Vespertine Bjork

Vespertine is the fourth studio album by Icelandic recording artist Björk.

Frigid winter winds, frosty mornings and low temperatures that turn your cheeks rosy call for music that is somber yet opulent enough to match the weather. As the snowy season progresses, here are four albums that are a must-add to your winter playlist.

"Vespertine" (2001) by Bjork

 Favorites: An Echo A Stain, Undo, Pagan Poetry 

"Vespertine" is a delicate, wintry love-letter. Bjork is a genius in creating a unique soundscape for each of her projects. On this album, Bjork wished to display her "domestic side." To do so, she teamed up with electronic duo Matmos to create micro beats out of sound samples from everyday living, for instance, the beeps of dialing a telephone and shuffling cards. While "Vespertine" contains plenty of Bjork's signature belting, this is also her most gentle album containing many quiet moments where she is practically whispering into the microphone. There are many other gentle elements to be found on "Vespertine," like the sound of crunching snow on "Aurora" and the track "Frosti," which is a music box interlude. Bjork's lyricism, too, is stunning on "Vespertine"; with many lyrics spelling out like poems on their own. Some of the best lyrics can be found on the track "Undo," a song about being in harmony with another person. "Lean into it/unfold in a generous way/surrender." The winter months are a time to love generously, and "Vespertine" is a reminder of that. 

“Alternative Strategies” {compilation album} (1981-1985) by Turquoise Days 

Favorites: Grey Skies, Scattering Seeds, Blurred 

"Alternative Strategies" is a cold-wave album perfect for the cold weather. Songs on this album, such as "Grey Skies" and "Alternative Strategies," are repetitive and melodic; many also have an unmistakable nostalgic charm to them, which the holidays are all about. Not to mention, the synths on this album are reminiscent of those found on popular 80s Christmas songs like Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime." The fuzzy lo-fi quality and bare-bone instrumentation of this album — the synthesizer, drum machine and guitar — are other unique aspects of "Alternative Strategies" that are quite enjoyable. Overall, "Alternative Strategies" is a catchy, easy listen and the perfect soundtrack to numb fingers. 

"Moondog" (1969) by Moondog 

Favorites: Theme, Lament 1 (Bird's Lament), Witch of Endor 

I wanted to include an orchestral album on this list because the holidays around winter can be a spiritual time of year for many people. The music found on "Moondog" is reminiscent of those ancient celebrations. Moondog, the blind, viking-warrior musician, was a multi-faceted artist. Aside from being a composer, he was a theorist, poet and inventor of musical instruments. The beginning of one track on "Moondog" contains a short interlude which features a spoken word part with the line "...he who has a ton to tell that must remain unspoken." Moondog doesn't need words to convey a story. On his self-titled album, he is a story-teller through instruments alone. The track "Ode to Venus" unfolds an emotional tale of love and loss. With whimsical percussion and woodwind instruments, listening through songs like "Theme" and "Bird's Lament" take the listener to a medieval time. "Moondog" is an imaginative and engaging album with festive qualities, making it an ideal holiday listen. 

"bloweyelashwish" (1993) by Lovesliescrushing 

Favorites: babysbreath, charm, Iwantyou 

"bloweyelashwish" sounds like you've been caught outside in a swirling blizzard, but there's a glow of light in the distance coming from some civilization that you're walking towards. In general, Shoegaze music is known for its distortion and wall-of-sound qualities. The band Lovesliescrushing does not fall short of this. "bloweyelashwish" leans more towards the ambient side of the genre, and this is what makes it so perfect for the winter. The vocals are one of the key factors in this album's magic, with a ghostly quality that intermingles with the abrasive instrumentals. A running theme of "bloweyelashwish" is mixing beauty with harshness. Some tracks are light, like "butterfly," which features dainty twinkles of a manipulated guitar and "glimmer" with an almost church organ feel. And other tracks like "iwantyou" and "halo" where the pedal and distortion-heavy effects lead the songs in a more dark direction. Overall, "bloweyelashwish" is all-enveloping to the senses that to me reflects the duality of the winter months.