In most songs, winter is used to symbolize loneliness. These songs will make you want to curl up under a cozy warm blanket. Here is a playlist with pop, country, R&B, and rock songs that nod to cold weather and winter.
1. A Long December – Counting Crows
After being left by a lover, the artist in the song wishes depression would go away as the days grow longer. It was a long December because of the breakup, but the cold weather did not help. All he can do is hope things get better. The 1996 alternative rock track is a bit sad but still a great song.
2. 20 Years of Snow – Regina Spektor
Regina Spektor recounts the strained relationship between a daughter and a father by looking at winters that have passed. The song connects with anyone who is experiencing familial strain with any family member. Listen to the story and the amazing sweeping piano in the background. You can listen in winter or any other season.
3. Winter Song – Sara Bareilles And Ingrid Michaelson
For some, winter is a great season, while others suffer through it. The artists in this song don’t package winter as a time for enjoyment but one to stomach. It’s perfect when you are going through isolation in winter because you can’t be close to family and other loved ones. It’s a sad sentiment, but it talks about what most people go through during winter.
4. Colder Weather – Zac Brown Band
This is yet another bittersweet country song that topped the charts in 2010. Although the singer loves his partner, he has to let her go. He comes up with plenty of excuses why they can’t be together, and one of them is that he is stuck in colder weather. It’s always sad when you have to stay away from the one you love, whether there is cold weather or not.
5. The Ice of Boston – The Dismemberment Plan
Lost love seems to be a theme for winter songs. Imagine being stuck in a new town that you don’t know very well on New Year’s Eve when it’s very cold outside. This feeling can make anyone sad, and that’s where the song is centered. It sums up the feeling of loneliness and rejection. Winter can make loneliness feel even worse.
6. I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm – Billie Holiday
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how cold it gets outside as long as you have someone to keep you warm. That’s probably the only consolation you get when winter finally comes. Most songs about winter are sad, so this one feels like a breath of fresh air. Even if you don’t have someone, you can find other things like a lovely book, a warm pot of soup, or booze to keep you warm.
7. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and The Papas
The writers wrote this song in the depths of frigid winter in New York City. The artists feel like they would be warm and safe if they were in LA instead. If you have ever wondered if you will be much better in another city because the weather is better there you will understand where the singers are coming from.
8. Sweater Weather – The Neighbourhood
Well, you can’t get through cold weather without a sweater. In this indie rock track, the narrator wants to keep his lover warm with the sleeves of his sweater. It’s a sweet love song that shows the ambitious young man in love during this cold and rainy season.
9. Let It Go – Idina Menzel
This has become the self-acceptance anthem for many people. The song from the popular Frozen movie won an Oscar and a Grammy for the best original song. It’s very catchy and easy to sing along to. It can be an uplifting song when winter gets the best of you. ‘The cold never bothered me anyway’ is probably the most popular line from the music.
10. If We Make It Through December – Merle Haggard
This is a classic winter song from the 70s. The narrator got laid off from his factory job during the coldest winter and is hoping for a better time after winter. He hopes to be in a warmer town comes summer. December represents a very low time in the song.
11. While I Shovel The Snow – The Walkmen
The acclaimed indie band captures New York winter perfectly. It’s the soundtrack for long snowy walks. It brings a lot of feelings, especially the spare guitar riff that carries the song along. The band members wander around the Brooklyn Bridge Park in one of those New York City snowstorms.
12. Wintertime – Norah Jones
This song highlights seasonal depression that mainly happens during winter. The narrator says she is fine in the summertime and spring, but things change when it’s wintertime. She feels helpless as the days get shorter during the cold season. However, she reaches out to her partner for support. She knows she can make it through by leaning on her partner.
13. Wintertime Love – The Doors
Having company is the best way to beat the winter cold. The song is from 1968, but the lyrics never get old. The narrators are hoping for love because winter is so cold this season. Sometimes you only need a company that lasts through winter before it becomes warm again and you can cope alone. The song would make you want to hibernate with your loved one all season long.
14. Coldest Winter – Kanye West
When you have experienced loss or trauma during winter, you know how cold it gets emotionally and physically. It’s very challenging, and every time winter comes along, it brings back the sad feelings. That’s why Kanye remembers the death of his mother and the end of a long-term relationship. But he hopes for spring to take away the snow and bring better days.
15. Winter Things – Ariana Grande
While most people fantasize about warm weather, Ariana Grande wants to make July feel like December. She says it’s not cold and there is no chance of rain. Her jackets are not getting any love. But since her lover is visiting, they are going to do some winter things. They go ice skating and find other wintery things to do.
16. Looks Like A Cold, Cold Winter – Ingrid Michaelson
This is a revival of a vintage 1950 song, the songstress included in her holiday album. She assures her lover that they will keep the love light in their hearts burning through the cold winter. Even though the cold season is long, they don’t care because they will keep each other warm.
17. January Hymn – The Decemberists
The lonely narrator’s girlfriend left him; he shovels snow from the sidewalk to distract himself. He also thinks of what he would have said to make her stay. Even if you grew up enjoying winter, it gets hard when you are a broken-hearted adult. This 2011 indie rock track is a must if you are putting together a winter playlist.
