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Got mid-semester melancholy? Mope with these seasonal tracks

Listen to some moody tracks for fall and winter on your next freezing trek to class. – Photo by Karthikeya GS / Unsplash

As December nears, students all over campus are falling victim to what I like to call the "end-of-semester slump." Temperatures are dropping, motivation is fleeting and class attendance is declining. This in-between time of year calls for big jackets, warm drinks and a playlist of songs fit to match the mellow, sentimental vibe of the weather outside.

Here are some songs that are perfect for the change in season:

"Happy Xmas (War is Over)" by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

This melancholy Christmas tune is reminiscent of the first truly cold day after a warm October, of that post-Halloween transition into the holiday season. Lennon and Ono’s lyrics, while originally written in support of their protest of war and U.S. involvement in Vietnam, are truly timeless.

This song radiates the need for unification and togetherness, not only during the holidays but also all the time. And if the gentle voices of the children of the Harlem Community Choir don’t tug at your heartstrings, I don’t know what will. 

"That Funny Feeling" by Bo Burnham, covered by Phoebe Bridgers

Bridgers’ cover of Burnham’s song written for his comedy special "Bo Burnham: Inside" is an honest and uncanny look at today’s world. The song on its own has a theme of existential dread laced throughout it, and Bridgers' soft vocals and acoustic guitar only add to this parallel feeling of doom and nostalgia. This song is a great one for reflection during this time of year.

"Don’t Look Back in Anger" by Oasis

This Oasis hit happens to be one of my personal favorites of all time, if not my favorite. The utilization of the entire C major scale throughout the song allows for an incredibly powerful and emotional sound, one only matched by lyrics preaching a life of no regret. It's a great song to scream in the car and even better to have swirling through your headphones in the crisp November and December air.

"Hide and Seek" by Imogen Heap

During my most recent rewatch of the Hulu short series "Normal People" (based on the book by Sally Rooney of the same name), I was reminded of the magic and genius of this song. It may just be one of the most interesting-sounding songs I have ever heard, with Heap seemingly singing with herself instead of a background melody. This song is the turn of the season personified as there is a real sense of unknowingness and visceral feelings laced in every word and tune sung. 

"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John

To me, "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" is a definitive classic of John. While others may think of "Tiny Dancer" or "Rocket Man," I feel like "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" is a near-perfect piece. This song is a rite of passage — it is an anthem of someone breaking free and starting anew, something all of us are focused on as the new year approaches. John’s ability to write something so deeply personal yet paradoxically so relatable is what makes this song so fantastic and one I will continue to listen to during this season and all the rest.

"Nothing New" by Taylor Swift featuring Bridgers

“Criticize the way you fly / When you’re soaring through the sky / Shoot you down and then they sigh / And say, 'She looks like she’s been through it'" — this lyric from “Nothing New” may just be the most accurate representation of how most of us feel heading into the end of the semester and the end of the year.

I think I can unanimously speak for all of us — especially for the girls out there — when I say that we have all "been through it." Once again, Swift has written a song that speaks perfectly to her audience, allowing them to understand that they are not alone in their emotions. Beyond this, the collaboration with Bridgers was an amazing choice to fully capture the depth and often despair of the female experience, especially that of young women. 

Some honorable mentions include "Sign of the Times" by Harry Styles and "Don’t Dream It’s Over" by Crowded House. The fact that "Sign of the Times" was Styles' first solo single is a testament to his unmatched talent and musical vulnerability. This song renders so many emotions and is such a good sad/pop/rock fusion to listen to while battling through the cold of winter.

"Don’t Dream It’s Over" is a true classic, a once-in-a-lifetime anthem about not giving up, which is something that we all need to be reminded of as the year comes to a close.

So if you're feeling the slowed-down, moody vibe of the season and semester changes, be sure to match your music to your mood — these songs are a great place to get started.


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