Whether or not you believe T.S. Eliot’s claim that “April is the cruellest month,” one thing is for certain: Artists’ fascination with spring shows no signs of changing with the seasons. The ten songs in this playlist capture springtime in all its vibrant, unpredictable glory, so give them a listen for an auditory burst of fresh air.
“Hazy Shade of Winter” by Gerard Way feat. Ray Toro
Why should a song titled “Hazy Shade of Winter” kick off a playlist about spring, you ask? The narrator won’t let his barren surroundings get in the way of the “springtime of [his] life.” Way and Toro spice up Simon and Garfunkel’s folksy tune with the glam-rock sensibilities they perfected as members of My Chemical Romance.
“Nine in the Afternoon” by Panic! at the Disco
The lead single of Panic’s 2008 album “Pretty. Odd.” celebrates the best spring has to offer with its carefree exuberance and embrace of the bizarre. For even more seasonal spirit, watch the band wander through a kaleidoscopic world strewn with sunflowers and pastel hues in the accompanying Video Music Award-nominated music video.
“First Love/Late Spring” by Mitski
“I felt like I was in love for the first time when I was writing that song,” Mitski said of this guitar-heavy rock ballad. In the chorus, she begs for a reprieve from the overwhelming emotions of first love — which, like spring, brings uncertainty and upheaval along with its fragile beauty.
“Both Sides Now” by Judy Collins
Collins’ rich, soaring voice brings Joni Mitchell’s evocative lyrics to life in this ’60s hit about finding perspective through change. With shifting imagery as capricious as spring weather, “Both Sides Now” radiates joy even in the face of the unknown.
“RAIN” by Ben Platt
Upbeat, fun, and utterly danceable, Platt’s recent single is sure to bring pep to the dreariest of spring downpours. “I hope it brings you dance and catharsis,” he tweeted after its release. “May I suggest you blast it.” His advice is well worth following.
“Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles
Just over three minutes of pure sonic sunshine: This Beatles classic needs no introduction, but no springtime playlist would be complete without it.
“The Ice Is Getting Thinner” by Death Cab for Cutie
Leave it to Death Cab to use a thinning ice sheet as a metaphor for a relationship that melts with the first rays of spring sunlight. “The seasons have changed and so have we,” the narrator admits.
“Flower Moon” by Vampire Weekend feat. Steve Lacy
With its delicately layered and distorted vocals, “Flower Moon” blossoms out of a choral opening into a refrain laden with uneasy symbolism. The lyrics draw on the moon’s traditional association with fortune and spirituality, portraying the May full moon as both cursed and sacred.
“Pieces of April” by Three Dog Night
This understated, nostalgic track pays tribute to the preservation of cherished memories, no matter how fleeting. The chorus says it all: “I’ve got pieces of April / I keep ’em in a memory bouquet / I’ve got pieces of April / But it’s a morning in May.”
“Simple Gifts” from “Appalachian Spring” by Aaron Copland
Looking for something to thaw the frozen recesses of your heart? Keep things “simple” and listen to this beautiful excerpt from Copland’s pastoral ballet, which helped bring the now-ubiquitous Shaker hymn into the public eye. Like spring itself, it’s a gift that keeps on giving year after year.
— Staff Writer Clara Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org