Top Five Wednesday: Best Rainy Day Makeout Music

When it’s cold and wet outside (as it is today), there’s a need for warmth, physically and emotionally. On days like this people in relationships (and, oops, sometimes not in relationships) often find that a good way to warm up is to exercise those face muscles and participate in some “passionate necking,” as George calls it in It’s a Wonderful Life. But what to do for the musical backdrop of this tomfoolery? Never fear. There are artists whose entire catalog is perfectly suited to be (wait for it) “Rainy Day Makeout Music.”

5. Bon Iver. For Emma, Forever Ago is a perfect rainy-day album. Written and recorded in a solitary cabin in wintry Wisconsin, this unusual folk singer makes music that is the interpretation of staring out the window at rainy days. It might be a little heavy on the rainy day and a little light on the making out, but there’s enough tempo to keep the event from turning into a snoozefest naptime (not the desired effect, obviously).

4. Rocky Votolato. Straight-up acoustic guitar folk. There are few conventions from other genres, and the album rarely includes things like “other instruments.” That clarity of vision allows the “pessimist on a good day” feel to the album. You can tell that there’s a base level of depression, but these songs aspire to get out of it. “The rainy day will pass; but now it’s here. So let’s do something to get over it.” Votolato writes songs. You? Well, you’re making this mix for a reason.

3. Writer. Slightly more upbeat than the previous two, but blessed with a vocalist whose eyes are probably permanently at half-lid. But it’s never gloomy; even when they mumble out “cover your tracks/it’s the only thing you can do now”, it feels vaguely optimistic. Writer makes acoustic pop that wants the sun to come out, but can’t quite get it to happen. Best toward the end of a makeout mix.

2. Hotel Lights. Hotel Lights’ self-titled first album is so dreamy, dreary, wide-eyed and shuffling that I hardly ever listen to except on rainy days. When I play their acoustic-based folk-pop on any other day, the day just seems to get less bright. And on rainy days, that’s exactly what you should be playing. The thirteen songs of the album are gorgeous; most could be lullabies, and all are worthy of praise. Despite my lack of listening to the full album on a consistent basis, “Stumblin’ Home Winter Blues” is one of my favorite songs of all time. And it’s perfect to make out to.

1. Daniel G. Harmann. Mr. Harmann’s album The Books We Read Will Bury Us is the reason I coined the term “Rainy Day Makeout Music.” Harmann makes pop songs that are full of lush instrumentation moving at about three miles an hour. His delicate, emotive vocals add the perfect cap to the already romantic music. The songs are long, flowing, and have large emotional swells within them. And there’s strings; nothing more romantic that a cello or two. As soon as you hear “She Hears a Frequency,” you will understand. It simply draws people into an embrace. I can’t explain it.

Honorable Mention: Josh Caress (but only Letting Go of a Dream and Goes on an Adventure!), Sigur Ros, Sufjan Stevens’ Michigan, William Fitzsimmons (although try not to listen to the horribly depressing lyrics).

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