By Jhemarr Anderson
What was once a delightful representation of the unyielding happiness brought on to us by the holiday season in our youth has turned into a miserable, bitter, debilitating arc of time known as the 2013-2014 winter season. Or, as I call it, snow hell.
The days we could trot merrily through the snow, have snowball fights or even make a snow angel without worries are gone, replaced by shoveling, frozen car doors (don’t ask), near-death driving experiences (don’t ask), black ice, frigid temperatures and shoveling (don’t ask).
May this playlist, like a warm blanket, (perhaps a rich cup of a hot cocoa?), provide your soul with a little bit of warmth during the rest of this winter.
Volcano Choir, “Acetate”
Acetate is a rhythmically-driven indie anthem for the gentle rocker in all of us. The song rides a bass-driven chorus the whole way through, perfect for putting a little pep in your step. If you like this one, you MUST listen to their album, “Repave.”
The Arcade Fire, “Ready to Start”
Remember when your cup of coffee just wasn’t enough to get you pumped for the day? You thought to yourself, “If only I had a fast-paced head bobber to motivate me right now?” Well, guess what? Now you do. You are now Ready to Start (wink). You’re welcome.
Lorde, “400 Lux”
This girl’s been all over the radio, deservedly. Lorde is incredibly talented and I don’t mean for a 17-year-old. Like Adele and Lana Del Rey, Lorde is breathing new life into pop music. Next time you’re snowed in, give this song a chance. If you like it, check out her album “Pure Heroine.” Lorde isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Kanye West, “Everything I Am”
Back when Mr. West was a little more humble. Soulful songs work best in the winter, and this one is no exception. The beat is laid back, the piano is soothing and the lyrics are thought invoking. You can get a lot of thinking done listening to this one.
Chance the Rapper, “Brain Cells”
If you don’t know who Chance the Rapper is yet, don’t worry because you will soon. The beat in “Brain Cells” is centered around a repeating chord progression. The chords are low and dense. Fun fact: Chance is actually roommates with James Blake in Los Angeles.
Proceed with caution. If you’re trying to “turn up,” I’m sorry this is not the one, as this song is mellow enough to potentially suck the life out of a party.
Bon Iver, “re:Stacks”
Bon Iver always had a knack for making beautiful lullabies. They’re characteristically calming, soothing and gentle. “re:Stacks” is perfect for driving in that harsh winter weather. It’s impossible to get road rage or anxiety while listening to the low falsettos in this song. Unless, of course, you’re, you know … crazy.
Janelle Monae, “Oh, Maker”
Janelle Monae has a musicality about her that attracts the likes of Stevie Wonder and Prince. On “Oh, Maker” she really exercises her vocal range and displays her surprising amount of power and control. I think of fire when I’m listening to Janelle Monae. So, “Oh, Maker” will make the perfect song for when you’re in the next polar vortex and looking for a heater! Get it? No?
The Killers, “Believe Me Natalie”
This record has that iconic synth heavy sound we heard in “Hot Fuss.” Here’s the scene I imagine when I’m listening to “Believe Me Natalie”: I step out of a smoky jazz club in New York City in the December cold. It’s 3 a.m. and I’m wandering and anticipating where the night will take me next.
And now that’ll be the image you get, too! Don’t believe me? Go ahead, try it, bro.
Band of Horses, “Our Swords”
Let’s face it: Winter can be beautiful sometimes. And on those days, “Our Swords” is a perfect tune to put on and take time to appreciate things..