For most students their walk to school involves throwing on some headphones and listening to their favorite albums. With the cold weather in the winter months, the right album can make any walk managable. Here are some of the albums we listen to when walking to campus:
Interpol – Turn on the Bright Light
Quickly dismissed as a Joy Division rip-off when it came out in 2002, Interpol’s debut album Turn off the Bright Lights rises above such a comparison and stands firmly as its own body of work. The 11 songs on this album produce something shrouded in pain, emotionally penetrating and yet beautifully serenading.
There is a very romantic quality to the songs from start to finish. Tracks like “Untitled” and “NYC” bring the listener into the aura of a walk along Steinway Street on a cold, wintery night. That feeling of being in a metropolis comes as much from the environment they were written in to the songwriting abilities of Daniel Kessler, Paul Banks, Carlos Dengler and Samuel Fogarino.
The musicianship also added to melancholic atmosphere; the layered guitars, propping bass lines and ornate drumming all seems to come together and create this sorrowful yet beauteous sonic affair.
The Walkmen — Bows + Arrows
The Walkmen’s sophomore release Bows + Arrows is the sound of winter. It perfectly captures what it feels like to be a broke twenty-something, reeling from heartbreak and bursting with angst. The album opens with the appropriate “What’s In It For Me,” a song that recalls drunken walks home and bouts of uncertainty. The band is at their most immediate with “The Rat,” arguably one of the most intense and gratifying songs in indie-rock history. It opens with a wall of sound, built from layered guitars and organs, followed by what can only be described as the most air-drum worthy beat of all time.
The intensity and angst is sustained for the next few songs, until “Hang on Siobhan.” A swooning ballad of heartbreak with a delicate piano that feels fit for a lonely drive home through a blizzard.
As the album nears its end, the band appears to grow out of resentment and accept their failed relationships. The very last line, “Some day girl we’ll get along” gives end to a winter of melancholy.
Joey Bada$$ — B4DA$$
Brooklyn MC Joey Bada$$ made quite the impact with his 2012 mixtape release 1999. He even got crowned “New York hip-hop saviour” shortly thereafter.
Since then he has kept it pretty low-key until this past week he dropped his first studio album B4DA$$.
The album is filled with grimy boom bap tracks that make you feel like you are in the mean streets of New York City. The production is reminiscent of that golden era 90s hip-hop that made the genre so popular.
After listening to the LP over and over again, it is clear to see that 20-year-old Joey is an old soul. The rhymes fit seamlessly with the turntable beats, making a perfect winter soundtrack.
Royal Blood — Royal Blood
By their sound, you wouldn’t guess Royal Blood has only two members. Like The Black Keys or White Stripes, Royal Blood has produced a sound that seems to exceed their capability on their debut, self-titled album.
From the very first track, Royal Blood presents them as authoritative and direct. This album has a level of instrumental heaviness that rock music seems to lack these days, but still maintains that popular, smoky bitterness that can be found in other popular alternative bands like the Arctic Monkeys.
Royal Blood’s album is energetic and instantly gets your adrenaline pumping. This is why it’s the perfect album for second semester. Royal Blood will drag you out of bed on those dark winter mornings and motivate you to kick it into high gear and get going.
Flume & Chet Faker — Lockjaw
Despite consisting of a mere three songs in its entirety, this collaboration between the two Australian standouts is a precursor for all the hype they have received over the past couple of years. The EP is as much eerie as it is unique, with each song differing from the next.
Each song plays like a different state of mind, beginning with the hypnotic “Drop the Game,” which then transitions into the mellow beat of “What About Us” and finally culminating with the thought-provoking and moody track “This Song Is Not About A Girl.” Ultimately, this EP is essential for any music lover’s winter playlist with its ability to coincide with the dark days of winter in which you’re bogged down by readings, midterms and fast approaching deadlines.
However with the help of intricately constructed tunes on behalf of Flume and Chet Faker, there is hope on the horizon if you are willing to let yourself be whisked away by their downtempo vocals and production.