What I’ve Been Listening to This Month (and Last Month): November and December

November and December seem to have passed in a blur during which, at any given moment, I had a small notebook full of tasks I should have been getting on with. Time seems to be getting faster and the days on the calendar are being eaten up alarmingly quickly. How on earth is there only a week left until Christmas? At least I haven’t had the time to dread an impending birthday…

Horror of the passage of time aside, here for your reading pleasure (or not) is my November and December combined in music. A tiny bit Christmassy and apparently a lot melancholy, singer-songwriter-y for some reason. Happy Christmas!

The New Find: Mac DeMarco

Introduced to me by my sister, Canadian songwriter Mac DeMarco has recently become my work soundtrack. His music reminds me a bit of Tame Impala, and in turn sounds a bit Beatle-ish. It’s spaced-out and old timey, and despite the fact that he’s only twenty-four you get the sense that there’s an old soul in his young body. I’ve had ‘Let Her Go’ and ‘Ode to Viceroy’ on repeat.

The Classic: These Days by Nico

‘These Days’ by Nico is such a quaint song. Her posh-sounding little voice enunciates every word perfectly over the fingerpicked electric guitar and orchestral violins. Apparently Nico hated the finished result of this song and the entire Chelsea Girl album, which was altered by the producer to include strings and flutes without her permission. Highly unfortunate for Nico, but arguably great for the track, which offers a soothing melody during these frantic, festive times.

Guilty Pleasure/Festive Fun: Christmas by Michael Bublé

By now, it can’t have escaped your notice that it’s Christmas quite soon. As such, the Christmas album by Michael Bublé (or Booooobuhlay, as I like to overemphasise) has been dusted off and dutifully played on the stereo in the kitchen. It started off ironically, but I actually quite enjoy all of the corny Christmas songs at this time of year. I’ll probably hit the tipping point, when Christmas songs have been overplayed to the point of extreme irritation, around four days before Christmas. Or at any time in an M&S. The loop they play in there induces a surreal Christmassy psychosis.

The Album: I Forget Where We Were by Ben Howard

Ben Howard is only twenty-seven. I don’t know why I find this so shocking. I thought he was in his 30’s, but no, he’s another one who achieved massive success by his mid-twenties. I’ll move on from this bout of self-pity to describe his second studio album, I Forget Where We Were, which came out on 20 October.

It is quite different in tone and sound from anything he’s done before. I like it. In fact, I’ve hardly listened to anything else but this album for weeks on end. Electric guitar sounds build and swell throughout, it’s atmospheric and both melancholy and upbeat in places. It’s hard to pick a favourite as the album is best listened to in its entirety, but the opening track ‘Small Things’ and the title track are two stand outs for me. A grower.

Bonus track: Last Christmas by Wham!

Up there with The Pogues’ Fairy Tale of New York and Ella Fitzgerald’s Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, Wham!’s Last Christmas has got to be one of the best Christmas songs there is. Give me a few Sherries and I’ll be singing along to the xylophone part like a pro. Merry Christmas one and all, and a Happy New Year.

[Image credit: Jacob Whittaker]

[Image credit: Jacob Whittaker]

[Feature Image credit: pexels.com]

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