Music for Scrooges

Three 2021 albums to drown out the Christmas songs


Duncan Sligh, Co-Editor-in-Chief

We live in a world full of beautiful music. The world has an unprecedented amount of amazing artists creating incredible works of art for us to all enjoy listening to. And yet, every year it’s the same.

Mariah Carey. Elvis. The soundtrack to “Rudolph.” It makes me sick just thinking about it.

Look, I have no problem with Christmas. But something really upsets me to the core when I walk through a grocery store and I’m berated with unoriginal music that sounds joyful, but secretly is trying to get us to spend more money. No other holiday does this! (Unless you count “The Monster Mash.”)

So I’m here to tell you to rid yourself of the corporatist gobbledy-gook that invades your ears year-in and year-out. Here are some of my favorite indie-rock albums to come out this year that will let you escape into a world where December is not a month marred by the same soundtrack over and over.

The War on Drugs – I Don’t Live Here Anymore

Adam Granduciel’s project “The War on Drugs” has released two of my favorite albums ever:
“Lost in the Dream” and “A Deeper Understanding.” Both of these albums are immense soundscapes that combine incredible melody with introspective lyrics to match. So when “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” was announced, I had high expectations.

And these expectations were met! I love this album, my favorite song on it is the title track, but be sure to check out songs like “Harmonia’s Dream” and “Rings Around my Father’s Eyes,” two other excellent standouts that do not mention anything about Christmas.

Snail Mail – Valentine

This is, hands down, one of the best albums from a young singer-songwriter you will ever hear. Lindsey Jordan is an immense talent at just 22 years old, and her blend of modern bedroom pop and 90s rock anthems is a combination that I have not heard before, but I’ve decided that I love.

The songs are all about heartbreak, but they’ll make you want to dance all night anyway. I added literally every song on this album into my main Spotify playlist, but try the opening track, “Valentine.” It will tell you everything you need to know about the sound of this album, and it will do so without uttering a single syllable relating to how Santa is watching you at all times.

Lana del Rey – Blue Banisters

Queen Lana is back! The prolific songwriter has made yet another statement with her most recent release, “Blue Banisters.” If you want to escape the winter cold and bask in the glory of the Southern California sound, this is the album for you. Lana del Rey is as swooning and mystifying as ever.

“Arcadia” is easily my favorite song on this record. It’s everything Lana represents: Slow, sad, piano-based, and so effortlessly fulfilling of the aesthetic that she continues to promise fans year after year. This makes plenty of sense, as pieces of these songs have appeared in leaked demos in previous years, proving that she has been working on perfecting this release for quite some time.

And of course, you will find no mention of presents. Or who to buy them for. Or where to buy them. It’s just music, no economic strings attached.