18. A Hazy Shade Of Winter – Simon And Garfunkel
Winter is an analogy for the loss of youth in this 1966 song. No one can stop aging, but so many insecurities crop up as you age. Winter signifies the lost hope, but spring has a promise of renewal. It looks like most artists find winter to be such a low time of the year.
19. Winter – Khalid
This song has an upbeat groove, but the lyrics are pretty sad. West Texas winter is not the worst, but there is still plenty of time for heartbreak, according to the singer. His lover left him in the cold, and now he is battling his feelings in the cold weather. H sings mournfully about how love grows colder in the winter.
20. The Hounds Of Winter – Sting
The narrator in this 1996 rock track is facing a cold dark December without his partner. It’s another case of winter depression because of lost love. He spends the joyless seasons missing his lover and feeling alone. Maybe the song will help you realize your winter isn’t that bad. You will appreciate the company you have when it freezes outside.
21. Cold Weather Blues – Muddy Waters
You have probably experienced one or two rough winters if you stay in Chicago. The lyrics are cries of someone who refuses to stay another day where the temperatures can’t even crack double digits. He says he is going down south where the weather suits his clothes. Winter can be very hard, especially when you don’t do well with cold.
22. The A Team – Ed Sheeran
This is a popular song from Ed Sheeran about a homeless prostitute with substance addiction. On one particular night, she doesn’t want to go outside because of the cold, where she will breathe in snowflakes. Ed Sheeran was inspired to write the song after volunteering in a homeless shelter.
23. Winter Winds – Mumford and Sons
The narrator has found a new love interest but is wondering whether it was fear of the cold that made them fall for each other. It’s possible to fall in love with the company during winter. But the singer realizes that time is short and embraces the love and lets it grow. Whether it was the winter winds that brought them together or not, it doesn’t matter.
24. Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow – Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds
The singers are describing a full-on nuclear winter. Apparently, all his friends are buried under fifteen feet of snow. It’s one of those songs you listen to while sipping on something and staring outside as the snow keeps falling. It can be a little sad when you pay too much attention to the lyrics.
25. Here Comes The Sun – The Beatles
It’s not winter until you start fantasizing about spring. The Beatles say it has been a cold winter, but the sun is finally coming out. The snow is melting, and the hard cold season is ending. Harrison said winter in England goes on forever, so when spring comes, you deserve it. That’s where the inspiration for the song started.
26. Winter – Tori Amos
The singer talks about the winter of her youth. However, the song is more about coming of age than the winter season, but it’s still incredible. It’s a nice track to listen to when you want to remember winters when you were young. Memories of youthfulness can bring you joy in the cold season, especially when you feel a little lonely.
27. Footprints In The Snow – Bill Monroe
Bill Monroe is okay with winter because it reminds him of love and romance. He says fresh snow once helped him track his lover by tracking their footprints. Although the song takes a turn by saying the lover is deceased. But it’s consoling to know that winter brings the narrator some beautiful memories.
28. Famous Blue Raincoat – Leonard Cohen
Winter nights are not only the coldest but also the darkest. That’s the kind of winter Cohen describes when talking about the New York cold. The song has explicit lyrics that tell a story about a complicated love triangle. It’s one of the greatest songs from Leonard Cohen.
29. Valley Winter Song – Fountains Of Wayne
The girl in this song complains about missing the sun as the snow keeps falling in winter. The boy writes her a song to make things a little better. It was one of the big tunes in 2003. Things usually get hard when summer is near the corner. That’s why the narrator encourages the girl to hold on a little longer.
30. Roses From Snow – Emmylou Harris
This is a bittersweet track because it talks beautifully about love, but the lover passed away. It’s mostly memories that made them feel like they had plenty of sun in December. It praises the comforting power of pure, innocent love. She has memories to hold on to after her lover is gone.
31. It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring) – Barry White
The title of this song tells you everything you need to know. The singer feels that only a lover can make things better when the temperatures drop. When your heart is filled with love, even the cold outside can’t get to you. It’s the ultimate winter song for in-love couples.
32. Winter Now – Broadcast
Some people can make everything fine when things fall apart or make winter pass quicker. This song is about someone who is far away, and the narrator wants them to know her heart is waiting in the winter now. It has joyful comforts for the cold season whether you are your partner around or not.
33. Misty – Kate Bush
This is one video you have to watch. The song from Bush’s 2011 album is very entertaining. The narrator has a snowman in her bed, and she can feel him melting away in her hands. The winter offers excuses for many things, but liaisons with a freezing snowman are surely not one of them. You are in for a treat with these lyrics and the video.
34. Angel In The Snow – Elliot Smith
Winter and love is a tale as old as time. Although the lyrics don’t give much detail, you can tell the singer is in love. The song came out in 2000; it’s short but still sweet. If you are looking for songs about winter that are less sorrowful, this is one.
