During winter breaks, nothing makes me happier than sitting near a fire, wrapped in a blanket, drinking hot chocolate, and listening to some calming songs as I watch the snow pile up outside my window. Sometimes, though, I’m not in the mood for the same Christmas songs that I listen to every year, so I’ve created a winter playlist that captures my mood. Some of the songs deal with winter themes and others just have a particularly soothing tone to them. If you’re looking for some new tunes to help you get over the winter blues, you can check these out.
Cedar Lane — First Aid Kit
I See Fire — Ed Sheeran
Alarms in the Heart — Dry the River
Pull Me Down — Mikky Ekko
Winter Song — The Head and the Heart
From Eden — Hozier
Sweater Weather — The Neighbourhood
Too Cold — Current Swell
The Boxer — Jerry Douglas and Mumford & Sons
Back to the River — Lily & Madeleine
Old Pine — Ben Howard
Flapper Girl — The Lumineers
Scare Away the Dark — Passenger
Higher Love — James Vincent McMorrow
Pine Trees — Jake Bugg
I have been a fan of song covers since I learned what covers were (songs redone by artists to their own style), so I’ve made it a habit of scanning YouTube for new covers on a weekly basis. One of my favorite places to look is BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge. The Live Lounge features artists performing live covers (and sometimes their own songs) for the BBC. There are currently 68 videos on the current Live Lounge playlist, although the show has been going on since 2006 and other videos exist in the Archive. I scoured the Live Lounge playlist and picked my top 10 favorites. Here they are in no particular order.
1. Ben Howard – Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)
I’d be lying if I said I liked this song; I find it to be super annoying. However, I am in love with Ben Howard’s voice and find his mellow cover to be as smooth as silk. The drummer is also playing the bass, and that’s pretty great.
2. Justin Timberlake – Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground) (The Jacksons)
JT is one of those people I strongly believe can do no wrong. This cover makes me want to boogie, and the synchronized dancing in the video wins me over. He gets all the style points.
3. Bastille – Locked out of Heaven/Mashup (Bruno Mars and others)
I am madly in love with Bastille and have been for about two years now. Like JT, I feel Dan Smith can do no wrong, and the fact that his British accent sticks out very strongly is something I love. His voice adds a creepy value to the song with its breathiness, but I think it’s brilliant. Also, the mashup is fantastic.
4.Rita Ora – Lover in the Light (Mumford and Sons)
I’ll admit that I was wary when I first started to listen to this cover. I feel like Mumford is one of those bands you just can’t do justice to, but Rita has an incredibly strong voice. I love the emotion she puts into the song.
5. Gabrielle Aplin – Best Song Ever (One Direction)
I am a huge One Direction fan, and I know the song is supposed to be super poppy and make you want to dance, but that’s why this slow cover makes me incredibly happy. Gabrielle has a beautiful voice, and she makes “Best Song Ever” seem like a cute love song rather than a nonsensical pop song.
6. Little Mix – I Will Wait (Mumford & Sons)
Again with a Mumford cover? I know. Again, I was wary, but the girls of Little Mix are intense. They take this song and put a wonderfully harmonized, tragically beautiful spin on it. They each have a unique voice, and together it sounds magical.
7. Birdy – Let Her Go (Passenger)
Clearly I am a sucker for the tragically slow covers of songs. Passenger already has a unique voice, but Birdy just takes the uniqueness and adds her own twist to it. She changes the mysterious “her” in the song to “him” and uses her soft voice to make it haunting. She’s beautiful, and this cover is beautiful.
8. Thirty Seconds to Mars – Stay (Rihanna)
Dear Lord, Jared Leto. His voice is so brilliantly wonderful and I can’t get enough of the edginess he adds to Rihanna’s slow tune. I cannot stop listening to how great this cover is. He is so crisp and perfect.
10. Bastille – We Can’t Stop (Miley Cyrus)
This cover has an addition that cracks me up, and then the rest of it kind of creeps me out in the best way possible. It’s such a Bastille thing. Dan is great, this cover is great—just give it a shot.
Featured image of Bastille: Courtesy of BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge