By Abby Tredway
With the fall semester wrapping up, we are headed into a miserable time of the year signified by leafless trees, early sunsets, and, for some, below freezing temperatures. Although many opt for a nice jacket or a soft pair of mittens to keep them warm, I tend to reach for an album to avoid the cold. Over the years, this tendency has led me to accumulate a hefty list of my top picks for the season. Here are my five warmest albums!
songs by Adrianne Lenker (2020)
This is very possibly my favorite album of all time, and while I reach for it regardless of the season, it is perfect for winter. Released in October of 2020, “songs” has stood the test of time for me, as I have listened to it every day since. I’ve loved and lost and loved again with this album, but, most importantly, I’ve grown with it. The album as a whole is a folksy tribute to love, nature, and what once was. In the most popular song, anything, Lenker laments on a former lover in a beautiful fashion with soft vocals that are a commonality between every song. The pair of her calming vocals and intricate guitar are perfect for laying inside in attempt to warm up after a cold day outside. Every song is incredibly stripped down, mirroring the bareness of the trees in winter. Adrianne Lenker changed my life, and I’m hoping she’ll change yours.
2. Better Oblivion Community Center by Connor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers (2019)
Phoebe Bridgers and Bright Eyes frontman Connor Oberst teamed up to form their band Better Oblivion Community Center and released an impressive self-titled album that is perfect for the cold. Both Bridgers and Oberst are known for their writing skills, which means this superteam formulated the perfect album to either cope with seasonal depression or fall deeper into it. Either way, the journey Bridgers and Oberst take you on is worth it. On “Didn’t Know What I Was In For”, both close out the song with a haunting line: “Sit on the couch and think about how living is just a promise that I made.” Sonically, this album is more full than Lenker’s, riddled with drums, multiple guitars, and various other instruments. Both are incredible, but if a slower, more folksy album is not your pick, Better Oblivion Community Center is an incredible option without having to sacrifice the lyricism.
3. The Moldy Peaches by The Moldy Peaches (2001)
Led by Kimya Dawson and Adam Green, The Moldy Peaches’ only official album (excluding compilations) is a sweet, honest, and raw collection of songs. Both The Moldy Peaches and Dawson herself found fame after their inclusion in the soundtrack of 2007 film Juno. Michael Cera and Elliot Page came together for a cover of “Anyone Else But You”, which has become a fan-favorite on The Moldy Peaches’ self-titled album. In tracks like “Jorge Regula”, both Green and Dawson opt for a slower pace than their more popular songs, which they are able to do just as well as their faster songs. This album is as versatile as it is sweet, and is it sweet! As a contrast to the other two albums, this one will not leave you feeling upsest and discontented with your place in the world, so it may be a better choice for some.
4. Just Another Diamond Day by Vashti Bunyan (1970)
Regardless of the album, Vashti Bunyan is the quintessential winter artist. Her vocals are so incredibly calming, and they are the main focus of her songs. The intrumental takes a backseat and allow Bunyan to ruminate on many topics. This album almost forces you to light a candle and just sit while you listen to her voice. It is perfect for evenings where the sun sets sooner than it did previously and you’re waiting for something to do.
5. Bavarian Fruit Bread by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions (2001)
Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval and My Bloody Valentine’s Colm O’Ciosoig teamed up to create a slow, reflective album that perfectly fits the season. The sound is in character for both Mazzy Star and My Bloody Valentine, but it is also a perfect blend of the two separate bands. None of these songs have the simple structure of most common songs, which allows the listener to think more about what is being said. This album is great wintery dream pop, and won’t leave you feeling too sad. Both Mazzy Star and My Bloody Valentine are more wintery artists for me, and this doesn’t change with this pairing.