Phoebe's Top Five: Winter Playlist
When snow blankets the street outside my home in Queens, only a few things make me feel warm: furry slippers, a glass of wine, and Sam Cooke, particularly the song “Nothing Can Change This Love” – it’s slow, smooth, and calming. If lazing around in your pajamas is not something you’d like to do during the winter holidays, aim for the live 1963 version from Harlem Square Club – it’s a little bit more upbeat. Still smooth, but this time with a kick.
If the instrumental intro of this song doesn’t make you swoon, the broken vocals of lead singer Caleb Followill might. The combination of a voice that sounds like he’d been crying all night and the slow, sweet riffs of the guitar and bass together lands this song into dramatic movie scene territory. Or maybe just the early morning hours of a college student’s life.
If your winter cheer is just settling in, all you need to complete the magic is Smokey Robinson and The Miracles’ “You Really Got A Hold On Me.” Smokey Robinson’s voice is reed-thin yet full of soul on the track, unpretentiously breaking in some parts and impeccably trained in others. Not only are the vocals on par with the laid-back tempo of this song, but also the lyrics are immediately catchy and great for karaoke.
This song isn’t new either, but it’s more modern than the other selections. The pairing of Ben Folds and Regina Spektor - both quirky, both extremely talented - is almost a guarantee for great music. The song is peppy and buoyant, with Folds’s deadpan and sometimes-offbeat tone in contrast to Spektor’s wispy and passionate warbling. The subject matter, however, is less optimistic than the melody suggests. A great song for post-break-ups, the Folds/Spektor team turns out to be more sweet than bitter.
Lastly, for the true romantic at heart there is indie-pop singer Ingrid Michaelson and her cover of “Fools Rush In.” Fans of Michaelson’s are familiar with her cozy, saccharine lyrics (“You and I” and “The Way I Am”, anyone?) set to a background of lazy guitar strumming and Michaelson’s high-pitched chirrups. This song, however, is very different. The folksy guitar is replaced with resonating piano chords, and Michaelson’s trills are exchanged for slow, rich croons. It’s fluffy, soft Ingrid Michaelson – but more grown up and mature.