The Village - Essential winter albums for all moods

Helping to raise parents with our own blend of parenting stories, advice and cool finds.
The village: helping raise parents with our own blend of parenting stories, advice, hacks and cool finds

FAMILY

Essential winter albums for all moods

By Ariane Signer

The festive season is quickly creeping up on us, and you know what that means! Christmas music will be hitting the airwaves (and every store, restaurant and public space) for the next two to three months. Brace yourselves. Mariah Carey’s, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” turns twenty-seven this season, and so far, no signs of early retirement.

A healthy dose of holiday music can ignite the spirit of Christmas, but there are only so many times you can sing “Jingle Bells” with genuine enthusiasm and cheer. While there is definitely a designated time and place for Christmas music, we can’t forget that winter is a mood. From the romantic first snowflakes, to the dreary desperation of (another) April snowstorm, you are bound to experience the full spectrum of human emotion before the springtime arrives. So go easy on yourself! Don’t rush to the finish line thinking that “Deck the Halls” is going to have your back all season long (spoiler alert: he will be gone by end December). It’s time to prep your playlist for the coming months with these great winter albums.

For: Baking cookies with the kids
Cat Stevens: Tea for The Tillerman

There’s something really special about playing old classic music for kids. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Cat Stevens’ masterpiece, Tea for the Tillerman, is 51 years old this year. I remember my parents playing, Where Do the Children Play? for me when I was a little girl, and it still hits me in the feels, every time. (don’t even get me started on Father and Son). Spending quality time with my two boys, baking Christmas cookies, and soaking in the nostalgia of days (and decades) gone by gives me a very special sentimental feeling. Bonus: the kids love it, too!

For: Having a party
Sally Shapiro: Disco Romance

Having a few people over this winter and want an alternative to a Christmas music playlist? Swedish electronic duo Sally Shapiro released their debut album, Disco Romance, in 2006. This album has the perfect amount of upbeat energy, without being too loud or overbearing (in case you want to talk to the guests you didn’t get to see last year over the holidays!). This dreamy album has a definitive wintry vibe that your guests are bound to love.

For: Wrapping presents
Miley Cyrus: Plastic Hearts

During the pandemic, some truly amazing albums were recorded, and Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts is definitely one of my favorite pop releases from last year. With obvious 80’s glam rock influence, Miley brought us an album that is classic and lyrically mature (she divorced from her long-time partner Liam Hemsworth in summer, 2019). This album has enough energy to get you through all of your present-wrapping sessions this season.

For: Winding down after the kids are asleep (by a cozy fire)
Novo Amor: Birthplace

Ali John Meredith-Lacey, better known as, Novo Amor, is a Welsh multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter, who rose to prominence in 2014, with the release of his debut EP, Woodgate. In the same vein as SYML, Novo Amor delivers high-pitched ballads that are flooded with mysticism and romance. You might feel like you are being transported onto a ghost ship, sailing through the stormy seas as you listen to this (but in the best possible way). Perfect for cuddling up under a blanket with someone special on a cold night, preferably with a cozy fire crackling beside you.

For: Going for a solo winter walk
Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago

Though winter can be filled with a lot of fun and cheer, there are bound to be some more subdued moments from time to time. Going on a solo winter walk and escaping into a poetic album is one of my essential self-care rituals. Bon Iver’s front-man, Justin Vernon, created a near-perfect winter album when the band released their debut full-length, For Emma, Forever Ago, in 2007. The album was recorded at Vernon’s fathers’ cabin in the woods in Wisconsin, during a time when Vernon was struggling with his songwriting and recovering from some health issues. Though some of the themes on this album are pretty morose, it hits just right when you’re in a self-reflective, cathartic mood.

For: Working from home
Lord Huron: Strange Trails

Music is an essential part of the day for most office workers, and now that many of us are working from home, we don’t even need to use earphones anymore! Rejoice. Due to the nature of my work, I tend to focus better with mellow music playing quietly in the background (and sometimes none at all). I generally stick to quiet albums, and one of my favorites is Strange Trails by Lord Huron. Released in 2015, Lord Huron made an album that could’ve easily been recorded 55 years before. With heavy Western undertones, this album has enchanting lyrics and really beautiful vocals. My favorite track on this album, Meet Me in The Woods, will have you feeling like you’re riding a horse through the forest at night (and who doesn’t want to do that on their lunch break?)

For: Working out
Ra Ra Riot: Superbloom

Ra Ra Riot is one of those bands that literally improved my quality of life when I discovered them. A few years ago, a friend recommended their album, Need Your Light (that would be their summer album!), and ever since I’ve been a superfan. Their unique baroque-pop sound and dreamy melodies are just what I need in my life all year round. The band’s fifth studio album, Superbloom, has a great mix of upbeat energy to get you through a high intensity spinning session, (This Time of Year, Dangerous), and some more mellow hits (Bad To Worse, Gimme Time) to help you cool down.

For: Writing out Christmas cards
Taylor Swift: evermore

If you thought you could get through an album listicle without a mention of Taylor Swift, you were wrong! evermore (the unexpected sister album to 2020’s masterpiece, folklore) is quintessential winter listening. Co-produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner and recorded during the pandemic, it is filled with melancholic melodies that hit just right in the winter months (‘tis the damn season was probably my top played song last December). Curl up in your favorite wooly cardigan, light a candle, and dust off your old feather quill pen, cause writing out Christmas cards to this album is a total mood.

About the author: Our copywriter, Ariane Signer has been writing journal rants and random lists since she was a little girl. A self-published author, she has found a way to turn her passion into her life's work. When not running after her two young sons, Theo and Jake, she enjoys hiking, music, and reading.

