Winter Songs – Cold Weather, Gray Skies, Sad Music

Been living in Florida for the better part of 4 years now. Feel like my blood has legitimately thinned in that time. Not sure that living in what I have always considered to be a vacation spot has really lived up to my expectations. Maybe its natural to grow tired of places once they become your day to day reality. Kind of weird living in place where it is never inappropriate to blast a poppy, electroish ‘summer jam’ in your car with the windows rolled down. Feel like I have grown ridiculously fond of Peter Bjorn and John’s ‘Amsterdam’ (Amsterdam – mp3) since living in Florida.

Summer jams are great but im feelin’ like I don’t appreciate them as much as I would if they weren’t my everyday life. For example, I like ice cream, but if is all I ate were ice cream, I’d get kind of sick of it. At the same time, I think people living in Florida have a tendency to create some phony overly glamorized image of northern winters: snow angels, hot coco, ice skating in Rockefeller plaza etc. Probably got most of these images from ‘Elf’/greeting cards/Gap fleece commercials. Feel like these are probably the same people who wake up super early on their New York vacations to go see Al Roker in person at the Today show, while holding a sign reppin’ their home town. Truthfully, Chicago winters suck. They are gray, freezing, long and snow angels aren’t fun. Think less ‘Elf’ more ‘Fargo’. Less ‘Old Navy Jingle Jammies’ and more dirty ‘San Jose Sharks’ starter jacket.

Feel like I lived in these things for the better part of my childhood

This being said, there is still something comforting about Illinois winter to me. Maybe the space between my first two toes needs a rest from all that flip flop wearing. Maybe I’m not meant to absorb that much vitamin d. Thinkin’ that all the grayness and cold makes you a stronger more grounded individual. Startin’ to realize that there is more to life then drum machines, catchy hooks and auto tune. Might really just want an excuse to listen to sad music. Its hard to really ‘connect’ with Bon Iver when you are chillin’ in a hammock wearing seersucker and Sperry’s. Northerners probably get more out of ‘summer jams’ as well via not being able to play them all year long. At least not appropriately.

Probably not the best place to listen to Fleet Foxes

Started to think about what makes a really good winter song. Still not completely sure. Might have something to do with folksier music. Winter music seems to be more ‘unplugged’, with less of an emphasis on the beat and more of an emphasis on lyrics. If a song says something about ‘winter’ or ‘cold’ in the name than that lets me know for sure. But if that isn’t there, the only thing that seems to be constant in music that I deem winterish is that its all pretty sad. Feel like this sad mellow music is a necessary contrast to the synthy, care free music of the summer. Without this music you might start to over analyze summer jams looking for a deeper meaning. Might start wishing Akon would finally find the words to describe that girl, even if he had to be disrespectful.

Anyways here are twenty five songs that currently make me think of winter.

Bower Birds – Northern Lights
Stripped down and soulful
Northern lights mp3

Matt Costa – Cold December
Cold December

The Magic Numbers – I See You, You See Me
I couldn’t picture this tragic duet being sung near palm trees. (One of my all time favorite songs)
I see You, You see Me

The Avett Brothers – Go to Sleep
One of the more cheerful songs on the list
Go to Sleep

Blue Scholars – Coffee and Snow
Hip-hop Snow day
Coffee and Snow

Ra Ra Riot – Can You Tell
Almost went with ‘Winter 05’ by RRR but this music video was too perfect

Bon Iver – Blood Bank
It’s pretty obvious Bon Iver lived in a cabin in rural Wisconsin when he wrote Blood Bank
Blood Bank

Architecture in Helsinki – Souvenirs

The Magnetic Fields – I don’t want to get over you
I Don\'t Want to get Over You

Peter Bjorn and John – Chills
What Amsterdam is to summer Chills is to winter

Arcade Fire – Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Neighborhood #1

The Tallest Man on Earth – I Won’t be Found
I Won\'t be Found

The Antlers – Bear
Sounds like a snow globe

Andrew Bird – Simple X
Favorite Andrew Bird
Simple X

Ray Lamontagne – Empty
One of the more beautifully written songs I have ever heard

The Mountain Goats – San Bernadino
San Bernadino

The National – Fake Empire
No one does melancholy like the National

Beach House – Norway
If you are gonna be cool in 2010, you better start liking this one

Sea Wolf – The Cold, The Dark & The Silence
cold dark silence

The Shins – New Slang
New Slang

Wilco – I Am Trying to Break Your Heart
Everything off of this album was magic
I am Trying to Break Your Heart

The Decemberists – The Crane Wife 3
If your band is called the Decemberists you better be able to make some wintery music
Crane Wife

Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
Can’t decide whether this song takes me to Appalachia or medieval Euroupe
White Winter Hymnal

Ben Folds Five – Brick
“The smell of cold, car seat is freezing. The world is sleeping and I am numb”

Sufjan Stevens – For the Widows of Paradise…
For the Widows of Paradise

What makes a good winter song?
Do you prefer summer jams or winter jams?
Will starter jackets make a comeback?



Filed under Best of lists, Music, Rant

2 responses to “Winter Songs – Cold Weather, Gray Skies, Sad Music

  1. Jo

    “Winter music seems to be more ‘unplugged’, with less of an emphasis on the beat and more of an emphasis on lyrics”

    Skinny Love is the song of the season. fo sure.

  2. beach houses are really nice and it would always be a warm and relaxing place ;`,

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