As the year comes to a close, I can’t help but change the music I listen to in order to reflect the chill of the air on my nose in the morning and the drowsiness of the ever-earlier sunsets. This playlist is an adapted version of the one I’ve been building and listening to for the past couple of months, and it encapsulates everything that I associate with winter.
“Fast Car” – Tracy Chapman
This song is a classic. Chapman’s vocals and lyrics shine on top of a relatively stripped down track. I’m always happy to listen to this song, but it’s an especially welcome treat in the winter months.
“Nothing New” – Taylor Swift ft. Phoebe Bridgers
I could not make this playlist and not include a track from Red (Taylor’s Version). After listening to the full album for the first time the night it dropped, I looped this song for multiple hours while talking with a friend, so it’s safe to say I like it. This is the song for those times when I feel uncomfortably aware of the passage of time.
“Bees” – The Ballroom Thieves
This is the ultimate winter song. If I were to give only one song recommendation here it would probably be this one. It has all the elements to make my ideal winter song: acoustic sound, warmth, and that perfect balance of sad, connected, and lonely.
“Introspection Reimagined” – UMI
I love everything I’ve heard from UMI, and this is her song with the most wintery vibe. This reimagined version of the previously released track “Introspection” has a richness that matches her voice beautifully.
“Achilles Come Down” – Gang of Youths
“Achilles Come Down” has got it all: Iliad references, samples of French philosophy lectures, an audio sample from a French essay, and that cello riff. The singer’s message to a depressed friend validates that wintertime sadness whilst offering a sense of comfort.
“too long” – Arlie
A song about missing someone on a winter playlist? Truly revolutionary, I know. The production on this track is lovely, and it makes the song all the more enjoyable.
“Chewing Cotton Wool” – The Japanese House
This is a very lonely song, but there’s something about listening to someone else’s loneliness that carries a profound sense of connection.
“Find You” – Super City
There’s a sense of momentum in this song that hits so hard, making it an excellent reminder of Newton’s second law. The guitar just keeps rolling, making it a song that carries the listener through.
“21” – Gracie Abrams
Gracie Abrams’ contemplative track is perfect for winter nights spent reflecting on the past, and it also just sounds very nice.
“Wasteland, Baby!” – Hozier
Hozier’s entire discography could probably go on this playlist, but I settled on including one song. “Wasteland, Baby!” is soft, and slow, and a little bit sad, but it’s also hopeful, making for a song that hits the spot in the wintertime.
“Graceland Too” – Phoebe Bridgers
Phoebe Bridgers on my playlist, again? It’s more likely than you think. This song is filled with so much love, and that’s palpable.
“VOID” – Lil Nas X
The build of this song is impeccable. In my opinion, Lil Nas X is one of the defining artists of this year, and I would be remiss to build a playlist without a song from his most recent album Montero.
“The Only Heartbreaker” – Mitski
The 1980’s sound on this track is a welcome development from Mitski, one of my favorite (and statistically most listened to) artists. Her upcoming album, Laurel Hell, is the one I’m most looking forward to at the moment.