Baby, it's cold outside. For some, that's reason to sing a happy holiday tune, but for others -- those of us who like sunshine and warmth and clothing not made of wool -- it's a wicked rippin' bummer. As we steel ourselves for the season ahead, we decided to make a Super Specific Weekly Playlist about beating winter depression. Never mind that SAD light; just cram some earbuds under your knit cap and blast these songs as you brave the elements. We'll get through this. Honest.
We dissed SAD lights in our intro, but seasonal affective disorder is no joke. If a crazy-bright lightbulb mollifies your malaise, more power to you. As for us, we'll crank some atmospheric Scottish indie rock and pretend we're in a Glasgow pub, warming ourselves the old-fashioned way.
"Who Loves the Sun"The Velvet Underground
"Who loves the sun?" ask the Velvet Underground, who then answer from the perspective of the heartbroken: "Not everyone." Maybe not, but count us among those who, no matter how lovesick we are, prefer not to go through life with numb hands and a runny nose. Luckily, this sunniest of all VU jams warms the cockles, whatever those are.
"(Love Is Like a) Heatwave"The Jam
The title makes this an obvious choice, but more importantly, Paul Weller and the boys rip through Martha and the Vandellas' Motown standard with enough pop-punk ferocity to get the slushiest blood running.
"It's Cold Outside"Stiv Bators
After the breakup of the Dead Boys, Cleveland's premier punk frontman reinvented himself as a first-rate power-popper. Among his finest tunes was this cover of the Choir's 1966 garage nugget, a tune penned by Danny Klawon, later of the Raspberries. "It's cold outside / and the rain is falling down," Stiv sings, warming himself (and you) with sweet, sweet melody.
"The Only Place"Best Coast
You prefer Wu-Tang Clan to Snoop Dogg, pizza to burritos and blue jeans to board shorts. Still, you messed up: Had you chosen to live in on the West Coast, you'd be warm right now, and you'd be singing this for all the shivering suckers back East.
The Ramones were from New York, so they were no strangers to cold weather, but Midwestern deep freeze is a different sort of beast. The titular Danny is manager Danny Fields, who sends the gang on tour to Idaho, where they "can't go surfing 'cause it's 20 below." It's a drag, but by the end of the tune, it's Christmas, and they're in L.A., lamenting the lack of snow. The moral is either that you don't know what you've got until it's gone, or that you're screwed no matter where you are. Take your pick.
Despite a double whammy of ska puns (the group name and the song title), this one's pretty great. Describing his battle with an evil Great Northern variant of rude boy -- the type of Jamaican gangster mythologized in the ska subculture -- the narrator references Vespa dogsleds, checkered igloos and creeper-style snow shoes, imagining his foe as a kind of Inuit ruffian. Keeping up with the jokes and digging the eerie horn line will take your mind off the bitter winds burning your face.
No matter how cold it gets, it'll never be as frigid as Robert Smith's heart. Rock this Pornography cut and feel the relative warmth emanating from your body cavity.
"Just one political song, just one political song," singer Jesse Michaels declares on this ska-punk classic, which hinges on a doom-and-gloom weather metaphor straight out of the Clash's "London Calling." The overriding message: Mankind is corrupt, and there's an ice age approaching. The words are meant to inspire hope and activism, so grab some leaflets and hit the streets. You may even break a sweat.
When all else fails, get the hell out of town.