I hate to break it to you, but –
For those of us in the more northern regions of the world, winter is only just beginning. I tend to forget this fact of nature year after year, but this time I realised that being on to it does not necessarily make winter any more tolerable.
We cold-dwelling heroines must equip ourselves with weapons of the wooly wind-bracing variety to keep from freezing, but our hearts must be wrapped up and comforted also. For this kind of spiritual warmth, I turn to music.
“Ah music. A magic beyond all we do here!” – Albus Dumbledore
For some reason, I associate these albums with February. Why? Well, some of them were released in February, or I discovered them in February, or they just feel very February. Oh and I know that musically we’ve become a bit of a singles culture, but I still prefer albums for the collection of stories they tell.
Lily Allen – It’s Not Me It’s You
Valentine’s pink with a healthy dose of London snark.
The soft, pulsing beat and Lily’s light vocals pack a surprising punch with the cheeky lyrics and subject-matter.
I wanna be rich, and I want lots of money / I don’t care about clever, I don’t care about funny
This girl is real, and not afraid to speak the truth, and while a lot of it is what everyone else is thinking but not saying, this truthfulness also takes her to vulnerable, intimate places.
who’d have known, who’d have known / when you flash up on my phone / I’d no longer feel alone, no longer feel alone
Meghan Trainor – Title
In case you’re in search of some sweet retro sass.
Meghan Trainor’s songs feel cosily familiar: probably that combination of warm retro shoo-wop-wop‘s with a wink at its irony in a modern context.
you got that 9 to 5 / but, baby, so do I / so don’t be thinking I’ll be home and making apple pies
My introduction to Meghan Trainor was not “All About That Bass,” but “Lips Are Movin,” via Design Love Fest Bri’s art direction on the music video!
don’t call me “boo” / like you’re some kind of ghost
Eliza Doolittle – Eliza Doolittle
For staying in.
Eliza Doolittle’s got that balance of dreamy and down-to-earth, much like her fictional namesake.
don’t need to travel / round London tonight / we can play Monopoly / buy Mayfair in our own time
She downplays the whole popstar thing, instead promoting a more chill lifestyle of doing what you want even if it’s uncool.
I’m gonna be what I want / instead of being what I’m not / maybe it’s not enough / then I want none of it
Duffy – Rockferry
With a voice like 60’s glam.
There is something sad and soulful about this album, as black-and-white moody as its cover. But with excellent eyelashes. The more I think about it – yeah, spot on cover art.
I’ve been confused outta’ my mind lately / you think you’re loving but I want to be free / baby you’ve hurt me
She can croon, make you cry, and even whisper-rap. This is the soundtrack for someone who just needs a hug, and we’ve all been there right?
although you think I cope / my head is filled with hope / of some place other than here
Madonna – Confessions on a Dance Floor
Dance to that soft disco.
The tracks of this album weave together so that it’s a string of background beats as well as individual hits. It is literally the opposite of Eliza Doolitle’s message above. But we can’t be calm, cool, and collected all the time right?
time goes by so slowly for those who wait / no time to hesitate / those who run seem to have all the fun / I’m caught up I don’t know what to do
If you’re looking for that Gossip Girl opulence, here it is.
I don’t like cities, but I like New York. / other places, make me feel like a dork.
Kate Nash – My Best Friend Is You
Like a sleepover but actually an album.
Can we just crown Kate Nash the queen of lyrics? We’ve got the adorable Made of Bricks, the hardcore Girl Talk, and My Best Friend Is You is the happy medium.
I don’t know, there is something about you / would you like to spend time with me
Her best stuff is about normal feelings like girl-crushes and guy-crushes and jealousy and loneliness and love. For my favourite song that is more like a love poem, see “I Hate Seagulls”.
and I’m in love with you / and I can’t find the words to make it sound unique / but honestly you make me strong
Taylor Swift – Speak Now
Because there had to be a Taylor album.
Not exactly a newsflash: I am quite the Taylor Swift nerd. So the question was not whether she would be included on this list, but which album best represents the season. It was a tough call, but the winter wonderland that is “Enchanted” settled the debate.
this night is sparkling, don’t you let it go / I’m wonderstruck, blushing all the way home
This is Taylor’s one album that she wrote entirely by herself, and it rings of youthful sincerity. It’s the perfect soundtrack for a long bus ride – you know, rocking that gazing-out-the-window look? With, of course, some well-mannered jibes at boyfriend-stealers.
she looks at life like it’s a party and she’s on the list / she looks at me like I’m a trend and she’s so over it
So what about you, heroines? Whose voices get you through the winter blues?
P.S. How I listen to music