This winter has been cold. The East Coast (and many other parts of the US and beyond) have been frost-bitten by multiple winter storms. It’s not fun. One of the only good things about a snow storm is the feeling of relief when you enter a warm house and get to bundle up with blankets and curl up with tea or coffee or hot cocoa and light candles or make a fire to rest in front of. Even a pair of comfy socks makes a winter day one-hundred times better. You don’t know a true winter until socks make you smile.
Last summer at TYF, I swapped out popular summer songs with some alternative music hits. Robin Thicke was swapped with The Mowgli’s. “Get Lucky” was compared to a Grouplove song. Winter songs are a bit harder to cover. The Top 40 is still a tad obsessed with the feel-good tracks. And that’s totally understandable; who doesn’t want to listen to a song that reminds you of a place that could be sunny and 75? (Zedd’s “Stay the Night” I’m looking at you. That song is summer personified). So, instead of swapping, let me make you a little playlist. Curl up with these songs. Let their beautiful lyrics warm your heart. Allow them to sing you to sleep under layers of blankets. All of these songs are about the warmest topic of all: being in love. These songs will be all the love you need to make a cold day a little cozier.
1. “Blood Bank”- Bon Iver
I think the most striking thing about this song is the repetition of the line, “I know it well.” The meaning of the line seems to shift meaning as the song progresses. The speaker changes from knowing his own self and feelings well, to knowing a love that came so quickly and was fearful to share, to a love that is so pure and deep a warm future is pictured. The “Christmas morning creaks” lyrics paint this loving picture. To be so in love with someone that you can see a future where you raise children together and those children are running around in an upstairs bedroom, ready to anxious to open presents on Christmas morning is something special. And it’s that kind of cozy poetry that makes winter songs my favorite. Winter is a cold time but it can be made warm by the love of family, friends, children, or a significant other.
Beyond that lovely holiday imagery, the main confession-of-love scene happens while snowed inside of a car. The pair of young lovers are huddled together and the woman rubs the man’s hands, showing that she cares for his well-being. It’s that move of intimacy that makes the couple move forward in their relationship by sharing a kiss as the snow softly falls around their car. Stop me at any time, I could go on and on about this song forever…
2. “Snow”-Sleeping at Last
Sleeping at Last released one EP per month in 2012, and each EP bore the name of the month it was released. At the end of that year, the EPs were tied together with a ribbon and presented as a package entitled, Yearbook. “Snow” was found on the “December EP” and its lyrics are too beautiful not to share:
“As gentle as feathers, the snow piles high
Our world gets rewritten and retraced every time
Like fresh plates and clean slates, our future is white
New year’s resolutions will reset tonight”
Sleeping at Last’s lyrics remind us that snow doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Metaphorically, snow can represent the washing away of old promises, bad memories, and sadness as it melts and reveals a sunny spring.
3. “Resolution”-Matt Corby
I’m 75% sure Matt Corby didn’t write this song with January 1st in mind. Actually, after I read this interview with him at Spit Press, I’m positive it has nothing to do with January 1st, and everything to do with human nature.
I just realized [when pondering the meaning of life] that it should just be about people and it should just be about love because without them there’s nothing. The rest of this game and every single thing that’s been created comes from the human network and the collective consciousness. So… The song came from that, the reason that we are human
Even though the 1st was not in Corby’s mind while writing “Resolution,” New Year’s resolutions are on my mind. My family tried to start this tradition where we write down all of our goals on little scraps of paper and put them in a paper bag during our New Years Party. Then when the clock strikes down you break the bag and pick up all of your goals and keep them in your pocket for the year. I think my dad saw it on Zoom 20 years ago, told us we should do it, and it never went further than that. While I don’t keep my resolutions in my pocket, every year I write my resolutions in a new diary and cross them off with dates if they are fulfilled. So, when Corby sings “You will be my resolution” I feel him. It may be about the human race or it may be personal, but you want your goals and understandings and ideas to be the reason you beat on. And that’s something.
4. “Goodbye England (Covered in Snow)”-Laura Marling
Laura, Laura, Laura. I can’t get enough of her music. “Goodbye England” came from Marling’s sophomore album and remains a personal favorite. It’s all about reminiscing and getting homesick after moving away and remembering the love of family and beauty of a place you left behind. And that place is covered in snow.
Honestly, as cold as it may be, there’s nothing as beautiful than a yard of pure fallen snow. It makes the world seem quiet and peaceful. And when it melts, you almost wish for more, just so you can stare at it as it falls and pretend you’re in a big snow globe.
5. “Winter Love”- Parachute
The speaker WISHES for winter. Enough said…
Okay, so it could be that he wishes for winter so he can see his “Winterlove” but still.
Spring goes by so slowly
Summer can’t come fast enough
Fall can leave me lonely
Just bring me back my winter love