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november in sounds

November 25, 2015

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A few years ago, as we were driving down to Salem, Massachusetts, my sister and brother-in-law popped Neil Young’s Harvest album in the CD player. It was the perfect soundtrack to the day — the dawn of an autumn morning, the start of a new season, New England’s forest ablaze with crimson and gold. Harvest, according to them, is meant to be listened to in the fall, and only in the fall. These folk take their music (and their movies) seriously — each album unto its own season.

I can’t say that I consciously play certain albums at only specific times of the year (except for Christmas music), although I do tend to play different genres, depending on the season.

November is a tough month. It’s cold, dark, temperamental, melancholic. November is about little deaths and the beginning of a long stretch, which is generally met with resistance. It is a limbo month — no longer the glorious colours of October, not yet the festive season that is December.

I usually listen to indie folk in November or sad music the likes of Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, Gillian Welch and, lately, Marika Hackman.

Case in point. Here are the most played songs on my iTunes this month:

  1. Wasting My Young Years by London Grammar
  2. Pink Rabbits by The National
  3. Tomorrow by Daughter
  4. Wash. by Bon Iver
  5. Hunger of the Pine by alt-J

That, and Scandinavian music, which is often quite moody. Although, I’ve recently discovered that those Scandis can drop a mean beat. So I thought I’d make a playlist for y’all – a Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Icelandic and Swedish mash-up of mostly infectious pop music to help get you through these dark pre-winter days… noir pop, electro pop, synth pop, atmospheric lo-fi pop, all sorts of pop, and ending on an emotional and hypnotic note, bien sûr, in compliance with Rob Gordon’s rules for making a good mix tape.

“Now, the making of a good compilation tape is a very subtle art. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.” — Rob Gordon, High Fidelity

I hope you enjoy it.

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