14 songs to cozy up to this winter season
You wake up from the warm sweet aroma of cinnamon and coffee. You peek your head out from the cocoon of cozy knit blankets and look out your window. All you can see is white. On the roofs of your neighbour’s house, on the roads, on the trees. Soft clumps of snowflakes float down and disappear with thin air. It feels like you woke up into a different world, where everything feels whimsical and magical, everywhere is frozen and cold. You suddenly feel an overwhelming gratefulness for the warmth of your home and your family. These sensations can only mean one thing. Winter has come.
“In the Cold” is a playlist I made for those who want to celebrate this season with songs that feel like cold weather in the city, walking home in the dark as it snows, or cozying up in your bedroom with fuzzy socks and hot chocolate- our modern day Christmas carols.
[Moodboard taken from Pinterest] These songs are chill, melancholic alternative-rock sounds
14. “In the Cold” – The Drums
Biking from your friend’s house in the cold, crisp air. There’s still dead leaves in the path that crunch loudly as you pass. This moment feels like ending, a death and a rebirth that is soon to follow. You pass by the highway, and there’s the loud and thrashing sound of people on a journey. You’re on a journey too. You don’t look back, you feel rejuvenated.
“In the Cold” by the Drums is a refreshing folk alternative rock sound about a break up that leaves the narrator to come to terms that he wasn’t what his partner was looking for. With grounded, unpolished vocals and hauntingly simple acoustic guitar, The Drums perfectly translates the cold and desolate feeling of loss and guides listeners into accepting what’s next to come.
13. “142” – Inner Wave”
Inner Wave makes indie rock bangers for coming of age ending credits. This song, in particular, is perfect for when the main character has come at a crossroads in their life. They have to learn how to trust themselves and their gut feeling to pursue something meaningful in their life.
This is encapsulated in the groovy guitar and synths with upbeat tempo synths that feels like a build-up of energy and emotion. This resolves satisfyingly into that resolves with cascading synths that fills the track with the wonder-lust feeling that comes with epiphany. The refreshingly unique structure of the track is also one of the highlights of this track.
12. “Winter” – BENEE
My favourite track from BENEE’s new album “Hey x u” is stray from this Australian alternative rock artist usually cheeky, vibrant pop sound. Her soulful vocals and funky guitar melodies did its job of making listeners embrace the winter.
The video for “Winter” is just a looping GIF of a standing skeleton with a Kitsune mask on but is a fitting artistic visual for this song. The entity stands in the courtyard of the remains of a snowy village as empty and hollow as its body, and the camera revolves around its body as it moves hypnotically as if breathing. It looks as if this creature is at peace in its natural element. This peace is contagious and draws you in just like the mesmerizing song. I like to think this creature is the zombie BENEE mentions in her the puzzling first line, “Zombies tryna sleep / Zombies surround me.”
11. “Space Song” – Beach House
Remember visiting the lake at a nearby park in the winter. You see ice skaters sail gracefully across the ice. You, not so gracefully, stepping through the trails of trodden snow in between barren trees, and You drink hot tea while walking, trying not to burn yourself and being grateful for the warmth on your freezing fingertips. Space song is a wonder-lust and hypnotic track that brings you in touch with your inner child once again.
10. “GHOSTRIDE” – CRUMB
The guitar opening to “Ghostride” is sweet and inviting sound. The storytelling is familiar and close to home and the melody vibrates your heartstrings. Crumb singing voice is languid and poetic, her music is mellow and comforting. It makes for this song to be fitting for a romanticizing a bleak cloudy day.
Tis the season to be nostalgic, and Ghostride’s pensive and enthralling sound breathes life into dear memories. It’s the soft music lulling in the background as you think about people who come and go in your life, leaving ghosts of fleeting experiences that you need to cherish in order to make sense of it all. Her lyrics alludes to those familiar dissociating moments as she sings: “The radio reminds me I’m alive, we’ve been hearing it all night.”
A lighter collection from the playlist, captures bright white winter mornings and twinkling Christmas lights with upbeat lo-fi bedroom pop.
9. aston- jiwoo
Picture yourself studying in your parent’s office at night. You hear violent winds and rain of a midnight thunder storm and the room is illuminated by skinny candles with wax puddling at its base. You’re fatigued yet focused in your personal study. Your mind blossoms with profound philosophical thoughts about love and beauty and what it means to be human.
JiWoo is a Toronto-based artist, and he released his debut EP “Maison” back in 2019. The track “Aston” features beautiful and emotional vocal arrangements complemented by classic piano instrumentals that makes his music a grand and magical experience.
8. “You Might Be Sleeping”- Jakob, Clairo
This song is perfect for long mornings in bed and drinking milk tea while wearing your favorite pair of pajamas. You watch your favorite comfort show (Gilmore girls is my go-to) but get distracted watching the snowflakes fall from your window.
You Might Be Sleeping is a short and sweet bedroom pop track with a relaxing and intimate vibe. Clairo’s delicate voice is as enchanting as a charming foreign film that draws you into a fever-dream experience. The minimalistic acoustic guitar envelopes you into a dreamy ambience that mimics the fuzziness of waking up happily and deeply in love.
7. “Ice Cold Pool” – Wallows
I remember ice crackling under my boots when rushing to the class after stopping for iced coffee. Around 10 inches of snow shimmers under the bright sunlight.
Ice Cool Pool is a bouncy and light indie-pop track that’s incredibly catchy and easy to listen to- I had it on loop every time I went on morning walks to class. This bop will instantly put you in a good mood. Although, if you pay attention to the lyrics, the garage rock influence still has a solemn and rustic mood that’s perfect for a late January morning.
