Soul Cake: A Winter Playlist

”Only Lovers Left Alive”, 2013 | Recorded Picture Company, Pandora Filmproduktion, Snow Wolf Produktion

Winter-themed, but not necessarily so, and eschewing the traditional Christmas carols and everything that boasts of the holiday cheer and saccharine sentiment. The Classiq Journal December soundtrack is a mix of some great indie, rock, blues and jazz music, some of the songs with an underlayer that is very much in tune with the bittersweet feeling of the end of the year. And because we are also at the end of a decade, I had to refer to one of my favourite films of the 2010s, Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, where music plays an even more important role than it usually does in the filmmaker’s works. If I were to explain my choices, Sting’s words about his album “If on a Winter’s Night…” (one of its songs, Soul Cake, gives the title of this playlist) resonate to me the most – I liked the inspiration behind it so much that I may very well quote it year after year:

Like many people, I have an ambivalent attitude towards the celebration of Christmas. For many, it is a period of intense loneliness and alienation. I intentionally avoided the jolly, almost triumphalist, strain in many of the Christian carols. I make a musical reference to “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” only as a dramatic counterpoint to the words in “Soul Cake”, for example. This was a song sung at Halloween by children who go from door to door asking for pennies and “soul cakes” (the latter not originally intended for the living). I was also keen to avoid the domestic cosiness of many of the secular songs, recognizing that, for many, winter is a time of darkness and introspection.


Walking amid the snows of winter, or sitting entranced in a darkened room gazing at the firelight, usually evokes in me a mood of reflection, a mood that can be at times philosophical, at others wildly irrational; I find myself haunted by memories. For winter is the season of ghosts, and ghosts, if they can be said to reside anywhere, reside here in this season of frosts and in this long hours of darkness. We must treat with them calmly and civilly, before the snows melt and the cycle of the seasons begins once more.”


1. Soul Cake, Sting / 2. Comes Love, Joni Mitchell / 3. Smile, Jimmy Durante / 4. Nutcracker Suite: Sugar Rum Cherry, Duke Ellington / 5. Venus in Furs, The Velvet Underground / 6. Personal Jesus, Johnny Cash / 7. Layla, Derek and the Dominos / 8. Tangled up in Blue, Bob Dylan / 9. Ocean of Night, Editors / 10. Gimme Shelter, The Rolling Stones / 11. My Hometown, Bruce Springsteen / 12. Somebody to Love, Jefferson Airplane / 13. My Way, Frank Sinatra / 14. Going Back Home, Wilko Johnson and Roger Daltrey / 15. Landslide, Fleetwood Mac / 16. Ode to My Family, The Cranberries / 17. Loveblood, Sundara Karma / 18. The Man Who Sold the World, Nirvana / 19. No Sound but the Wind, Editors


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