Even though it has yet to snow this winter and many days’ high temperatures have reached into the 60’s (!!!), it’s always nice to have music that makes you feel warm and fuzzy no matter the weather. December’s music selection seems to be shadowed by the abundance of holiday selections (lookin’ at you, Jingle Bell Rock and The Hanukkah Song), but this list will hopefully give you a fresh take on the month’s options, as far as sweet tunes go.
1. Fleet Foxes, White Winter Hymnal. Yes, its title talks about winter, but the mellow a cappella harmonies go perfectly with a warm drink and a good book, if that’s what you’re into. Pentatonix (unsurprisingly) has done a solid cover of this song, too.
2. Flight Facilities, Crave You. This track actually came out in 2010, but it has a nice electronic vibe that’s easy to dance to. Crave You, along with a lot of Flight Facilities’ work, creates a really nice middle ground between crazy summer EDM/house jams and ambient electronic music.
3. Pinback, Loro. Pinback hits you with another pleasantly relaxing song that might warm you up and give you chills at the same time. It might seem anti-climactic at first, but stick with it. It’s an especially good ~mood~ song for when you’re feeling a little lethargic.
4. Baths, Aminals. Aminals, to be honest, is an acquired taste. Give it a shot – the fact that it’s an instrumental with a chill dance beat makes it great for background music while you’re doing homework or travelling this month.
5. Toploader, Dancing in the Moonlight. This is actually a cover of a King Harvest song that came out back in 1973, but something about British band Toploader’s rendition is infectiously danceable. There’s never a bad time to play Dancing in the Moonlight, no matter the season.
6. Felix Jaehn featuring Jasmine Thompson, Ain’t Nobody (Loves Me Better). One more cover of an 80’s hit. This one has been popular worldwide since the summer, but if you haven’t heard it, long story short: Jasmine Thompson’s sweet vocal tone adds charm to Felix Jaehn’s electronic-dance sound. The culmination is fun, but relaxing enough to be played outside of a party or concert setting.
7. Disclosure, Omen. Sam Smith’s second collaboration with Disclosure (following Latch in 2012) on their second album, Caracal, lives up to any hype it received. I really appreciate how Smith’s voice is highlighted just as much as the synth beats behind it. If you like this song, be sure to check out the album as a whole – it features The Weeknd, Lorde, and Miguel.
8. Kindness, Swingin Party. Don’t read too far into this song, featured on the soundtrack to the film adaptation of John Green’s Paper Towns-the lyrics are terribly morbid. Aside from that, Swingin Party is calm and really pleasing to the ear. Fun fact-Lorde covered it too!
9. Phoenix, Alone on Christmas Day. Had to include one true, (almost) new holiday song (turns out it’s a lost Beach Boys song from 1979!). This one by Phoenix came out on December 4th, just couple weeks ago. It’s funny and brief (just 2:55), featuring movie lines from Bill Murray, among others. Whether or not you are alone on Christmas Day this year, it’s a good song for hanging out.
10. Weezer, Island in the Sun. The idyllic imagery that runs throughout this song quite literally takes you to another place. The band Weezer was around in the later 90’s grunge scene, but this song’s ringing guitar melody transcends time. It’s a great jam for flying to your “island in the sun” or just imagining it.
Just in case the playlist above isn’t right for your taste, know that holiday classics are a must for December! Look to Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Ella Fitzgerald for oldies, and The Jackson 5, Michael Bublé, and Pentatonix for relatively newer releases. These artists are almost entirely dual-purpose – suitable for both holiday parties or family gatherings and lounging around at home, maybe bundled up by a fire. Hope your holidays are filled with happiness – and music.