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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Queen's U chapter.

November, for me, has always been a month of liminality. It’s stuck in that space between Halloween and Christmas, where jack o’lantern corpses go to rot amongst string lights and tinsel. It’s a cavity of a month that feels wholly separate from the rest of the year, cloaked in a sky of grey clouds, heavy with the weight of the season’s first snow. The weather starts to truly come into its own with its steadily colder bite that stings like early winter’s kiss, and I’m always lost trying to figure out if I can still get away with wearing my unlined leather jacket instead of donning my winter garb.

To put it plainly, November kind of sucks, in the same way that all periods of change generally do. But that doesn’t mean I can’t make the best of what I’ve been given. Music is one of the ways that I like to express myself and the things I’m feeling, and it’s the best vessel for my general anodyne attitude towards November as a whole. These songs can be listened to in order (if you fancy it) or not at all if their genres aren’t your style. However, I do recommend giving them a try if you, like me, enjoy a little misery as a treat. 

“Sea, Swallow Me” by Cocteau Twins

Without singing in any coherent way, Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Frazier still manages to capture November’s chilly atmosphere through “Sea, Swallow Me”. Being a pioneer band of the dream pop genre, they never fail to delineate that void often felt in the haze of the late autumn into early winter transition. It’s perfect for a moody walk to class, or by the water, or perhaps just staying in and staring at the ceiling until it starts talking back. 

“Dagger” by Slowdive

A necessary song when venturing into the shoegaze genre, Slowdive’s “Dagger” is perfect for the moments of reminiscing during November. It’s a heartbreaking song, seemingly about a loss of connection with someone and all the complicated emotions that come with a breakup. It’s one of my essential songs for the month because of its very murky sound and harmonies bleeding together into a devastating but beautiful piece.     

“Joey” by Samantha Crain

This is one of my favourite songs of all time. “Joey”, which I found through the TV show Reservation Dogs, is a gloomy accordion filled letter to a past self. It delineates a narrator reaching out to an ex in an attempt to connect with a part of herself that is long gone. I believe it also highlights that uncomfortable shift between seasons and holidays, where the changes of life seem ever-present, and you’re just trying to hold onto something to get your footing in the unknown.  

“Demi Moore” by Phoebe Bridgers

This is a song on Phoebe Bridgers’ Stranger in the Alps album that deserves more love. I see it as struggling with being perceived and worrying about what people think of you, so much so that it creates this void of loneliness within. Phoebe Bridgers is a brilliant lyricist and the entire album is perfect for the colder months of the year.    

“One More Time” by The Cure

While this is the month of unease, I also consider it a time of first, second, third loves; a time where romance blooms in the shadow of the holiday season. The Cure’s “One More Time” has few lyrics but I find that it perfectly captures the feeling of falling in love in that slow, gradual way. Personally, I find it to be a great track to listen to while creating unrealistic romantic scenarios in my head in the late hours of the night.

“Wuthering Heights” by Kate Bush

One of Kate Bush’s most popular tracks to date, “Wuthering Heights” is the embodiment of unearthly unease generally felt in November, where Halloween’s grip is still strong enough to send a chill up one’s spine. It’s a great representation of the fons et origo of the early romantic gothic literary genre, as the title of the song is a reference to Emily Brontë’s novel. I recently read Bunny by Mona Awad, where this song is mentioned by name in one of the scenes, and I’ve been on a Kate Bush kick ever since.  

“Rose Blood” by Mazzy Star

Capturing the darker feelings of the month, “Rose Blood” illustrates the very literal and physical shift that can be seen in those somber days of November. Mazzy Star’s discography is so vast yet people only seem to focus on their magnum opus “Fade Into You” (which is fair because it’s a beautiful song). “Rose Blood” is a good introduction into the rest of the band’s sound, so I highly recommend it for that purpose as well.    

“Kill Her Freak Out” by Samia

With a sound more aligned with the aforementioned Phoebe Bridgers and Samantha Crain songs, “Kill Her Freak Out” was written by Samia at her “loneliest and most delusional” as said by her in an interview with Stereogum. It’s about hiding your true feelings in fear of people leaving, which I consider to be fitting for the aforementioned liminality of November. There’s just something about the lyrics “‘Cause I would’ve stayed kinda drunk and afraid in your room / ‘til I died in your room if you asked for it” that hit especially hard amidst the November uncertainty. 

Now, despite the dreary vibes in this playlist, November doesn’t have to be entirely made up of the doom and gloom. Through music, you can make the best of the dwindling hours of sunlight and the bone-deep cold of the approaching winter season. I hope you enjoyed this little playlist I’ve curated, and maybe one of these songs will be a new essential track on your November playlist as well!

Miriam Slessor

Queen's U '24

A fourth-year English major at Queen's University with a multi-faceted music taste and a lover of horror fiction.