I woke up Sunday morning to sub-40 degree temperatures in Seattle and I realized that Autumn and Winter were suddenly upon me. The decline from the 60 degree weather of September to now explains my rapid descent into dark brooding music. I have mostly pushed bands like Vampire Weekend and Ok Go to the side in favor of artists like Nine Inch Nails and the Black Keys. Listening to these songs makes it easier for me to deal with the depression bouts I tend to get in the cold, dark winter.
1. “Came Back Haunted” by Nine Inch Nails
Trent’s return to form with this song really makes me feel like I am 16 again, in a good way, that someone can understand the dark mark in my soul. Trent seems to have found a great balance between sobriety and madness on the new album. He has somehow reinvented The Downward Spiral era. The video is directed by David Lynch, so it’s a win-win!
2. “Chop and Change” by the Black Keys
The only good thing about the Twilight series was its soundtracks. One of my favorite Black Keys songs, “Chop and Change” captures a really awesome dark bluesy groove. The organ haunts me in my sleep.
3. “Reflektor” by the Arcade Fire
The newest song on the list, the new Arcade Fire creates a great ’70s-era Bowie sound with a driving rhythm. I have always appreciated Regine and Win’s vocal duets. David Bowie appears on this song doing background vocals somewhere, but no one has said where yet.
4. “Cry for Judas” by the Mountain Goats
There is something about the horns in this song that really snags me. It punctuates the sadness the song conveys to me. The video just kills me every time. The lyrics continue their twisted tradition of sounding happy while not really being happy. This whole record actually has a very dark jazzy sound. The record involves patients in a psychiatric ward in Washington state.
5. “Norwegian Wood” by the Beatles
Short but sweet. John burned down someone’s house at the end. That’s punk rock. The sitar appearance marks one of the first times it was used in Rock ‘n Roll.
6. “Capitalism Stole My Virginity” by the (International) Noise Conspiracy
Forming from the ashes of Refused, T(I)NC evolved into a political punk band. I have always loved this song. Just like the Black Keys’ song mentioned earlier, the organ part is so awesome. I have been listening to this song a lot lately. Maybe it’s my inner socialist banging to come out again.
7. “Pure Imagination” by Fiona Apple
This song came out of nowhere, thanks to my favorite fast food place. Chipotle contracted Fiona to cover a song for their commercials. You might remember Willie Nelson’s awesome cover of “The Scientist” from a year or so back. Well, Willy Wonka and Fiona go hand and hand. This is such an amazing cover. This marks two great covers that Fiona has done, “Across the Universe” being the other one.
8. “Dead Souls” by Joy Division
I love this song so much. First hearing it as a Nine Inch Nails cover, and then discovering Ian Curtis’s haunting vocals from Joy Division. Joy Division is a band I am exploring much more.
9. “Mother” by Danzig
Oh Glenn, I love you. I have always preferred Danzig to the Misfits. His vocals in this song just give me the chills.
10. “Coldest Winter” by Kanye West
Oh, you thought I was going to skip Kanye, didn’t you? Like that would happen. Your resident Kanye cultist is here to deliver the song that inspired this list. This track stands out on 808s. The drums really hit home for me in this song. I find myself air drumming all the time to this song.
I am so glad to have music as an outlet to help stave off my depressive episodes or help me recover from them. I hate that mental illness is stigmatized in this country. This being my first winter as myself, I hope I can be ok.