Away from the Sprawl: Winter Break Playlist


As we slog through the inevitable drag of week 10, a beautiful endgame lays not far from here: winter break. Though Riverside severely lacks anything resembling winter weather, our time of servitude to the university has earned us a short break that we should nonetheless be thankful for. Opportunities abound — if only for a few weeks. Time for fresh starts, reflections, parties and bonding are all within reach. But whether you pack in as many adventures as you can or sit on your couch watching Netflix the entire time, you should have a soundtrack to back you up. Here is a playlist full of some of the spirited, nostalgic and feel-good moods of winter — hopefully they accompany you well for our short time away from the looming Bell Tower’s shadow.

1. “Father Christmas” – The Kinks

An extremely underrated Christmas song that makes fun of consumerism while also reminding you to be thankful for what you have. And it rocks pretty hard.

Favorite lyric: “Father Christmas, give us some money / Don’t mess around with those silly toys / We’ll beat you up if you don’t hand it over”

2. “Good ‘Ol Boredom” – Built to Spill

There always comes that inevitable moment during long breaks that you find yourself devoid of anything to do, but this laid-back tune and dreamy guitar encourages you to savor those moments.

Favorite lyric: “It’s nice that it’s not that exciting / After all we’ve been through”

3. “Neighborhood 3 (Power Out)” – Arcade Fire

This frantic tune by the Canadian band was inspired by the North American Ice Storm of 1998, which knocked out power where some band members were living. Though its lyrics suggest anxiousness, it’s a great tune to dance to when you’re stuck with nothing else to do.

Favorite lyric: “And the power’s out in the heart of man / Take it from your heart / Put it in your hand”

4. “Don’t Lie” – Vampire Weekend

This mid-tempo song works for end-of-the year reflection, as lush instrumentation accompanies lead singer Ezra Koenig’s lyrics about facing mortality.

Favorite lyric: “It’s the last time running through snow / ‘Cause the fire can’t last and the winter’s cold”

5. “The New Year” – Death Cab for Cutie

This slow jam by the Washington band notes that nothing really changes in the new year except for the date, but we should still try and enjoy ourselves for what it’s worth.

Favorite lyric: “So everybody put your best suit or dress on / Let’s make believe that we are wealthy for just this once / Lighting firecrackers off on the front lawn / As thirty dialogs bleed into one”

6. “Don’t Eat the Yellow Snow” – Frank Zappa

This song’s title is relatively self-explanatory. And I would say it’s pretty good advice.

Favorite lyric: “Watch out where the huskies go / And don’t you eat that yellow snow”

7. “Winter Song” – The Head and the Heart

Accompanied by soaring harmonies from the band, this acoustic tune looks back on something lost during the year, but still feels hopeful that things will turn around in the future.

Favorite lyric: “Summer gone, now winter’s on its way / I will miss the days we had”

8. “January Hymn” – The Decemberists

Colin Meloy’s lyrics about looking back on life and relationships uses January as a metaphor for a reassuring calm that the past is behind us, and we can always start anew.

Favorite lyric: “Maybe I should just ‘let it be’ / and maybe it will all come back to me / Sing oh January oh!”

9. “Ice Ice Baby” – Vanilla Ice

Okay. Maybe this song isn’t about literal ice. And maybe its lyrics don’t make sense, and maybe the artist now flips houses for a living. But if you feel a sense of nostalgia hit you at some point this break, bust out this track to shake off any winter chills.

Favorite lyric: “Yo, man, let’s get out of here! / Word to your mother!”

10. “Snowball” – Devo

This deep-cut from the 80s new-wavers features frantic, catchy guitar and synths, and deceptively sad lyrics relating a snowball rolling down the hill to lost love. But as sad as it is, you can dance to it.

Favorite lyric: “My baby took our love / And then she rolled it up / Rolled it up a hill / Like a ball of snow”

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