Author’s Note: Listen to This is a bi-weekly column that serves as a listener’s guide to the world of music, with recommendations, reviews, and music-related stories.
Ah winter, you’re finally here. People’s hopes for snow are rising, the air is crisp and cold, and the crushing weight of finals is upon us. As the self-proclaimed one true king of autumn (I was born on Thanksgiving in 1999 so fight me), I can say that my reign has come to an end. As your former sovereign, it is my final duty to provide you the playlist necessary to survive the winter break.
Here is my playlist to get you, my dear reader, through the next couple weeks. I split the playlist up into three distinct sections to cover all of the possible winter moods you might feel.
Let’s start off with the first song on the playlist, the beginning of the modern holiday section: My Chemical Romance’s (MCR) cover of “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” I never listened to MCR, but I felt that we should all celebrate the band’s reunion with the absolute funniest of their performances. On paper, MCR covering the boppiest of Christmas bops sounds like the unholiest thing to exist on this earth, and in all honesty, that description isn’t that far off. I suggest you listen to the song, but not for your enjoyment, only for the purpose of knowing what I’m talking about.
The rest of this section on the playlist is filled with more modern Christmas songs from artists like I DONT KNOW HOW BUT THEY FOUND ME, Tyler, The Creator, and *NSYNC. This section of the playlist is meant to be a bit of a break from the regular holiday tunes of Michael Bublé and Bing Crosby.
The next section of the playlist is full of my favorites from the “Over The Garden Wall” soundtrack. I recently had the opportunity to watch the 10-part series and instantly fell in love with it. The animation is clean, smooth, and features a strange mix between the cute, lighthearted tone found in “Adventure Time” and the fear-inducing shots like those in “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.” The series also exposed me to American colonial horror as a genre, something I didn’t know I needed in my life. And of course, the music complements the series perfectly. I know that the show has a heavy autumn feeling, but the music is so warm and cozy that it fits in a winter playlist nicely.
The soundtrack was done by The Blasting Company, a jazz group based in Los Angeles. They explore many different genres throughout the soundtrack in a way that doesn’t feel inconsistent, performing New Orleans jazz, classic rock, and 18th-century American music. “Patient is the Night” is a calming lament with amazing vocals. “Old North Wind” sounds like it could be sung by Dr. Facilier from “The Princess and the Frog.” “The Fight is Over” is a classic rock song with a surprisingly killer guitar solo.
I highly recommend you check out the series. The music is amazingly incorporated into the show and feels like the perfect mix of autumn and winter.
The final section of the playlist is a selection of some of my favorite songs with winter vibes. Most of them don’t really have a particular affiliation with winter as a season; I just think they go along well with the time of year. In this section, “Winter Song” by The Head and the Heart is a classic. It features a simple, melodic guitar line mixed with the band’s consistently amazing vocals. “Sunday Candy” by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment has been one of my all-time favorite songs since Chance the Rapper performed it on Saturday Night Live in 2015. “Black Sea Gale” by The Dreadnoughts is a surprising banger coming out of the polka-rock genre, and I highly recommend you check out the band’s album “Polka’s Not Dead.”
I hope all three of my readers (hi, Mom) have a relaxing winter break. You earned it. Good luck on finals and I look forward to discussing all the musical tea with you all next quarter.
Reach writer Kyle Bender at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @ATOMICpandaBOMB
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