Well, reader, this week we have finally been plunged into the cold darkness of a Rochester winter. With the encroachment of winter comes many beauties. The image of snow falling is truly gorgeous, and few things are as satisfying as fresh, even snow laid out on every surface. But, still, I find I need new methods to cope with the ever-present darkness.

One of these methods is diving deep into my Spotify playlists, finding new songs and getting to know new artists. In my escapades, I’ve gotten attached to a couple songs and I thought I would do a good, old-fashioned favorites column on music this November.

I’m going to start with a song that’s everywhere right now: Ariana Grande’s sentimental single “thank u, next.” The song is her public acknowledgement of her past relationships — including her four-month whirlwind romance with Pete Davidson — and a public announcement that she is better than ever. It’s is definitely a bop — her gentle vocals convey a restrained passion. The lyrics are much more direct than her other songs — she mentions each of her exes by their names, and in the chorus states “I’m so fucking grateful for my ex.” Ariana does not want the listener to get the wrong idea. She has learned from what she’s gone through, and now she’s moving on. All I can offer is my support.

The next song is a bona fide classic love song. It’s the Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell classic duet “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough.” When the song comes on, I immediately start tapping my foot — the beat is iconic. The song has such a strong buildup that during the chorus it’s hard for me not to start belting. Consider this a highly recommended pick-me-up.

Next comes a lesser known bop: Knapsack’s “Matrix.” This is an electro-pop track with a very intricate — almost anxious — beat drop. The song is slick, ranging from synth bubble noises to glossy strings.  By the end, the synth sounds dominate the record so much that the male vocalist seems to be slowly sinking into this matrix, forever lost to the beat.

On a more silly note, the track “Ghost Choir,” by Louie Zong, is a lo-fi expression of love for the now-past spooky season. It starts as a cute duet between two ghosts, and then escalates into a full chorus of whistle-synth ghost singers, supplemented by piano backing and an epic ghost soloist. I recommend first listening to the song by watching its music video — the adorableness will wrestle a smile from you.

Our final song is Teyana Taylor’s “No Manners.” It’s an exclamation of all the love-induced pain she’s caused and been through in her time. “I got a man, but ain’t got no manners,” she proclaims. It involves a well-placed sample of the record “Love Where Are You Hiding” by The Elgins. Taylor glides above the song, and listening to it, I feel like I’m floating on a rain cloud with her.

So there you have it — a few of my favorites this November. Happy listening, reader!

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