An indie holiday, wrapped: your December Press-Playlist

Sarah Bergin, Arts Editor

The holidays are among us, accompanied by the brisk air, chestnuts roasting on an open fire and Gen-Zers telling you that their music taste is better than yours through their Spotify Wrapped and Apple Replay. It seems inescapable–everywhere you look, there’s someone with Taylor Swift as their top artist with Harry Styles following thereafter, chanting the viral meme, “I’m a child of divorce!”

Despite this, there are a good amount of University students with a sense of entitlement, knowing that their top artists are lesser-known. I have to admit, I’m a mix of both listeners and I’m a sucker for an indie holiday.

If you enjoy iced coffee even in this cold weather (make that with light ice while you’re at it) and are layering your button-ups with sweater vests, this month’s Press-Playlist is for you.

“two queens in a king sized bed” – girl in red

This Norwegian artist is known for her single “we fell in love in october,” but she’s also well-versed in a December anthem. “two queens in a king sized bed” is reminiscent of her usual lo-fi sound as well as her enchanting lyricism. As an LGBTQIA+ figure in music, girl in red has created a platform and inspired her worldwide fanbase. The familiar yet beguiling track enhances her entrancing vocals throughout this song. The imagery girl in red uses throughout her songwriting creates a divine holiday song for our Press-Playlist listeners to enjoy.

“Time of the Season” – Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan

From the collaborative 2010 album “Hawk” comes “Time of the Season,” a vocally dark and instrumentally bright song for this holiday season. Isobel Campbell of Belle & Sebastian and the late Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees are paired throughout the track, but Campbell’s writing is at the forefront. The contrast of their vocal ranges is soothing to the ear, which draws the keen listener’s attention to the lyrics. It’s a true collaboration, as they sing together almost the whole time, conjoined as one. This is a great addition to both holiday and everyday playlists, as it can pass as a casual listen all throughout the year.

“Blue Christmas” – Kevin Morby

“Blue Christmas” is a holiday classic, but Kevin Morby takes a different approach to his cover. The alternative singer-songwriter took to electronic production of the rooted original, combining the two influences to create a modern take on this melody. His vision was executed in an indie holiday essential, making its way onto this month’s Press-Playlist. Outside of the holiday track, Morby has multiple albums, his latest release this past May. Throughout his songwriting, he has honed his tone and has become true to himself, something that is evident in his music.

“Mr. Frosty Man” – Sufjan Stevens

Sufjan Stevens might be recognized for his work on the “Call Me By Your Name” soundtrack, but he’s also known for his holiday-themed songs and covers–including his musical tribute to Frosty the Snowman. “Mr. Frosty Man” is from his extensive holiday album “Silver & Gold” which consists of nearly three hours of twists on classics and original songs. The irresistible progression of this song mixed with the humorous songwriting from Stevens makes this a necessary listen for all sorts of music connoisseurs, securing its position on the December Press-Playlist.

“Christmas Caller” – Beach Bunny

The four-person band is one of the more pop-influenced bands on this list, making this track the undeniably catchy tune of this playlist. Beach Bunny is known for its upbeat tempo accompanied by heartbroken lyrics, and this Christmas anthem is not an exception. Lili Trifilo, the lead singer of Beach Bunny, told Apple Music, “I wouldn’t really know how to write a song outside my own experience. It’s cool that people are able to relate because, most of the time, I’m just like, ‘This is personal therapy!’” It’s undeniable that their sound shines through alongside the personal writing in “Christmas Caller.”

“Season’s Greetings” – Stella Donnelly

Stella Donnelly’s “Season’s Greetings” is one of the few songs on this playlist that is part of an album and is not essentially holiday-related, but this track stands alone as a December anthem. The 2019 indie-rock album “Beware of the Dogs” showcases Donnelly’s experiences in an impressive debut piece. She expresses the bigger issues of sex and sexuality in regard to power in an artful way, letting it be known that even soft-sounding indie pop can include conversations of larger-than-life and devastating topics. In “Season’s Greetings,” Donnelly does just this, all while keeping a light-hearted sound throughout.

“River” – Ron Pope

Even though “River” is a popular song by Joni Mitchell, this cover from Ron Pope is stunning enough to make its way onto this month’s Press-Playlist. Pope was inspired by Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen, which is evident from his grounded musicianship. Since his start in the music industry, Pope has created his own label, named Brooklyn Basement Records. Pope has made great strides while being self-signed and under his own label, making many appearances on television and in famous venues, as well as being named under Rolling Stone’s “Top 10 Country Artists You Need to Know,” being compared to the sounds of Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac.

“Home Alone, Too” – The Staves

“Home Alone, Too,” a play on the movie with the same title, has impressive harmonies, which is usual for The Staves. The trio consists of three sisters who have been releasing music since 2010. This English group has performed with standout artists, including Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. The pop culture references in this song, along with the addictive chorus, make this a song that even your traditional family members would love to have on their holiday playlists. So sit back, relax and make yourself a cup of hot chocolate while listening to this melodic track.