35. December 1963 (Oh What A Night) – The Four Seasons
This pop song from the 70s is about a young man’s love affair that began in December. There isn’t a single December that passes without remembering the memorable love. Something about the cold December weather brings back all sorts of memories.
36. Winter Sounds – Of Monsters And Men
Winter sounds, in this case, symbolize the troubles of the narrator’s mental health. The lyrics talk about a pattern of anxiety and cold comfort. It’s already established that winter makes most people feel low and sad at one point. There are also hints of a co-dependent relationship in the lyrics.
37. My December – Linkin Park
While others see December as a joyful time with family and friends, this narrator feels differently. December emphasizes the solitary nature of his existence. He thinks of everything he doesn’t have, like a partner to return to. The cold doesn’t help at all in this situation.
38. When It’s Cold, I’d Like To Die – Moby
It doesn’t get any sadder than this. Moby is complaining to someone who wasn’t there when she was in the freezing cold. The title matches the lyrics perfectly because it’s about a slow surrender. She even says she doesn’t want to fight the tide or swim anymore. She is feeling the chill of death and knows the end is near.
39. Coffee – Sylvan Esso
The singer remembers many things throughout the song, among them wild winters and warm coffee. The song has been imitated widely, but it still feels very fresh every time you listen to it. Winter is probably the time you go hard for warm coffee. Amelia Meath’s vocals can make any winter feel warm.
40. Back To December – Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift has a lot of holiday music, but this is one of the most confessional winter songs. She says she is sorry about how she acted one December when someone showed her love. She wants to go back and be more appreciative of the love she is receiving. It’s a classic moment of too little too late.
41. November – Tyler, The Creator
This beautiful song is great for post-holiday play. The artist wants to go back to November, where they would skate all day and do other fun stuff. November is usually the transition between hot summer days and cold winter days. The lyrics bring up other insecurities and concerns about his career and life.
42. My Love Is Winter – The Smashing Pumpkins Oceania
If dancing is your way of keeping warm, this song should be on your playlist. The upbeat song is about love, but it refers to winter and the cold fog many times. She says there is more than enough love for both of them. There is a lot of repetition, singing a lot to it is very easy. The band delivered every sound with precision.
43. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
It sounds like a holiday song from centuries ago. It’s the first song on the Fleet Foxes’ debut album. It has been covered multiple times, including the famous acapella group Pentatonix. Although it’s a winter song, there aren’t a lot of references. You can enjoy the original song or some of the multiple covers out there. The harmonized vocals make it sound like Christmas carolers singing.
44. A Winter’s Tale – Queen
Queen makes winter-fall sound incredible. The song comes after Freddie Mercury’s death from the 1995 album. It has a dreamy feel while describing what the narrator sees while looking through the window. It creates beautiful imagery when you listen to the song. It’s one of the few winter songs that are uplifting and joyful. Put it on while you enjoy the company of loved ones in the cold season.
45. A Winter’s Tale – The Moody Blues
This is a winter tale of love; the singer says the nights are colder now. He can’t follow his lover because the snow has covered their footsteps. However, some memories still linger about the lost lover. The singers acknowledge that it’s so difficult to be alone during this time of the year. But there is nothing much you can do apart from suffering through the cold nights.
46. Trapped Under Ice – Metallica
Maybe the narrator wasn’t literally trapped under the ice, but you can imagine how they feel when you listen to this song. He says he is frozen down to the core, and he can’t take it anymore. The song symbolizes a very difficult situation. It’s an old song that’s still relevant and a winter playlist essential.
47. Winter Song – Chris Rea
This is the ultimate song for autumn up to winter; it describes the cold that makes you chill to the bone. But the singer offers their lover a warm overcoat. He says the coat is wide and long, with enough room for both of them. It’s a romantic song that makes you want to cuddle up with your significant other and wait for the cold days to be over.
48. Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Frank Sinatra
It’s snowing, and there is no sight of stopping, but at least the narrator has good company. They are popping corn and enjoying the night. He says let it snow because he doesn’t care. The only time you cannot care about winter is when you have such company. He says he hates going out, but he knows when he comes home, it will be warm.
49. Winter Song – Def Leppard
This song will make you get out of bed on those winter days; you just want to stay under the covers. The singer says if you decide to stay in bed, you should think about the homeless person who wishes they were dead.
50. Love like Winter – AFI
AFI says you should turn your warmth away because it’s December every day over there. The song is from 2006, and a music video accompanies it. The rock band has several songs, but this is more relevant for winter. The pain and sadness can be beautiful between lovers because it comes with the need to take care of each other. The lyrics say it’s in the blood.
51. Baby, It’s Cold Outside – Al Hirt And Ann Margaret
The lady in this song wants to leave even though it’s cold outside. It’s more of a conversation between lovers that highlights the scenarios of a particular night. It’s from 1964 from the album Ice and Cream. If you are going through winter with a lover, this nice song can be a great addition to your playlist.
These winter songs will make you feel joyful, sad, warm, heartbroken, and cold at the same time.
As the Head Editor at Music Grotto, Liam edits content produced from over 30 professional music/media journalists and contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.