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On Repeat: Backing tracks for feeling “blue” this December

Slow acoustic tracks to listen to after closing out a long and tiring fall semester

Backed by a subdued drum beat and a sleepy-sounding guitar solo, Sandoval and guitarist David Roback create a simultaneously sad and oh-so beautiful track that leaves listeners feeling known and wanting more.
Backed by a subdued drum beat and a sleepy-sounding guitar solo, Sandoval and guitarist David Roback create a simultaneously sad and oh-so beautiful track that leaves listeners feeling known and wanting more.

As the days get shorter, the air gets colder and the Fall semester comes to a close, students may be bundling up for a cold and possibly somber December back in their hometowns. If this resonates, these songs might be the perfect soundtrack for anyone feeling particularly down in the dumps this winter break. Here are four sad tracks for those feeling “blue” this December.

“Blue Light” by Mazzy Star

If anyone can capture the sounds of a somber winter and flawlessly put them into a song, it is the alternative rock group known as Mazzy Star. This track from their 1993 sophomore album “So Tonight That I Might See” is a heart-achingly beautiful story about observing a friend who is struggling.

“There’s a blue light in my best friend's room / there’s a blue light in his eye,” lead singer Hope Sandoval croons out in the very first line of the song as she paints a picture of sadness using color, expressing that she sees her friend — or possibly her lover — grappling with a deep sorrow. 

Throughout the song, the band seems to express that they are beginning to feel that same sadness too. Backed by a subdued drum beat and a sleepy-sounding guitar solo, Sandoval and guitarist David Roback create a simultaneously sad and oh-so beautiful track that leaves listeners feeling known and wanting more.

“Out of the Blue” by Katie Pruitt

Singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt perfectly expresses the emotion tied up in the events of losing a relationship in her song “Out of the Blue.” Off of her debut album “Expectations,” “Out of the Blue” is a powerful track about feeling heartbroken and confused, while missing her ex-lover all at the same time.

Pruitt belts out the choruses such that there is clear and raw emotion that can be heard dripping from each and every syllable she sings. “Now I can't remember when / I can't remember why you packed your bags and left me here,” she cries out, expressing that she feels betrayed and is still left pondering the fact that her lover left her without a true explanation as to why.

In the final chorus, Pruitt sings, “Now I hardly ever talk to you, but today I stopped and thought of you / Out of the blue,” expressing that she is trying her hardest to get over their failed relationship, but it all comes flooding back when she thinks of her ex-lover “out of the blue.” 

“True Blue” by boygenius

Off of their smash hit, Grammy-nominated debut album “the record,” boygenius — made up of Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker and Phoebe Bridgers — captures feelings of confusion and fear about getting older and being in a relationship that is unlike anything they have experienced before in this track entitled “True Blue.” Led by Lucy Dacus, this track is a beautiful articulation of feelings of confusion and doubts about a relationship that is seemingly going quite well.

“And it feels good to be known so well / I can’t hide from you like I hide from myself,” Dacus sings out in the final chorus, with Baker and Bridgers providing compelling harmonies. This love and support that Dacus is experiencing is a feeling unknown to her, and because of this she feels like she is left exposed to potential hurt or sadness. While this track is not necessarily the most somber of them all, it certainly communicates the larger-than-life feelings of uncertainty and fear that are relatable to many.

“Blue Ridge Mountains” by Fleet Foxes

Though not about Charlottesville specifically, this tune from Fleet Foxes is an ode to the beautiful backdrop of our city — the Blue Ridge Mountains. As students pack up their dorms, apartments and houses to travel home, this song might be just the tear-jerker needed to stir up dormant emotions while thinking about all of the good memories they had this past semester at the University. 

The song begins with haunting harmonies accompanied by the soft strumming of a guitar, creating a dreamlike feeling that transitions seamlessly into the acoustic melody that propels the rest of the song forward. “And the river got frozen / And the home got snowed in / And a yellow moon glowed bright / Till the morning light,” they sing, painting a clear picture of a childhood long gone.

This song stirs up quite a nostalgic feeling in listeners, not only about the memories of semesters past amongst the Blue Ridge Mountains, but also about the fleeting feeling of childhood and a possible fear of growing older. The band sings about connecting to that feeling of youth and not letting it get away, which is without a doubt something that many students can connect to, especially during this winter break.

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