TBL’s Top Music Recommendations for this Winter Gloom

Illustration by Diane Kim

Tia Trinh

Arts & Entertainment Co-Editor

As 2023 kicked off with a whirlwind of unexpected events, sunny Santa Barbara was shadowed in a sea of gloom. Shrouded in rain clouds and storms that merged parts of Highway 101 with the ocean, the overall mood of this winter season has thrown us into a loop. Classes have begun to pick up pace and midterm season continues. To get us all in the study mood for a gloomy and fast-paced quarter, here are some of the best five songs and five playlists (on Spotify) that encapsulate this flip-flopping weather.

Our Top 5 Songs

“doomsday” by Lizzy McAlpine

If you’ve listened to all of Lizzy’s discography, then surely you’ve heard “doomsday” among the other amazing songs she’s released. Lyrically powerful, and paired with a beautiful melody, it is a lovely song to walk to class with when the clouds seem to fog over your brain.

“Sunsetz” by Cigarettes After Sex

While we may not have had many visible sunsets in Isla Vista (I.V.) this January, this song is just as calming as the other songs released by Cigarettes After Sex. A good song to study with or just to listen to for fun, you’ll definitely be looking to see what other songs they have in store.

“Homemade Holiday” by Babygirl

This song takes gentle and loving lyrics and combines them with a moody beat. The lyrics, “What’s the point in leaving / I think we should stay here this evening / January’s freezing / You’re too sweet for this bitter season,” perfectly encapsulates this early-year mood. This song is also perfect for Valentine’s Day! 

“the lakes” by Taylor Swift

Truly a classic cloudy-day sound, “the lakes” is a reflection of Swift’s reputation of writing songs about breakups and her past relationships. There’s just something so honest and gentle about this song that makes you want to listen to it over and over during the cloudy weather. Bonus points if you listen to it while walking past the lagoon!

“Superglue” by Bittermilk

This is a cute and happy little song that is still very vibey. The lyrics “Remember that place you call lovely? I still go there in my daydreams” feel oddly reminiscent of all the hidden gems in I.V. and UC Santa Barbara. This song is perfect for those sunsets along the cliffs.

Our Top 5 Spotify Playlists

“writing poetry to feel something” by ana

A mellow playlist that bounces from very gentle and melodic songs to those with a nice beat and tempo, it includes study-friendly songs like Beach House’s “Space Song” and “Je te laisserai des mots” by Patrick Watson. The playlist feels like rainy days at a museum — and while I.V. isn’t quite a museum, it’s still a nice playlist to walk to when the clouds are hiding the sun.

“i can’t i have to study” by han

Just as the playlist description says, this playlist gives a “rory gilmore, hermione granger, cristina yang and spencer hastings vibe.” This playlist is perfect for study sessions on the 8th floor of the library. Not quite a playlist you blast and nod your head to, it gets you in the mood to crank out those essays before clicking submit one minute before 11:59 p.m. 

“This is STUDIO GHIBLI” by Spotify

A personal favorite, this is a lovely little playlist to listen to while studying or taking a walk along the beach! For fans of Studio Ghibli, or anyone looking for scores that make you feel like you’re in a fantasy world, this playlist has some of the best Studio Ghibli scores including “One Summer Day” from “Spirited Away” and the classic “Opening Song – Merry-Go-Round of Life” from “Howl’s Moving Castle.” As a huge Studio Ghibli fan, this is a must-save playlist to listen to whenever you’re in the mood!

“Study lofi” by Lofi girl

If you’re not listening to Lofi girl while studying then what are you doing? A very chill playlist that gets updated daily, it contains 20 hours worth of music for you to listen to while sitting at your desk — which, hopefully, does not last for 20 hours! This is a classic playlist to put on in the background to keep you company, and not distract you with lyrics, while finishing your work. 

“pregaming my seasonal depression” by katie 

While it’s quite the name for a playlist, the playlist has a great selection of autumn and winter songs like “Cherry Wine – Live” by Hozier, “Traffic Lights” by Sara Kays, and “Come Over” by Noah Kahan. If you’re like me and adore listening to sad songs at any hour of the day or night, this playlist is perfect for those walks to campus and for when you’re relaxing in bed.