SHAFFER: Summer music to get you through the winter


Photo by Katerina Pourliakas

“Good Days” by SZA is expected to appear on her second studio album.

The brutality of winter has hit its peak. The days are short and the nights are long. The one-block walk to my singular in-person class is about the same as a 5K in my head. (I also show up in a full sweat because I am wildly out of shape, and I know that’s somewhat unrelated, but I had to get it off my chest). We power through it, though, by any means necessary. I do it with the help of Spotify. There are some songs that simply get me fired up to brave the cold and attack the day.

My enthusiasm for winter as a whole is dwindling. All we can do now is throw on some sunny tunes and wait for spring to roll around. Here are some heaters I’ve been listening to lately that help me forget about the cold and think about warmer days.

Everybody Loves The Sunshine – Roy Ayers Ubiquity

This song is actually ridiculous. I would be lying if I said I just stumbled upon it myself, though. I was watching an Apple commercial the other day and this was the song in the background. I immediately whipped out Shazam and tried to figure it out; it was well worth it. My roommate might murder me in cold blood one of these nights because of how many times I have played it out loud in our room recently.

The combination of the vocals and the piano make me want to hit up Bradford Beach and do a couple laps in Lake Michigan, thinking about my own “life in the sunshine.” If you have never heard this song, I beg you to stop reading my article right now and go throw it on. It would be cool if you could come back and finish reading it later, though.

I am so happy that Apple commercial came into my life when it did. My days are lightyears better because of this absolute banger.

I Gotta Find Peace of Mind (Live) – Ms. Lauryn Hill

If you don’t know Lauryn Hill, please read up on her. The 6-time Grammy winner does wonders on this song, and she is just an absolute icon. I originally found out about this song through an A$AP Rocky song, though. “Purity,” a track off of “Testing,” Rocky’s most recent album, features Frank Ocean as they pay homage to the queen of hip hop by sampling Hill, and I hate to say it, but Rocky’s rendition doesn’t hold a candle to the original. The combination of her soothing voice and the light acoustic guitar does absolute wonders for my morale.

Whether I am stressed out about class or the walk around campus is getting to me, I throw on this calming tune and convince myself to “find peace of mind.” Please go listen to this song if you need to relax or your mental health is not where it needs to be; you will not regret it.

Good Days – SZA

SZA is actually the GOAT. She dominates the music industry and everything she puts out is an absolute work of art. I am convinced she does not know how to miss. This song is just another one in a long line of masterpieces she’s made over the years; and I am absolutely here for it.

I am not kidding when I say that when I first heard this song, it was the only song I listened to for probably a week straight. I seamlessly transitioned from blasting it in the car at home to my headphones during my walk to class here , and it simply hits just the same, if not better. Whether I’m having a brutal day or seasonal depression is taking a toll, SZA reminds me to have “good days on my mind,” and if SZA is telling me that, who would I be to argue? A coward? Yes.

Sun King – The Beatles

Ah, yes. The Beatles make my playlist again. These guys have a song for literally everything, even the brutality of a Milwaukee winter if that’s how you want to look at it. And that’s just what I do. I really could put any Beatles song on this list and argue why it will make your life better, but this song just fits the theme so well.

The repeated “here come the sun king” in the song gets me wondering who this character might be. Is it some sun-like man? Some guy who’s weirdly obsessed with sunlight? Perhaps it’s just a guy who goes to school in Milwaukee and can’t wait for it to be a decent temperature again. Any way you look at it, this song will not disappoint.

These songs warm up the coldest of days and lighten up the hardest times. I definitely recommend throwing on these winter heaters to get you through your day.

This story was written by Tommy Shaffer. He can be reached at