4 winter themed albums for those who don’t enjoy Christmas music


Daija Hammonds

Bon Iver’s debut album “For Emma, Forever Ago” released in 2007 and is a staple to listen to in the winter. (Daija Hammonds | Northern Star)

By Nick Glover, Lifestyle Editor

Winter is here. While some are ready for Christmas music, others want to celebrate the season without bringing the holidays up yet. For those people, here are some albums that feel like winter. 


Bon Iver are the kings of winter. Fronted by Justin Vernon, whom many believe makes up Bon Iver by himself, the group’s first release, 2007’s “For Emma, Forever Ago,” is the most unadulterated and pure depiction of winter in music. 

The album, recorded almost exclusively by Vernon, features waves of acoustic instruments and Vernon’s signature airy falsetto. The album is Vernon’s way of dealing with a breakup but is certainly not a breakup album. The wide range of emotions and the vast composition of this album make it feel like the pits of winter. The acoustic guitars feel like the soft gusts of winter air, and Vernon’s voice feels like a biting cold against the listener’s nose, ears and cheeks. 


“Undercurrent” takes Bill Evans’ trademark piano playing, which already sounds like winter because of its cool and mild sound, and adds it to Jim Hall’s soft and round guitar tone. 

This duo takes the standard cool Christmas jazz album and perfects it. The song “Skating In Central Park” is a key example of that. Evans’ growing piano intro, met by Hall’s guitar melody, warms the soul like a cup of hot cocoa after a day in the snow. The pair’s interplaying adds a fun dynamic to the song which makes listeners feel like children about to go out and enjoy the fresh snow outside. 


“Another (Demo) One” is a follow-up to singer Mac DeMarco’s earlier album “Another One.” “Another (Demo) One” may be the purest DeMarco’s sound has ever been. The loopy electric guitars combine with his breathy and talkative voice to create the perfect rendition of DeMarco’s sound. 

Where this album differs from “Another One” is in the purity of this demo. When “Another One” tries to sanitize the music, it takes away the thin layer of haze that makes DeMarco’s music what it is. The winter vibes in “Another (Demo) One” come from the simple grooves and the coolness that DeMarco exudes; “Another (Demo) One” feels like a sunny winter day. 


When I think of winter music, I think of Ella Fitzgerald. The simplistic backing around her experienced, almost raspy voice feels like the dropping temperature. The smooth jazz that surrounds her feels like snow in your hands. 

Take, for example, “Misty” off of her album “Mack The Knife: Ella in Berlin.” This song takes Fitzgerald’s voice to another level. Her vocal expertise is clear and her sound is about as good as it gets. The backing of the Paul Smith Quartet sets the mood for Fitzgerald’s voice perfectly. Her smoothness and the group’s cohesion with her sound paint the image of a cool, dark winter evening.