When the leaves fall, so too does our productivity.

This maxim not only applies to the everyday citizen’s work-ethic, but to a large portion of the music industry as well. Let’s face it: not a lot of memorable songs get released towards the end of the year. The industry hits a cyclical lull, and there are a lot of obvious sources to blame. Grammy nominations are closed. Artists take time off after a busy year of writing, recording, and touring to relax and prepare for the new year. Hell, after Thanksgiving, most of the public doesn’t have time to listen to anything besides their favorite holiday jingles and a few “year in review” playlists. So why would artists bother creating anything new during this seasonal intermission?

Rhetoric aside, select content champions regularly sneak under the radar with some vastly underappreciated end-of-year content. Their valiance is welcomed and applauded, but the reasons why they force their songs/albums in that tight window is often nothing more than an educated guess. Some incessant planners tease singles to preface a new EP/album on the docket for the succeeding year. Other artists try to capitalize on the industry-wide abeyance to publish their music while fewer adversaries are competing for listeners’ ears. Other worker bees simply can’t stop creating content at breakneck speeds because, in the grand scheme of things, that’s all they know. Regardless of the reasoning, some great music still sneaks through whether or not our holiday-obsessed minds realize it.

If you were looking forward to hearing a myriad of wintertime “bangers” grace the dance floor, don’t get your hopes up. Aside from a few habitual party-starters like Carly Rae Jepsen, benny blanco, MØand The 1975, most of the music released over the past few months has been predictably somber. Winter’s cold brings along a sense of solemn melancholy for artists and streamers alike, leaving an opportunity for lo-fi, acoustic, emotionally-driven ballads to rule the temporarily downbeat world. As a result, some intrinsically slower artists like Sampha, Courtney Barnett, and Pinegrove command the proverbial stage. At the same time, the door is also left wide open for unknown songwriters to make a name for themselves. After all, those artists who have the privilege to plan and rest for the upcoming year are typically the ones with long-established, carefully curated musical careers. This leaves us as listeners a fantastic opportunity to appreciate the new faces and unheard voices who would struggle to get our attention during other busier times of year.

There’s no use mincing words with plenty more exciting end-of-year content on deck. The following playlist contains my favorite 30 songs released over the past three months. As always, the songs are in no particular order with a restriction of only one song per artist.

Remember back in the good ole’ days (3 months ago) when you just a young, directionless vagrant looking for new music to latch onto? Yeah, me too. Reminisce in the heartwarming nostalgia by exploring last quarter’s fun, more upbeat playlist here: FeenyFaves: Best Songs of 2018: Q3 (July – September)