Halftime Leisure

The Weekly List: Black Ice

January 25, 2016

At 4:41 PM, you received an email from Georgetown, Monday’s classes were cancelled. You got so excited. You grabbed a few of your friends and ran out of Lau, no need to finish those readings now!

You headed down to New South, to share the news with your roommate and figure out what to do with the rest of the day. By the time you reached the top of the New South Hill, you were basically sprinting, filled with excitement. But then, you slipped, and fell right on your face.

This playlist is for those of you who have slipped on Black Ice, fallen on your face, and will be spending this snow day huddled inside with some coffee and hot chocolate. It features slow, reflective ballads that’ll brighten your Monday, even as you ice your wounds.

  1. “Hannah Hunt” – Vampire Weekend

One of the best songs off of one of 2013’s best albums, “Hannah Hunt” is achingly beautiful.

2. “Heartbeats” – Jose Gonzales

This song has been featured in countless movies, TV shows, and commercials for good reason. It’s simplicity and raw emotion are utterly captivating.

3. “Pink Rabbits” – The National

A guilty pleasure anthem for sure. Everything by The National is carried by Matt Beringer’s gorgeous vocals and the various orchestrated ornamentations the band fits in the track.

4. “Sleeping In” – The Postal Service

As one of the more upbeat songs in the playlist, “Sleeping In” begins with the narrative of Lee Harvey Oswald, who shot John F. Kennedy. It ebbs and flows nicely as Ben Gibbard pleads, “don’t wake me/I plan on sleeping in.”

5. “Julep” – Punch Brothers

A personal favorite of mine, “Julep,” from the 2015 album The Phosphorescent Blues, is a delightful display of what is possible within the setup of a traditional bluegrass band. Plus, Chris Thile’s voice is to die for.

6. “Night Changes” – One Direction

Stay with me. Whatever your opinion about One Direction, this is a pretty solid song. It’s got some excellent harmonies, beautiful synth lines, and of course, Harry Styles. What more could you want?

7. “Sleepyhead – Stripped Down Version” – Passion Pit

Where the original version of this track is maximalist, exciting, and loud, this “Stripped Down Version” is minimalist, relaxing, and soft. Featuring only vocals, piano, and a sparingly used guitar, the song manages to create something completely new out of the core of the original.

8. “The Antidote” – Taylor McFerrin

Early Riser, a largely ignored effort from Bobby McFerrin’s son, producer and multi-instrumentalist Taylor McFerrin, features some spectacular tracks. One of these is “The Antidote,” featuring vocalist Nai Palm, which also has a really cool music video.

9. “Coffee” – Sylvan Esso

“Coffee,” the subject of an episode of the Song Exploder podcast, features a Little Tykes xylophone, and it works perfectly.

10. “Magic” – Coldplay

One of the hidden gems off of Coldplay’s much maligned Ghost Stories, “Magic” builds off a simple bass and drum line. The song comes in waves, cresting at various points with some classic Chris Martin falsetto.

And now, without further ado, this week’s Weekly List: Black Ice.

Daniel Varghese
Daniel was an editor at the Voice from December 2013 to November 2016. He loved it. Follow him on Twitter @drvarg01 for his thoughts on Global Health and Kanye West.

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