Winter is well underway, and the shortest day of the year may easily feel like the longest. Our playlist, however, consists of some of our favourite wintry tracks to wrap yourself up in and fall in love with the season. Followed by a few holiday specials at the end, this playlist will have you covered for the rest of the year:
1. Arcade Fire: Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
There are few songs more suited to December than 'Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)'. Its dreamy soundscape is the musical equivalent of snow: its warmth and beauty as well as its silence and isolation.
2. Glasvegas: Cruel Moon
From Glasvegas' Christmas album A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like a Kiss), the harrowing 'Cruel Moon' may not be the most typical seasonal chime you'll hear, but it is certainly one of the most emotional, insightful and powerful ones. Its theme of homelessness is heavy, but makes you think of those too often forgotten at Christmas, making it one of the most important songs to listen to.
3. Jens Lekman: The Cold Swedish Winter
The light-hearted, yet meaningful, lyrics are typical of Jens Lekman, and the charming rhymes are bound to make you smile: “We went home to her place / and cooked up some chili / Warmed us from the inside / 'cause the outside was chilly”. A song that first sounds like it's about a sweet winter romance takes a turn to something else towards the end: “In two thousand years / this place will be covered by ice / and the people who'll dig us up / will be in for a big surprise // So carefully studying our calcium-nourished bones / they'll find enclosed / our hearts of stone”.
4. Bon Iver: Blood Bank
'Blood Bank' paints a picture of light December snowfall, a sense of closeness catching you in the cold. Justin Vernon's soothing vocals complement the calm, yet bittersweet atmosphere.
5. Twin Shadow: When We're Dancing
Not as explicitly wintry as the other tracks on this playlist, 'When We're Dancing' features twinkly synths that bring hope and lightness to the song, making it perfect for the dark season.
6. Suede: My Dark Star
'My Dark Star' may not be as upbeat or catchy as the band's biggest hits, but its melancholy and mystery are far more intriguing, eventually building up to an atmosphere of warmth, strength and proximity.
7. Gregory and the Hawk: Romance and Stars
Gregory and the Hawk is American singer-songwriter Meredith Godreau, whose child-like vocals are fresh and enchanting. The echoy soundworld is ideal for cold, snowy walks on your own.
8. Clearlake: Wonder If the Snow Will Settle
'Wonder If the Snow Will Settle' is not the cheeriest of winter songs, but it suits the December mood perfectly, especially in years like these when the days are dark and the ground stays grey.
9. Dry The River: Bible Belt
Having split up this autumn, Dry The River's legacy is not bad for a band that only ever existed for 6 years. Their gorgeously delicate harmonies and beautiful melodies make 'Bible Belt' the ideal comfort song for long winters.
10. Ólafur Arnalds (featuring Arnór Dan): For Now I Am Winter
If you weren't shivering from cold already, let 'For Now I Am Winter' do the job with its chilling beauty and calm-but-intense atmosphere.
11. Low: Just Like Christmas
Low's nostalgic 'Just Like Christmas' might be one of the best actually-Christmassy Christmas songs: it captures what it is like to find that Christmas feeling again when you're a grown-up.
12. Sufjan Stevens: The Winter Solstice
Sufjan Stevens has released a number of Christmas songs, however none convey the season quite as well as 'The Winter Solstice'.
13. Au Revoir Simone: Christmas Time Is Here
Au Revoir Simone aren't the first band to spring to mind when thinking of Christmas songs, but their take on 'Christmas Time Is Here' is a perfect balance of Christmassy.
14. Glasvegas: A Snowflake Fell (and It Felt Like a Kiss)
For those feeling sad and lonely this holiday season, 'A Snowflake Fell (and It Felt Like a Kiss)' is a wonderfully calming, soothing and comforting piece of music. Guaranteed to make you feel less alone, even if it makes you shed a few tears.