traits that are important to battle the seasonal depression. And as you listen, you can vision yourself being in a winter wonderland, treading through snow, as more snow continues to come over you.
Jorja Smith – ‘Carry Me Home’ (Feat. Maverick Sabre)
It seems like one of the main themes of any cold season, and these group of songs, is relationships. When I mentioned earlier that you want to feel at home when you listen to these songs, for a lot of people, feeling at home is being with the person they want to be with. At the end of each year and entering a new one, our goal sometimes is being able to move on from relationships. Some are able to manage that easier than others. On this ‘Carry Me Home’, Jorja Smith and Maverick Sabre tackle this challenge in two perspectives. One is unable to move on, the other understands that they are not right for each other. The duo have such good chemistry over a delightful guitar number accompanied by more soulful instrumentation. Sometimes it feels good to indulge in any pain relationships may have brought you.
Coldplay – ‘Don’t Panic’
As is with all of these artists, there are a number of songs that I could’ve picked. From Coldplay’s debut album, Parachutes, there are so many songs I enjoy listening to in the winter. Surprisingly, ‘Don’t Panic’ is not a relationship song, which is one of the reasons it was selected. It is a very mellow tune, and being that it’s the intro track to Coldplay’s first album, it sets such a great tone for the entire project. ‘Don’t Panic’ specifically, has simple instrumentation, but the song’s overall message is something that everyone should be reminded of. Throughout the song, Chris Martin repeatedly sings “We live in a beautiful world”, and ends it by saying, “Everybody here’s got somebody to lean on”, two lines to keep people hopeful in a time when the world doesn’t always seem so beautiful. With so much distress we live through, the positive words are refreshing to hear when entering a new year. And there’s also that pleasant reminder that everyone has someone they can count on, a message that should never be lost.
Frank Ocean – Blonde (Album)
I couldn’t just pick one song from Blonde because it’d be unfair to the rest of the tracks. This project is great to listen to all year long, but it feels even better as the weather gets colder. In the winter season, you couldn’t go wrong listening to any of these tracks, but I specifically want to focus on the last 5 tracks on this album. Frank Ocean has this ability to make you wonder about everything going on in your life, good or bad, but does so in such a tender manner. His vocals are a range of therapists that put you in a state of peace. Beginning at “Close to You”, starts a series of breathtaking songs, diverging into various forms of instrumentation. “White Ferrari” is one of the most heartbreaking, beautiful tracks you will hear. And if ‘White Ferrari” is heartbreaking, “Seigfried” will have you thinking about every relationship you’ve ever had. Not only is this great to listen to on cold days because of the subject matter, but sonically these go so well with a wintry climate. “Godspeed” sees Frank speaking on his teenager years. It’s a time when many wished they were adults already. It’s a time that many adults now wish they could relive again. Even though adulthood is a great experience, as a kid, you see things in a different perspective. As adults, the holidays become a time of giving, whereas at a younger age, there’s a more wholesome experience in receiving gifts from the people you love. “Futura Free” is the ultimate reflection track. A track where Frank reminisces on all the hardships he went through, a track that allows us to reminisce on the hardships we overcame throughout the year.
Bonus Track: Frank Ocean – ‘Moon River’
This track is a cover of Audrey Hepburn’s version in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. What more is there to say. This man has plenty of songs for the winter season. This is just another one.
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These Songs Will Help Keep You Warm This Cold, Winter Season: Featured Image Credit: Boy Don’t Cry