Albums I’ve Listened Through to Help get me Through November

November is typically the month in which I struggle with seasonal depression the most. So, over time, I’ve developed all kinds of diversions to get me through November. One of the earliest diversions I discovered (back while I was still living in Amsterdam) was intentionally looking for- and writing about the Joys of November. Another, more recent, example of a diversion is the Fall Getaway I took when I started feeling the worst of my seasonal depression this year. Last year, I did weeks of themed clothing, and I decided to repeat the themed clothing again this year: Week 45 was gray clothing, Week 46 was blue clothing, Week 47 was flannel shirts, and I’m planning on sweaters for Week 48… It’s kind of silly stuff. Little stuff. But I’ve learned that it can really be helpful.

In addition to all of these diversions, for the first time this year, I decided to listen to full albums of music. I figured that a colder, darker time of the year lent itself to long-form music — and the experiences of the last month have borne this out. Here’s a sequential listing of the albums I’ve listened through to help get me through November:

  1. Javelin, by Sufjan Stevens
  2. Carrie & Lowell, by Sufjan Stevens
  3. Innocence and Despair, by the Langley Schools Music Project
  4. Being Funny in a Foreign Language, by The 1975
  5. Notes on a Conditional Form, by The 1975
  6. Only Visiting This Planet, by Larry Norman
  7. Bootleg, by Larry Norman
  8. Songs for Silverman, by Ben Folds
  9. Five Seconds Flat, by Lizzy McAlpine
  10. Way Back Home, by Phil Keaggy
  11. Rubber Soul, by The Beatles
  12. Nickel Creek, by Nickel Creek
  13. Who Cares?, by Rex Orange County
  14. Pet Sounds, by The Beach Boys
  15. Jesus is King, by Kanye West
  16. Samba em Kigali, by Tapioca
  17. 40 Acres, by Caedmon’s Call
  18. Health – Live from RCA Studio A, by Medium Build
  19. II, by Boyz II Men
  20. The Weatherman, by Gregory Alan Isakov
  21. The Head and the Heart, by The Head and the Heart
  22. Evermore, by Taylor Swift
  23. Give Me a Minute, by Lizzy McAlpine
  24. Simple Songs, by Steve Bell
  25. Christmas Portrait, by The Carpenters
  26. The Andy Williams Christmas Album, by Andy Williams
  27. Christmas, by Michael Bublé

I decided to stop keeping track of the albums and return to more playlists with the onset of the post-Thanksgiving Christmas season. But the experience of prioritizing full albums was worthwhile. I’ve enjoyed some of these full albums immensely. I mean, I already knew that Only Visiting This Planet, Way Back Home, and Jesus is King were great through-listens. Still, I genuinely believe that the long-form listening brought out things that I might not have otherwise appreciated in some of these albums. Evermore and 40 Acres were especially-delightful surprises.

Other albums were more challenging to sit in. Samba em Kigali was great for the first couple of songs, but then it got tiresome — and all of the songs felt the same. It probably doesn’t help that I don’t speak Portuguese (or whatever language the artist used for the vocal sections), so that shouldn’t be too surprising. But I honestly thought that Boyz II Men was likely to age better than most 1990s hip-hop. Honestly, though, their sophomore album, II, was awful. The only good songs on that album are the ones that made it onto the Top 40 lists back in the day. The audio production for everything else sounds super-thin. The lyrics are shallow and vain. And it was kind of miserable waiting for the songs that I knew.

Even with the duds, though, I enjoyed the albums of November enough that I hope to repeat this diversion again next year. I started with seeking out artists and/or albums that I associate with November, but I eventually started branching out more broadly. I decided to cap myself at two albums per artist this year, but maybe I’ll try to listen through entire discographies at some point. I consider it a fluid process. But still: worthwhile. If you’ve got any good suggestions for next November, let me know.

This entry was posted in Health, Introspection, Music, Recommendations, Recommended Listening, Recreation, Seasonal Depression. Bookmark the permalink.

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