FAMILY

Essential winter albums for all moods

By Ariane Signer

The festive season is quickly creeping up on us, and you know what that means! Christmas music will be hitting the airwaves (and every store, restaurant and public space) for the next two to three months. Brace yourselves. Mariah Carey’s, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” turns twenty-seven this season, and so far, no signs of early retirement.

A healthy dose of holiday music can ignite the spirit of Christmas, but there are only so many times you can sing “Jingle Bells” with genuine enthusiasm and cheer. While there is definitely a designated time and place for Christmas music, we can’t forget that winter is a mood. From the romantic first snowflakes, to the dreary desperation of (another) April snowstorm, you are bound to experience the full spectrum of human emotion before the springtime arrives. So go easy on yourself! Don’t rush to the finish line thinking that “Deck the Halls” is going to have your back all season long (spoiler alert: he will be gone by end December). It’s time to prep your playlist for the coming months with these great winter albums.

For: Baking cookies with the kids
Cat Stevens: Tea for The Tillerman

There’s something really special about playing old classic music for kids. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that Cat Stevens’ masterpiece, Tea for the Tillerman, is 51 years old this year. I remember my parents playing, Where Do the Children Play? for me when I was a little girl, and it still hits me in the feels, every time. (don’t even get me started on Father and Son). Spending quality time with my two boys, baking Christmas cookies, and soaking in the nostalgia of days (and decades) gone by gives me a very special sentimental feeling. Bonus: the kids love it, too!

For: Having a party
Sally Shapiro: Disco Romance

Having a few people over this winter and want an alternative to a Christmas music playlist? Swedish electronic duo Sally Shapiro released their debut album, Disco Romance, in 2006. This album has the perfect amount of upbeat energy, without being too loud or overbearing (in case you want to talk to the guests you didn’t get to see last year over the holidays!). This dreamy album has a definitive wintry vibe that your guests are bound to love.

For: Wrapping presents
Miley Cyrus: Plastic Hearts

During the pandemic, some truly amazing albums were recorded, and Miley Cyrus’ Plastic Hearts is definitely one of my favorite pop releases from last year. With obvious 80’s glam rock influence, Miley brought us an album that is classic and lyrically mature (she divorced from her long-time partner Liam Hemsworth in summer, 2019). This album has enough energy to get you through all of your present-wrapping sessions this season.

For: Winding down after the kids are asleep (by a cozy fire)
Novo Amor: Birthplace

Ali John Meredith-Lacey, better known as, Novo Amor, is a Welsh multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter, who rose to prominence in 2014, with the release of his debut EP, Woodgate. In the same vein as SYML, Novo Amor delivers high-pitched ballads that are flooded with mysticism and romance. You might feel like you are being transported onto a ghost ship, sailing through the stormy seas as you listen to this (but in the best possible way). Perfect for cuddling up under a blanket with someone special on a cold night, preferably with a cozy fire crackling beside you.

For: Going for a solo winter walk
Bon Iver: For Emma, Forever Ago

Though winter can be filled with a lot of fun and cheer, there are bound to be some more subdued moments from time to time. Going on a solo winter walk and escaping into a poetic album is one of my essential self-care rituals. Bon Iver’s front-man, Justin Vernon, created a near-perfect winter album when the band released their debut full-length, For Emma, Forever Ago, in 2007. The album was recorded at Vernon’s fathers’ cabin in the woods in Wisconsin, during a time when Vernon was struggling with his songwriting and recovering from some health issues. Though some of the themes on this album are pretty morose, it hits just right when you’re in a self-reflective, cathartic mood.

For: Working from home
Lord Huron: Strange Trails

Music is an essential part of the day for most office workers, and now that many of us are working from home, we don’t even need to use earphones anymore! Rejoice. Due to the nature of my work, I tend to focus better with mellow music playing quietly in the background (and sometimes none at all). I generally stick to quiet albums, and one of my favorites is Strange Trails by Lord Huron. Released in 2015, Lord Huron made an album that could’ve easily been recorded 55 years before. With heavy Western undertones, this album has enchanting lyrics and really beautiful vocals. My favorite track on this album, Meet Me in The Woods, will have you feeling like you’re riding a horse through the forest at night (and who doesn’t want to do that on their lunch break?)

For: Working out
Ra Ra Riot: Superbloom

Ra Ra Riot is one of those bands that literally improved my quality of life when I discovered them. A few years ago, a friend recommended their album, Need Your Light (that would be their summer album!), and ever since I’ve been a superfan. Their unique baroque-pop sound and dreamy melodies are just what I need in my life all year round. The band’s fifth studio album, Superbloom, has a great mix of upbeat energy to get you through a high intensity spinning session, (This Time of Year, Dangerous), and some more mellow hits (Bad To Worse, Gimme Time) to help you cool down.

For: Writing out Christmas cards
Taylor Swift: evermore

If you thought you could get through an album listicle without a mention of Taylor Swift, you were wrong! evermore (the unexpected sister album to 2020’s masterpiece, folklore) is quintessential winter listening. Co-produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner and recorded during the pandemic, it is filled with melancholic melodies that hit just right in the winter months (‘tis the damn season was probably my top played song last December). Curl up in your favorite wooly cardigan, light a candle, and dust off your old feather quill pen, cause writing out Christmas cards to this album is a total mood.

About the author: Our copywriter, Ariane Signer has been writing journal rants and random lists since she was a little girl. A self-published author, she has found a way to turn her passion into her life's work. When not running after her two young sons, Theo and Jake, she enjoys hiking, music, and reading.

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