Y’all I am so ready to say goodbye to winter. It’s been rainy, gloomy, moody, and overall just not the right vibe. But I can say in full confidence that the soundtrack has been perfect.
To wrap up Winter 2022, I’m sharing some of the songs on my playlist and thoughts on new releases from the season. Stick around for the full playlist.
Winter had some tough shoes to fill after Fall 2022 had me living my best life. But I think what I didn’t know was I needed a slowdown with some time for reflection. I had a lot to process and a lot to take inventory of and though I ran from my journal, I took refuge in these songs. They range from “this is how I want to feel” to “this is how I’m actually feeling but I’m avoiding it”. A lot of the songs actually have something interesting in common: I was really drawn to them at first for an instrumentation reason and then after further reflection, there was something that spoke right to me. So, because I’ve been avoiding my journal for some reason, this Winter 2022/2023 playlist explains all the thoughts and feelings that swirled around my head. Phew, buckle up y’all.
F2F by SZA
“I hate me enough for the two of us, hate that I can’t let go of you enough…”
When I say SZA’s album hit, I mean SZA’s album hit. I was two steps from putting the entire album here, but that’s why Juliette and I went to see her. I loved this song for the way she totally leans into pop-punk instrumentation here. Also Lizzo helped write this song?! Iconic!!! Of all the songs on the album, it was my first favorite. At first I didn’t think I related to it because I wasn’t in a verbatim situation like SZA describes. But — the way I bounced between two seemingly impossible crushes made this song feel right. While one of the crushes faded with time (and new knowledge that they were seeing someone), the other one has been a bitch to deal with. And cue the first crack in my “I’m doing great” exterior.
Players by Coi Leray
“He thinkin’ he the one, I got like four of him…”
The second I felt my cool girl exterior crack, I needed a reminder that I am a bad bitch. Enter in this timely TikTok viral hit. This song bounced around my head for weeks as I imagined a version of me stringing along 3 different guys that would be madly in love with me. I definitely wanted to feel like this but the consequences were enough to keep me from acting on it. Having to actually deal with dumb boys? No thank you.
Winter Solstice by Phoenix
“Now it’s hard to connect, but the world’s unchained…”
I remember being so mad that I found this song in January, aka AFTER the winter solstice. But hey, it’s here now. I was immediately drawn to this song for the synth melody and pulsing rhythm. But as I dove into the feeling of the song, it felt like it painted the unstable world I was living in — especially with the insane amounts of rain we got in LA. Moody as hell, but gorgeous nonetheless. If I’m being generous to my least favorite season, this does sound like winter.
Chit Chat by Beach Weather
“Chit chat is holding me back from you…”
I have a funny story about how attached I got to this song. So, in January, I was listening to ALT 98.7’s livestream of their annual ALT-er Ego show and as I tuned in, one of the artists that was playing was Beach Weather. Like a dumbass, I fully confused them with Beach House. When their set started, I was like “oh these guys aren’t gonna play “Space Song”…so who are they?” As they started to play I recognized them and remembered I liked them too. Specifically, I remembered how months ago I found the absolute bop that is this song. It quickly became my go-to flirty shenanigans song as I realized how much I loved engaging in playful banter.
Can’t Stop Your Lovin’ by Poolside ft. Panama
“I can’t stop, you’re playing with me, I just can’t stop all your loving…”
Sheesh talk about a bop. If I wasn’t brooding in SZA’s album or indulging in some new to me indie rock, I was playing this song on repeat. There’s something about playing some funky, soulful jams in January that makes the gloomy weather bearable. This song feels like sunshine in a bottle and boy was it needed to break up the humdrum.
Money Power Freedom (and a lover) by BIIANCO ft. Maiah Manser
“I want it, I want it, I want it all…”
We’ve worked with BIIANCO at my job and when I saw they were releasing this banger, I had to immediately pre-save it. This is exactly the kind of track I want to play at the club, on a run, whenever I need to voice what I’m after. Highly underrated, highly recommended.
Boys Like You by ITZY
“I don’t fall for boys like you…”
I heard this song while I was having probably the best fried chicken at my closest Korean fried chicken restaurant. It was at this moment that I heard my K-POP aficionado friend Slim’s voice urging me to explore more K-POP music. This song is a fucking banger y’all. I love a girl group bashing boys moment so much. It felt refreshing to hear the polish of a K-POP girl group on a song like this. I need more so please let me know if you have other recs!
