November never seems to end — at least to the average college student. Calm, cold air from October leaves and soon transforms into the harsh bite of winter. Students become tired of this dismal environment. Assignments start to accumulate. Parents call wondering when their children will come home. Friends and exes from high school reach out to reconnect.
Wintertime, from the promising onset of December, to the defrosting plains of March, is one painful season, and it seems no other device can soothe this heartache like folk music. Featuring cold violins and intimate guitar chords, this selection of music heals. So rather than pining after lost childhood friends, or stressing over finals, listen to this list of songs instead. Reach for some earbuds, press shuffle and learn to survive the cruel nature of winter.
“Song For Our Daughter” — Laura Marling
Blossoming with acoustics, this emotive tune centers on the closing childhood and approaching adulthood of Marling’s daughter. Her love for the subject of the song shines through, warming the heart of listeners with saccharine portraits of motherhood.
“Thirteen” — Bedouine
A cover of the original Big Star ballad, Bedouine, Hurray For The Riff Raff and Waxahatchee convert “Thirteen” into an innocent tale of adolescent romance. Singing in harmony, the three musicians construct an aura of fondness; the tune is reminiscent of an old friend telling stories.
“Whatever (Folk Song in C)” — Elliott Smith
Simple in production — Smith transforms two chords into one chorus — this melodic song details the miscommunication so common in love. In the end, though, Smith still wins his romantic interest over as he hums in the outro, “If you’re all done like you said you’d be/ What are you doing hanging out with me?”
“Womb” — Adrianne Lenker
Lenker bustles in the introduction of “Womb” with an interesting production choice: She doubles her vocals, adding volume and heartfelt emotion to the verses. An intense portrait of a long-distance relationship, the tune soars with sage statements about love. The most consummate of them describes two hearts, both pining to find each other: “My heart will always find you when your heart freely sings.”
“Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You” — Big Thief
“Magic,” the lead vocalist of the band hums amid lush horns and electronics. Her reliance on this refrain — the easiest illustration of this tune’s environment — continues until the post-chorus, when the band folds it into cascading waves of guitar.
“I’ll Be Your Mirror” — The Velvet Underground
In another meditation on romance, The Velvet Underground, in tandem with Nico, unravel the loving desire to underline the beauties of a crush. “Let me stand to show that you are blind,” Nico hums in bliss on the verse, reminding her lover of the treasures in their character.
“You are my House” — Skullcrusher
Skullcrusher narrates the act of letting her guard down around her partner, choosing to let them into her mind. With soft, whispered vocals, she describes herself as a letter sitting on some isolated table, “containing all of the loneliness.” Her defenses deactivated, she allows her lover to open the letter and read her true character.
“Freshly Laundered Linen” — Boom Forest
On the cover of Boom Forest’s self-titled album, one dim-lit church lies covered in dust and drenched in the morning sun. Boom Forest mirrors this scene with both his instrumentals and vocals, humming over soft guitars and bustling electronics. He laments his last lover, wishing for them to return and relieve him of his current illness — for her to trace him on the mend when he’s “broken and bent.”
“Autumn Town Leaves” — Iron & Wine
To close this list, Iron & Wine illustrates another tale of two people falling in love with one another. Perfect for the cold weather, the verses are adorned with realistic but beautiful accounts of fall leaves crashing on the windshield and embers flowing from the fireplace. His vocals and lyrics encapsulate both the frigid feelings and new beginnings of winter.