Getting through Detroit winter is tough — bu...

Getting through Detroit winter is tough — but music makes it better

Introducing Detour Detroit’s winter survival playlist, full of songs to keep us warm until spring.

pair of headphones with snow illustrating detroit winter playlist

Here at Detour, plenty unites us: our love for Detroit is a big one. Our musical tastes, however, are all over the place. We believe we are better together, and playlists are no exception. So we put together a little winter survival playlist to keep us all sonically warm and, we hope, give us that little oomph we need to get us through to spring.

But this is no finished product. We want your contributions! Send us a link to a song and a one-liner about why this song helps you survive the winter — tweet us at @Detour_Detroit with the hashtag #letsdetourwinter or submit it here. And find all our winter survival tips here.

Here are our liner notes:

“Why Don’t We Fall in Love” by Ameriie — this song sounds like summer. Every time I hear it, I’m easily transported to a sunny afternoon with my friends. It’s a feel-good record.

Alex Washington

First released in 1983 (when I was 8), New Order’s “Blue Monday” is still a go-to for raising my heart rate and summoning the will to live on a cold, gray wintry Michigan day. 

Songs that remind me of summers riding down Gratiot in the backseat of the car with the window down on the way to Eastern Market in the 1980s: “Eye in the Sky” by Alan Parson’s Project. “Bette Davis Eyes” by Kim Carnes. “Stand Back” by Fleetwood Mac.

Songs that make me smile and want to move: “Sedona” by Houndsmouth. “Squirrels” by Illy Mack (what ever happened to them?), “Time to Pretend” by MGMT. Favorite Radiohead song, good for any season: “Let Down”. Best #hamildrop: “First Burn.”

Nina Ignaczak

Sylvan Esso’s “Coffee” is spare and haunting, but still warm and tinkley, like being wrapped up tight on a cold evening. When Amelia Meath sings “Wild winters / Warm coffee,” I want to stay there — and when she gets to “Blazing summer / Cold coffee,” it’s a reminder that the winter’s only a temporary state. 

There’s nothing that sounds like winter more to me than Sufjan Stevens — snowy, rural, childhood Michigan winter, to be exact. “He Woke Me Up Again” is no exception.

Nico’s “These Days” has been on my winter playlists since high school. Nostalgic, soft and lonely — is there anything more wintery than that? Putting it on your headphones while buttoned into a big coat is a perfect way to make a windy walk feel cinematic. And “Hold On” by Yola and The Highwomen is nostalgic but still hopeful, a big-hearted crooner to sing along to. 

“Honeybody” by Kishi Bashi is cheerful and infectious enough to get me out of bed on dark mornings without annoying me. Same goes for “This Will Be Our Year” by The Zombies and “Detroit Baby” by Habibi. 

Kate Abbey-Lambertz

I’ve been gravitating to heavy music lately, I assume as a way to release some of the anxiety and moodiness we’ve all been experiencing. 

Like “Ghosteen” from Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, or “This is the Day” by The The — both combine a sense of uplift and melancholy that suits the mood I’m feeling/needing now. 

Plus anything Curtis Mayfield, whose “Cannot Find a Way” has a song that speaks to really all political climates, but is especially pertinent now when we need unity but also must address multiple crises.

Finally, I’ve been going through the discography of John Prine, a victim of COVID. One of the greatest songwriters/lyricists of all time. “Hello in There” is a good place to start. 

Aaron Mondry

The music of SAULT, like the track “Wildfires,” makes me feel like I’m living inside an En Vogue video. I love putting on this mystery collective’s “Untitled (Rise)” album to power me through yet another round of dirty dishes.

Ashley Woods Branch

To my fellow musical nerds out there: I’ve been on a “Hamilton” soundtrack kick since Disney+ released the film in July. It’s on my regular rotation while working, in the car or if I just need a little inspiration. The lyric “I am not throwin’ away my shot” in “My Shot” is especially relevant right now… 

Here are some other favorite songs that I’ve played on repeat:

  1. “Do it” by Chloe x Halle
  2. “Levitating”  by Dua Lipa and DaBaby 
  3. “Better Not” by Louis the Child with Wafia
  4. “Day in, Day Out” by JR JR (from Detroit!)
  5. “Floating” [filous remix]  by Alina Baraz featuring Khalid
  6. “Look Up Child”  by Lauren Daigle
  7. “Make Up Your Mind” by Florence + The Machine
  8. “Coffee” by Quinn XCII (from Detroit!) featuring Marc E. Bassy 
  9. “Lonely Legend”  by Fantasia 
  10. “SUPERBLOOM”  by MisterWives

Allison Jacobs

Here are some songs I use to remind myself to refer to myself for the life I want, rather than rely on the approval of others:

  1. “Queen” by Jax Anderson 
  2. “More Cake” by Charity
  3. “Starship” by Yahzarah
  4. “I Keep” by Jill Scott
  5. “Chance” by Nicholas Ryan Gant 

Courtney Wise Randolph

Pro tip: Marble Bar, Coup D’Etat (a Detour Detroit Keep Detroit Local Partner) and Haute to Death have all been producing monthly playlists. And I create my own quarterly playlist — here is Winter 2021

Kelsey Hubbell

Nina Misuraca Ignaczak is a contributing editor for Detour Detroit. She is the founder and executive editor of Planet Detroit, a digital media startup that tells Detroit’s environmental stories while building a community of engaged readers who are informed and empowered to act personally and publicly. She is an award-winning freelance journalist who writes, edits and produces stories about the environment, place and identity. Her recent work has been published by Detour Detroit, Belt Magazine, HuffPost, Detroit Free Press, WDET, Crains Detroit Business, Business Insider, Curbed Detroit and Model D. Prior to her career in journalism, she worked in urban planning in the local government and nonprofit sectors. She has a Master of Science in Natural Resource Ecology and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Twitter: @ninaignaczak