I’m Not Dyin’ by Colony House
“I’m not dyin’ but I’m not livin’ like I could…”
So I spent my birthday fighting off a gnarly throat infection I caught from seeing Harry Styles in Palm Springs a week prior. I was really upset about how sick I had gotten because it felt like an extreme consequence for living a little. I’m convinced now that it was COVID that evaded my at-home testing which makes me even more angry. But anyway, this new pensive surf rock track from Colony House really captured the bummer I felt from having to stay home to avoid getting people sick.
Bad Taste by The Never Ending Fall
“She’s got some bad taste in men I’ll tell it to her face if I see him again, I hope I don’t…”
WE FINALLY GOT THE SONG FOLKS. I’d literally been waiting for this song for like 6 months and the day after my birthday, it was finally here. Not only is the mix so good, but this absolute jam captures makes you want to blast it loud with the windows down. I was worried that the studio version wouldn’t be able to reflect the magic after seeing how electrifying this song is live three times. But that worry was immediately squashed when I heard it. The mix is punchy, just like the live performance and yes, the guitar solo is INSANE live.
Liar by Paramore
“And all the ways I’d keep you safe, I keep you safe from me…”
Just like SZA’s SOS, I struggled to not put the entire album in this playlist. I love every song on this album so much but I have to talk about the shot to my heart that is “Liar”. I had this whole moment with this song when I spent an entire drive from the OC basically crying to this song. What really hit me was the way Hayley let her guard down in this song. As someone who constantly has her guard up, I feel like this song is the state of vulnerability I want to get to. It’s given me something to look forward to honestly. The melodies in this song oscillate between powerfully soft and delicate and wanting to nervously stay strong. It’s such a masterpiece. This song is so beautiful and it hurts and I love it.
Trigger by Hayley Williams
“Truth is all I really want is somebody who wants me. Somebody I can count on who won’t disappoint me…”
On the same drive where I cried to “Liar” by Paramore, I bawled to this one. I’ve told a few close friends about my goal to be in a relationship by the end of this year. I’ve been saying that I feel like I need to get something out of my system by taking a carefree approach, but if I’m being honest, I’m scared to do that prep work. I’m scared because I know my tendencies to go all in and devote myself to the point of deprioritizing myself. I’m really that quick to drop everything and be there for someone, but it leaves me building resentment when I give and it isn’t returned. I’m scared of falling into that cycle with someone I really care about but all I want is to fall in love with someone. Dammit Hayley.
People by Libianca
“Did you check on me? Now, did you notice me?”
I actually found this song because I saw a video of Mayyadda covering it. I was immediately into it because of my ✨abandonment issues.✨ Instrumentation-wise I love this song because it’s a perfect chill Afrobeats groove. It’s the type of song I can cry to without feeling like I need a resolution. I can listen to this song in my loneliness and just stew.
Can’t Run Forever by Vacation Manor
“Now you’re alone and it goes to show, that you can’t run forever…”
I should know by now that when I find a cool indie rock song portraying a song subject as a free-spirit, it’s usually calling out the plights of a free-spirit that I shouldn’t be romanticizing. But here I am again, romanticizing as I relate a little too deeply with the song subject here. As someone who is usually painfully aware of her anxious-avoidant attachment style, this song speaks to the side I still don’t want to deal with: the avoidance. I fixated on this song for the maj7 chords and the catchy melody…but then it hit me how I was craving the need to really shake things up in an effort to avoid certain realities. Whether I redirected my concert funds to flights or decided I’m definitely dyeing my hair red later this year, I realized I am still running away from my parents. I’m just fully a teenager these days; dedicated fan to a random indie band and all. I hate it here, someone please give me money for more flight tickets.
Bluebird by Miranda Lambert
“I’ll keep a light on in my soul and keep a bluebird in my heart…”
My friend Whitney is a huge country music fan and we spent an evening where she showed me Miranda Lambert’s discography highlight reel since we’re seeing her Vegas residency in April. Of all the songs we went through, this one spoke to me deeply. I appreciate the ways that Miranda sings in shades here. She’s got a lot of fun wordplay here as she sings about the ways she keeps hope alive. This metaphor really stuck with me because I ended up likening myself to a bluebird in a cage when describing how I feel trapped living at home to my friend Shannon while in Houston for my bestie Katie’s bachelorette weekend. I’m encouraged by Miranda here because of the way she tenderly sings about the bluebird in her heart.
