Ah, winter. It’s that wonderful time of the year when all the trees die, hot chocolate sales soar, and the mere thought of going outside sends shivers down the spine. During this grim, frostbitten season, it’s probably best not to set outside at all, instead clinging to blankets upon blankets and playing some wintery tunes in the blissful comforts of home. With “Warmest Winter,” Linnea Ellis of Borlänge, Sweden has given us a song about that very scenario, and her folky, atmospheric take on pop might just help keep the chill away.
“Warmest Winter” begins with a soothing violin line, courtesy of Ellis, backed up by a quietly funky, instantly commanding guitar line. The verses’ instrumentals are almost ominous enough to qualify as neo-folk; Ellis’ strong voice, equal parts hefty and dreamy, amplifies the music’s vague sense of disquiet. The song soon transitions into a sweet pop chorus that never sounds too overproduced or saccharine. This nice balance is one of the track’s strongest qualities; “Warmest Winter” never wholly ventures into folk, pop or ethereal atmosphere, instead existing on the fringes of all three.
The song is Ellis’ first stab at professional recording, but she’s been in and around the music scene for most of her life. Born in Borlänge, she picked up the violin at the age of three and moved to Stockholm in 2003. There, she’s spent the last eight years DJing and running a booking company for other female DJs. She’s still found time to write music on the side; “Warmest Winter” is a revamp of a song she wrote way back in 2008 during a brief move to Oslo.
Linnea Ellis is signed to Stockholm label Signe Victorine, which should release her debut EP in 2019. Until then, at least we have “Warmest Winter” to help us get through this weather.