Winter quarter — when Californians embrace the much-needed precipitation, and students from other states pretend to appreciate the rain while secretly lamenting the wet bike rides to class and sub-optimal “winter” temps; when you desperately peruse Handshake and Cardinal Careers for potential summer opportunities; when you realize you can no longer pin your mediocre grades on “just having gotten here” or “having one foot out the door.” Winter undeniably fosters a much more moody, somber vibe on campus. Here’s a playlist for those rainy winter mornings when you decide it’s not worth finding your rain jacket for the chance of logging a few attendance points on your iClicker and get back under the covers.
“Too Much” – Drake
As folks everywhere eagerly await the April release of Drake’s newest project, “Views From The Six,” it’s easy to forget about his earlier works. Sneaking in just before hard-hitting radio hit “All Me” on Drake’s 2013 album “Nothing Was The Same,” “Too Much” boasts the sensitive, self-described “singy” Drake. The Drake that stole our hearts after his years on Degrassi; the Drake that consistently made us miss that one girl we made eye contact with once on a bus five years ago.
Melrose – Childish Gambino
Dweeby gangsta and tortured soul Childish Gambino (alter ego of Donald Glover, “30 Rock” writer and “Community” star) never fails to prompt introspection. Released as a twitter post at suspected flame and frequent collaborator Jhene Aiko, “Melrose”’s cloudy, somber vibe undoubtedly lends itself to lonely mornings looking out at the morning rain. With a soft piano undercurrent and a brief string interlude at the end of the song, Glover leaves the song feeling unfinished: “All my love … All my love … ” he laments …
“Retrograde” – James Blake
British producer (and, interestingly, housemate of fellow creative Chance the Rapper) James Blake offered “Retrograde” as his bleak-yet-sexy first single off of his 2013 album “Overgrown.” In beautiful falsetto, Blake describes the paradoxical loneliness and introspection that often comes with falling in love. The hollow, expansive sound he creates will no doubt leave you feeling some type of way.
“I’m God” – Clams Casino
There’s no rainy day playlist that’s complete without the powerful-yet-calm aesthetic that characterizes Clams Casino. The expansive, heavily-synthesized melody feels distant yet eerily clear, like a listening party inside a hollow rain cloud.
“Crave You” – Flight Facilities
“Crave You” represents Australian electronic duo Flight Facilities’ first original single, and both lyrically and musically captures the hopeless feeling of unreciprocated infatuation.
“Glam” – Chuck Inglish
Michigan MC and member of now-defunct hip-hop duo The Cool Kids, Chuck Inglish, joins forces with Chance The Rapper for the beautifully jazzy “Glam.” Though “Glam” acts as the closing song on Inglish’s 2014 project Convertibles, this song is far from a diminuendo. With a groovy brass instrumental, “Glam” confidently carries the listener to album’s close.
“Exchange” – Bryson Tiller
There’s two types of people: those who admit to wanting to get it on to Bryson Tiller’s newest trap-soul fusion album (aptly named T R A P S O U L), and liars. In “Exchange,” the Louisville MC slows things down, trying his hand at usual R&B tropes of break-ups and longing. Despite the shameless cliches, T R A P S O U L boldly forays into a sexy, untapped corner of music. Combining the seemingly-disparate genres of Trap and Soul, it’ll leave you feeling like you need to change your shirt after listening.
“Make Me Fade” – k.flay
Despite Stanford alumna Kristine Flaherty’s unconventional beginnings as an alternative rapper – she began experimenting with rap during her freshman year on a dare – she now makes music full time. Performing under the pseudonym “k.flay,” she’s toured with Snoop Dogg and Icona Pop, among others. Even without street cred in the traditional sense, k.flay channels her overflowing angst into all-too-real discussions of loss, misogyny and First World Problems. Rap Genius aptly brands this song as “alternative-rap,” likely stemming from the way Flaherty uniquely drops angsty bars over a guitar-centric melody.
“Drugs You Should Try It” – Travi$ Scott
La Flame ditches his rowdy Southern roots in his “808s & Heartbreak”-inspired 2014 release “Drugs You Should Try It.” In this thinly-veiled ode to drugs, Scott uses artificial voice processing and synthesizers to manufacture real emotion. Intermittent and almost clunky fade-ins throughout the song feel like the musical equivalent of an overexposed photograph, intensifying the raw and honest feeling of the song.
“Complete” – G-Eazy
Sampling “Differences” by R&B mogul Ginuwine, Bay Area rapper and certified lady killer G-Eazy offers a sleepy ode to an unnamed female companion on his debut studio album “These Things Happen.”
“The Waters” – Mick Jenkins
Though Southside-Chicago native Mick Jenkins inexplicably fetishizes liquid water throughout his 2014 mixtape The Water[s], he wields his sonorous, hyper-masculine voice in “The Waters,” tackling issues that are both individual and institutional. In contrast to water’s characteristic clarity, Jenkins argues we have lost sight of what is truly valuable.
Contact Abdulla Janahi at [email protected].
Contact Gabe Knight at gknight2@ stanford.edu.