Heartbreak Feels So Good by Fall Out Boy
“We could dance our tears away, emancipate ourselves. We’ll cry later or cry now, but baby heartbreak feels so good …”
Fall Out Boy’s releases leading up to their next album release have been so good. This one was a jam when I first listened to it even though I was initially hesitant to accept Pete’s thesis on heartbreak here. It wasn’t until I was crying in Shannon’s bathroom after making a drunken discovery of my emotional state that I understood why heartbreak felt so good. For months I’d been feeling emotionally blocked, especially since I had stopped therapy. But feeling the depths of my frustration and sadness made my heart feel good, as heavy as it was to deal with at such an inopportune time.
Always Get This Way by The Aces
“I always get this way, it’s fine…”
I love getting read to filth by The Aces with a catchy ass song; this is like “Don’t Freak” all over again. I have not been able to stop listening to this song since I had a post-breakdown dance party in Shannon’s bathroom. Real talk, this song is very validating when sorting through feelings. As someone who feels deeply, tapping into feelings is always hard because the temptation to stay wallowing is always there. Another layer of this song hitting me right now is the way I struggle to deal with my aforementioned lingering crush. I don’t even want to be in a relationship with them; I just be feeling things. And that’s a way I always get.
Impurities by Arlo Parks
“My chest is buzzing like a bluebird caged…”
There we go again with the bluebird caged metaphor. Also I had to rewind it a couple times to figure out why Arlo Parks had name dropped my best friend Juliette. It feels so beautiful to know that the first time I listened to this song was sitting on a park bench in downtown Houston during probably the most beautiful weekend. It made me that much more excited to see Juliette again because if there’s one person that could speak the kindness that Arlo sings here back to me, it’s her.
Dead by Quarters of Change
“But do you remember all the memories we had?”
I got to see Quarters of Change at the Roxy and leading up to the show, I could not stop replaying this bop. As I steeped in this song, I started thinking about how quickly I start to resent someone I really liked when I decide I don’t like them anymore. Specifically I thought about the guy I went on that one date in the summer and how infatuated I was with him. I remember when I got the ick from him and I blocked him from my watching my IG stories because I felt like it was such a lazy way to keep in touch. I remembered recently that he still follows me on Instagram and will like the feed posts I put out. So weird. But even weirder that I feel resentment towards him still.
3 Boys by Omar Apollo
“Three boys would work if I wasn’t so tethered to you…”
Omar opened for SZA and I was so excited to hear his set. Especially wanted to scream this song. God, it’s songs like this where the line between my actual feelings and the feelings from the song are blurry. As much as I don’t want to admit it, I’ve had feelings for my aforementioned crush for quite a while. I didn’t think about it too deeply for a long time, but as I started to process our interactions more, I had a suspicion that maybe it could be reciprocated. I don’t want to get any hopes up because 1) I’m not looking for anything serious at all right now and 2) I always get my hopes up and it never works. So yeah, I’m out here trying to find a second, a third, maybe even a fourth while this song hits me in the feels.
Drew Barrymore by SZA
“Lonely enough to let you treat me like this…”
When I say SZA’s entire discography hit, I mean SZA’s entire discography hit. I found myself really drawn to this song because of the melodies and the quirky lyrics, like pretty much all SZA songs have struck my heart. But what my fixation with this song spoke to was the deep loneliness I’ve struggled with. I’ve really lived off of crumbs of affection in my old people pleaser ways. It’s been to the point where I’m so lucid about it, but I still find myself tempted to question if I’m warm enough to someone. Dammit SZA.
Albums you gotta listen to: SOS by SZA, Honey by Samia, AURORA by Daisy Jones & The Six, The Cannonballers by Colony House, This is Why by Paramore, Let Her Burn by Rebecca Black, With Love From by Aly & AJ
At the end of the fall, I remember feeling like I had no idea what was next. Partially, I wondered when the other shoe would drop. While winter definitely had its hardships, I’m glad I have better clarity now. I don’t know what spring will bring, but as long as I make space to feel all the feels, I should make it through. I can’t wait for spring.