Wintery '90s Songs To Keep You Warm

It’s too dreary to go outside. Why not snuggle up with your record player or streaming service of your choice and enjoy these wintery tunes? They range from cheerful (Lisa Loeb, New Found Glory) to downright dark (Soundgarden, Nick Cave). Declare a snow day and indulge. 

Soundgarden - "Fell on Black Days"

Soundgarden - Fell on Black Days

Depression looms as one of Superunknown’s themes, a malady Chris Cornell has struggled with since his teenage years. It’s been said that he had the embryo for “Fell on Black Days” in his head four years prior to penning it for Soundgarden’s 1994 album. It was worth the wait— the grinding single made it to number four on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Charts.

Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories - "Snow Day"

Lisa Loeb Tails

With twin guitar arpeggios sounding like melting icicles, this Tales track is a perfect addition to your winter mix. Loeb, ever a coy performer, sings of a love that “gets down to my bones” as she and her Stories stomp on distortion pedals. The initial snowfall was gentle; the bridges make it a maelstrom.

Belle & Sebastian - "The Fox in the Snow"

Belle & Sebastian - If You're Feeling Sinister

As natives of Glasgow, Scotland, twee poppers Belle & Sebastian channel the year-round dreariness of their town into sparkling melodies. This somber song from If You’re Feeling Sinister follows wayward characters (a favorite topic of lyricist Stuart Murdoch) through the tumult of a chilling day.

Tori Amos - "Black-Dove (January)"

Tori Amos - From the Choirgirl Hotel

A confessional from The Choirgirl Hotel, “Black-Dove” is a nightmare in which Tori Amos faces her childhood abuser. She told German newspaper Die Zeit that this obsidian yet translucent bird of prey haunted her psyche. The vicious imagery forged with instrumentation apparently inspired by the Coen Brothers film Fargo, all weather beaten and unsettling.

Smashing Pumpkins - "Thirty-Three"

Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

This mellow Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness number uses allegorical vignettes to describe the last year in the life of Jesus. “Steeple guide me to my heart and home,” Billy Corgan pleads, as he “pull(s) my collar up to face the cold on my own.” It’s one of the Pumpkins most uncharacteristic moments, with Corgan on piano, James Iha and D’Arcy Wretsky on acoustic strings and Jimmy Chamberlin using shakers instead of his usual drumming fortress.

New Found Glory - "Winter of '95"

New Found Glory - Nothing Gold Can Stay

The bitter chill of the early months of the year can set us in a tailspin of warm nostalgia. That’s the premise behind this emo-punk nugget off New Found Glory’s 1999 debut, Nothing Gold Can Stay. Singer Jordan Pundik longs for an adolescent love that kept him protected during the most unforgiving season. And like many youngsters who think themselves wise beyond their years, NFG borrowed the album title from a Robert Frost poem about fragility. 

Garbage - "Only Happy When It Rains"

Garbage - Garbage self-titled debut
Almo Sounds

Shirley Manson is a rock ‘n’ roll Maleficent. She’s beautiful, bewitching and otherworldly. When she and Garbage released this sexy single in 1995, it was of the alternative zeitgeist to celebrate the din. Manson didn’t just revel in the darkness; she was the darkness. Admirers would line up to “pour your misery down on” the front woman. What’s cooler than cool? This ice queen of the Scots.

Hole - "Northern Star"

Hole - Celebrity Skin

Courtney Love likens a beau to the cold, distant visage in the sky on this Celebrity Skin deep track. It’s the grunge goddess at her most theatrical, wrenching her vocals over Eric Erlandson’s frostbitten guitar work and Patty Schemel’s chamber-music drums. The climax roars with the force of aurora borealis.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - "Red Right Hand"

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Let Love In

Only the king of the modern murder ballad could make the album title Let Love In sound more like a psychotic threat than a peaceful offering. This 1994 classic from that record has become Nick Cave’s signature song, with its dirge-like orchestration and his sinister vocals. It’s since become the theme to the crime show Peaky Blinders, covered by former flame PJ Harvey.