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8 albums to help get you through the winter months

The air is cold, the skies are either too bright or depressingly gray and our skin is dry and itchy. To help you get through the season of runny noses and embarrassing slips on the way to class, here are eight albums perfect for sipping cocoa under the Christmas lights of your dorm room or just trying to make it through the cold winter months.

  1. “Transatlanticism” – Death Cab for Cutie

While arguably one of the most well-known albums on this list, this record sounds exactly like the distance between your life at home and living on campus among friends. This classic downer of an album from the Pacific Northwestern indie rockers Death Cab for Cutie is a moody and concise record that takes listeners on a journey through lead singer Ben Gibbard’s somber expression of love and isolation. “The New Year” and “Title and Registration” appropriately scatter glimpses of hope and the longing to be loved woven into intricate song arrangements. “Tiny Vessels” and “Transatlanticism” personify the power of love and the heartache that comes with the coldness of winter.

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  1. “Michigan” – Sufjan Stevens

As part of the presumably scrapped “The 50 States Project,” Stevens’ ambitious expression of life is desolate and spacious. Fifteen songs spanning over an hour depict the cold and barren atmosphere of the state of Michigan while weaving sparse instrumentation on songs like “Flint” and “Romulus” with gigantic and uplifting songs of hope like “Oh Detroit, Lift Up Your Weary Head!” The moodiness of the album is versatile, bringing listeners back to places that are simplistic and hopeful. It is a record that is humble and sparse in its execution and is an example of Stevens’ best work in a catalogue of near perfection. Its quiet atmosphere feels as crisp as leafless trees in front yards across America.

  1. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” – Vince Guaraldi Trio

It would be difficult to make this list and not incorporate this incredible collection of some of the most easily-identifiable songs of the Christmas season. Vince Guaraldi Trio’s soundtrack to the 1965 television film “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a collection of carefully executed Christmas songs that can be enjoyed all year round. Guaraldi’s tasteful jazz arrangements of classics such as “O Tannenbaum” and the instantly recognizable “Linus and Lucy” invoke a feeling of warmth and closeness. It’s best enjoyed by a fireplace with a loved one, a glass of whiskey and a child opening presents by a Christmas tree. A beagle and bird are encouraged but not required.

  1. “Feel Something” – Movements

In 2017, Movements caused a stir in the pop-punk world with the release of “Feel Something,” an energetic and brooding record that seemed to close the gap between emo and pop-punk, which few bands managed to do before them. Lead singer Patrick Miranda’s delivery of heartfelt lyrics punctuated by visceral screamed vocals accompany the wavy and ethereal instrumental arrangements. Songs like “Colorblind” and “Under The Gun” explore the more desperate sides of love and heartache, while “Daylily” and “Submerge” are perfect for bittersweet slow dances in a season full of gray skies and cold nights. Just like others on this list, it’s perfect for late-night drives under the dark skies and streetlights of small hometowns.

  1. “Hi-Fi Christmas Guitar” – Joel Paterson

Let’s face it: everywhere you turn is another rendition of a Bing Crosby or Frank Sinatra song for the holidays that draws memories of burnt family dinners and politically charged arguments. It’s pretty upsetting when you think about it and even more so when you think of the position of power that old, long-dead white men have over the airwaves after Thanksgiving. Worry not! Joel Paterson’s careful execution of classic tunes are smooth, cheerful and lyric-less. These unique guitar arrangements of Christmas classics like “Jingle Bell Rock” and “White Christmas” are crafty, clever and sure to brighten the mood of any family party.

  1. “Gift Wrapped: 20 Songs That Keep On Giving” – Various artists

My Chemical Romance is back. What more is there to say about that? Nothing? Exactly. On this compilation, you’ll find one of many beautifully executed covers by the band that most likely saved your life. My Chemical Romance’s cover of the Mariah Carey classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You” is loud, mean and should not have worked out as well as it did. Why? Because My Chemical Romance is a perfect band. If you hate Christmas music, just turn it off and listen to albums like “Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge” or “The Black Parade.” It’s that easy!

  1. “Ode To Joy” – Wilco

This year, the Chicago dad-rockers Wilco released their 11th studio album “Ode To Joy,” and it’s about as empty instrumentally as the trees after Halloween. It is within this spacious record that you’ll find the beauty of it. Each beat sounds intentional and breathy like the cold air of their home state. Songs like “Bright Leaves,” “Before Us” and “Love Is Everywhere (Beware)” are introspective, like time spent inside huddled up with pets in long johns as it snows outside. It also creates the feeling of longing to stay in the moment instead of running somewhere else.

  1. “24 Hour Revenge Therapy” – Jawbreaker

From a band who spent 20 years asleep, this record still feels as fresh and as relevant as anything released from the hundreds, if not thousands, of bands that have been inspired by these punk-rock titans. The Kerouac-influenced poetic lyrics tackle love, isolation and the longing to be anywhere else over powerful and urgent instrumentals. “Condition Oakland” and “Ashtray Monument” are energetic and ambiguous songs perfect for late-night runs to the Target parking lot to let it all out. “Boxcar” and “West Bay Invitational” are grounded, intentional and a reminder of the individuality that is developed through the trials of being a student.

Matt Campbell can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @mcampnh.

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    Kennon A. KeithApr 12, 2022 at 10:52 am

    I completely agree with what you have written. I hope this post could reach more people as this was truly an interesting post.

    Reply