As Berkeley is getting colder, you might notice that your mood is changing as well. Maybe it’s because the trees look greener than they ever did before or that the sun looks like a different kind of beautiful when it peeks out after a rain shower — but slower songs might be hitting home more often than they did in summer.
Whether you love or hate the rain, it can be therapeutic if you let it be. The sight of its vertical streaks running down your window and drum of its drops hitting your umbrella is cathartic, really. Why else would so many Nicholas Sparks movies have so many scenes in the rain? Go break out those baggy sweaters, sip on a coffee (holiday drinks not allowed) and indulge in these 11 rain-inspired tracks that sound all the more beautiful in this weather.
Interlude 2 — Alt-J
Just as a precaution, this first track can easily be mistaken as background noise. But we assure you, it is definitely not coming from the Yoshua guy you just passed by on Sproul. The one-minute An Awesome Wave track sounds like a portion of the day spent walking by strangers on the sidewalk or hearing a car whiz by you on wet pavement — and these charming resonances result in a very sweet melody.
Sweet Disarray — Dan Croll
This song from Dan Croll sounds like a live acoustic performance. You can even hear the microphone bleed in his vocals and the instrumentals propagate as if you were in the room with him. The harmonized vocal arrangements and rollercoaster of percussion will surely lift you up on the grayest of days.
Into Eternity — Carlos Nino, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson
The internationally celebrated composer Carlos Nino teamed up with instrumentalist Miguel Atwood-Ferguson to create this emotionally condensed, piano-dominated track. You’ll hear the turning of the waves and notice some Joe Hisaishi-esque melodies, as it was created to offer support to the tsunami victims back in 2011. It’s been three years, and its healing powers have not weathered one bit.
Collapse — Vancouver Sleep Clinic
Vancouver Sleep Clinic, or 18-year old Tim Bettinson, is one of those artists who can brilliantly balance electronic and acoustic tones. “Collapse” is something you could very well close your eyes and sleep to, and its slow burning instrumentals and falsetto vocals sound even better with the texture of the rain.
Aisatsana  — Aphex Twin
Aphex Twin on a rainy playlist? Sure, most of the eccentric techno artist’s releases sound the farthest thing from soothing, but this closing track from Syro is an unexpected exception. This delicate production made up of whimsical keyboard and the occasional bird chirps would blend in beautifully with a walk under our dripping Berkeley trees.
Lift Me Up — Nick Hakim
“Lift Me Up” starts off building up tension that ultimately releases itself in bursts towards the end of the song. Its crescendo of haunting instrumentals and vocals are emotionally purging, and Nick Hakim’s soulful vocals are as organic as it gets.
I Only Know (What I Know Now) — James Blake
Singer James Blake strips down to what sounds like white noise and humming, and it works because it’s James Blake. Arguably one of his most experimental tracks, “I Only Know” plays with a handful of samples and marries them here into one cohesive sound.
Pretty Thoughts — Galimatias
Galimatias and Alina Baraz create magic together in their collaborations. “Pretty Thoughts” is tinged with electronic rhythms and soft synthesizers that will altogether take you to a very pretty sonic space.
Fire Escape — Foster the People
This track from Foster the People’s latest album Supermodel will be surprising if the last thing you’ve heard from the band is “Pumped Up Kicks.” The band taps into a melancholy sound in “Fire Escape,” and Vocalist Mark Foster opts for a hushed voice and soft fingerpicking on an acoustic guitar.
San Fran — Moses Sumney
All five tracks from Moses Sumney’s Mid-City Island could have made this list, but this one’s extra special because it alludes to the Bay Area fog we all know and love. Made from the soul-folk creative’s bedroom in LA, this artistically authentic track can and will play with your emotions.
Svefn-g-englar — Sigur Ros
Closing this playlist is a single back from 1999 from the Icelandic band Sigur Ros. It’s a pretty heavy track; the song’s name in English translation is actually “sleepwalkers” or “sleep angels.” Unless you speak Icelandic, you probably won’t understand a word, but this is one of those songs that defies translation.
Contact Tiffany Kim at [email protected].