6. “can i call you tonight?” – dayglow
The light-hearted feeling that you sink into when you have a crush. You know it’s nothing serious, and spending time with that person is playful, sweet and coy. It’s the start of the winter semester. This song plays as you bike to school together, try seasonal lattes in cozy cafes, and get deep on long phones calls late at night. Days drift by easily in a haze of bittersweet, one-sided love. This song reflects a time of making unforgettable memories and just being fully content with life.
In the “How I Made Can I Call You Tonight“, DayGlow describes the track as simple and busy, featuring bouncy beats and heavy reverb on the guitars. he shares the secret to the euphoric and dreamy sound which is …what for it….tape delay. He discovered through playing around with the distorted effect, that it elevates the song into its signature psychedelic atmosphere, making an arrangement that encapsulates the fuzzy, vibrant and dreamy experience of young love in our generation.
Hip-hop & R&b vibes, night times in the city energy, spontaneous, unbridled time of young adulthood.
5. “Tweakin’ Together” – Bktherula
You’re walking in the city with your gang after clubbing all night. Even though it’s cold, you walk for hours in the bustling city streets. You stop for poutine from the corner shop, sit on the curb and share the food with your friends. Your body is intoxicated and tired but your mind is sober and open from the cold air and the warm greasy food. You’re feeling young and free, as if the city’s at your hand. You feel a close bond with your friends, and realize that these moments will be the highlight of your youth. You feel inspired and unstoppable.
Bktherula is an emerging rapper who has a unique style of rapping over a hype ‘Carti’-type beat with a chill soft voice, as her fans describe her music: “chill and drill”. Her music feels hazy and understated like your headspace after finishing a smoke. Her musical taste garnered the attention of big name artists such as Mac DeMarco, Lil Uzi Vert and Playboi Carti at just nineteen years old. Bktherula takes an indie approach to trap hiphop, and if you can’t imagine what that might sound like, it’s definitely worth the listen.
4. “cardigan” – Don Toliver
Some of you may know the popular hit “No Idea” that marked the TikTok music trends at the beginning of the lockdown back in 2019. Those vibes were immaculate. That song marked an important time for generation. Don Toliver really knows how to set an atmosphere with his brooding melodies and his songs are strictly good vibes. His unique vocals have been associated itself with winter ever since then. So this year, I proclaim “Cardigan” his next Winter legacy. It’s a casual rap/hip-hop track that you can play in the background while chatting with friends, or chilling at your annual Christmas or New Years kick-back.
3. “WUSYANAME”- TYLER THE CREATOR
Winter time is the best time to bring it back to the old time goodies, but this time, introducing Tyler the Creator. He took the classic 90s R&B hit “Back Seat (Wit No Sheets)” by H-Town, and work his music-producing magic to create a modern yet nostalgic hit song, “Wusyaname.” The provocative, flirty hints in the track illustrates the urgent pursuit of a someone, guided by lust. This laid-back single includes g-funk elements in the beat- this makes it a perfect song to vibe to in a car ride home as you daydream about that special someone.
The blending of soulful hip-hop flow pairs well with the contemporary voices of YoungBoy Never Broke Again and Ty Dolla Sign. Tyler’s take on a 90s R&B vibe is fresh yet familiar, and as usual the production of this track was very tasteful and shows his versatility as a musician. The 90s are making a comeback this winter: flip phones, headphones, record players, leather jackets- they’re all making appearances. This throwback ties the aesthetic together, as nothing fits the winter aesthetic better than romance and nostalgia.
2. “pain” – pinkpantheress
Pain feels like watching a trippy retro cartoon like “The Pink Panther Show” while eating cereal late at night. You’re intoxicated and your emotions flowing easy since there’s nothing distracting you from them. You’re on Christmas break and your family takes you out to the cabin in the country. It’s quiet, isolated, peaceful. You feel moody and your mom says it’s seasonal depression, but you’re convinced that being in your old room brings back your teenage, hormone-induced misery again. You submit to the feeling because now, you understand.
Pink Panthress is a new nostalgia indie singer/producer, with sleepy, hyperreal vocals thats contrasts her fresh lo-fi hip-hop inspired beats, making bops you can enjoy with friends or at home alone, stuck with your feelings.
1. “ENTROPY” – Daniel Caesar
Aha! I bet you didn’t think I would add a Christmas vibe song in this article. This song is what I picture playing when sharing intimate moments with your S/O on Christmas morning. Being in love as delicate and untainted as the bed of fresh snow. Love in the winter feels warmer, more refreshed, more alive. That’s why holidays are known for bringing people closer together.
This sounds like making lattes and cookies in the late morning, placing ornaments on the tree, wrapping presents, playing with pets, cooking a meal. All of which feels special because you’re with your soulmate. It comes with the sense of familiarity with the inevitable of the cycle of life and finding comfort in its twists and turns. Pitchfork describes Caesar’s performance as “a beautiful, vulnerable display of a young man’s faith, despite his uncertainty of the future.” Entropy is what you get when an incredibly talented and graceful singer venturing into a transcendent mind space and emerges to bless our hearts with serenity and spiritually healing.
The link to the full playlist can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5Y9lUQ2zb6RyZ8tApPXkI9?si=c069d66dc409489
My Spotify wrapped playlist, where you can find more songs with similar vibes: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/37i9dQZF1EUMDoJuT8yJsl?si=b7f1c02e761d4776