Pines – A Curated Holiday Music Playlist

Monday, December 19, 2016
I’ve never been one for Christmas. There’s something about working in retail during the holidays that ruins the prospect of merriment, for obvious reasons. From the moment Thanksgiving dinner is wrapped up for leftovers to the second even more extended family knocks on the door to spend what amounts to a month-long vacation at your home, and all the way up to the very last Christmas Day breath that is taken before falling asleep signaling it’s all over, everyone is in a rushed frenzy to get everything right.

From the gift to the wrapping, to the carefully crafted compliment you give your mother-in-law, everyone panics to fit his or her Christmas expectations in a neat little package, perfectly adorned with the message of embracing love and family. Though the intentions are good, we spend far too much time on the depiction and not on the content. This Christmas you should relax, listen to some good music, and savor the moments you get to spend with the people you love the most. Maybe even pretend you haven’t heard that story your grandpa recycles every year a couple dozen times.

With Christmas as my muse, here is my holiday playlist that should be played among those memory-creating moments as well as the memory-inducing ones that incite a kind of nostalgia fit for a Christmas TV movie special [note: no actual Christmas music is listed, because gross].

Susie Suh x Robot Koch ‘Here With Me’
Lyrics that stick: There was a reason I collided into you.
Reason to listen: A gentle reminder that even when your loved one is miles away, they are always there with you.
Listen when: Your significant other couldn’t make it home for Christmas. Or just in the car on the way to your grandparents house where no one can hear you scream along off-key.

Lord Huron ‘The Ghost On The Shore’
Lyrics that stick: I'm goin' away for a long time
Reason to listen: It sounds pretty. Really that is almost 79% of my reasoning. The other 21% is because of the strong presence of the spirit of Christmas throughout the song. It doesn’t actually, but now you know that I’m willing to comprise my integrity for a good pun.
Listen when: You want to fade into the background of the family game of charades, sort of like a lampshade. Or a ghost.

Daughter ‘Still’
Lyrics that stick: Two hands longing for each others warmth, cold smoke seeping out of colder throats
Reason to listen: A song that quells the fire just enough to keep your thoughts of familicide at bay.
Listen when: Everyone else has fallen asleep on Christmas Eve and you curl up on the couch in front of the fireplace, finally alone, to drink some hot chocolate and ruminate.

Bon Iver ‘Wash’
Lyrics that stick: I'm growing like the quickening hues
Reason to listen: The repeating piano melody reminds me of looking out of the window at falling snow and nothing is more cinematic than that.
Listen when: It just starts to snow a little harder than it was just moments ago and you’re feeling a little more poetic than usual.

The Head & the Heart ‘Lost in My Mind’
Lyrics that stick: Momma once told me you're already home where you feel love
Reason to listen: It sounds like a piece of advice your own mother would tell you when you’re not quite feeling like yourself.
Listen when: Your mom is finished giving you a pep talk about how you’re going to do great things after you open the incredibly thoughtful gift she got you, which is always just what you needed.

The Paper Kites ‘Revelator Eyes’
Lyrics that stick: You can say what you want but I'm giving it a chance
Reason to listen: In true 80’s pop culture fashion, the song actually feels like a cathartic life-changing moment that can be played alongside a real-life moment for effect.
Listen when: Sitting semi-circle around the Christmas tree unwrapping presents, you suddenly have a revelation about what your New Year’s resolution should be.

The Oh Hellos ‘Wishing Well’
Lyrics that stick: Oh, I stole from my father all I thought I could sell / Tossed his copper, and I watched as it fell / But there wasn't any water in the wishing well
Reason to listen: To bring you back to your teenage heathen days when you gave your parents an endless headache that they complain still persists to this day.
Listen when: Your dad insists on telling the story about the time he had to pick you up from jail after getting caught drinking underage to all of your relatives.

Down Like Silver ‘Wolves’
Lyrics that stick: When I die, let the wolves enjoy my bones
Reason to listen: The mood is brood-y, but offers explanations about your general feelings on a fundamentally important level.
Listen when: You’re feeling super dramatic about your sister getting a substantially better gift, which finally proves who the favorite is.

Broods ‘Killing You’
Lyrics that stick: But we can make up for it on the weekend
Reason to listen: Because I genuinely thought she was singing ‘but we can build a fort on the weekend’ and was consequently let down upon discovering the truth.
Listen when: Christmas Day arrives on the start of the weekend bringing excitement akin to Saturday morning cartoons and you decide to build a fort with your grown siblings, just to make up for all the times you didn’t get to because you were too busy being an adult.

Oh Wonder ‘White Blood’
Lyrics that stick: Giving me your white blood / I need you right here with me
Reason to listen: Besides being serenaded by a beautiful female vocalist, it’s nice to be joined to your partner in blood (but not by blood).
Listen when: You realize you can’t deal with the stress of last-minute Christmas shopping and constant condemnation of your career choice by your older relatives who have no idea what you do with an arts degree without someone who will listen to your constant complaints.

Chloe Tang ‘Forgive You Again’
Lyrics that stick: They will make you confess your worst and your best but maybe they’ll forgive you again
Reason to listen: The song describes every moment shared between family members, from the college graduations to the criminal offenses.
Listen when: Upon being with your family for countless consecutive days during the holidays, you realize they are the only people who still love you even when with all of the embarrassing and sometimes incriminating things they know about you.

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