March 1, 2010

The Hill is Alive With the Sound of Winter

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You know how some people hear words and see colors? Well, when I hear music I feel seasons. It might sound strange to some, but to others this is definitely a familiar sensation (amirite, Caitie Clark ’10?). To throw out a few examples so you get my gist: it would be wrong to listen to the Fratellis in any season other than summer, Guster is SO autumn, and OK Go is a pretty solid spring pick. From my point of hearing, each group has got a sound that perfectly matches either the sweltering heat of an apartment with no air conditioning in July or the crispness of leaves crunching beneath your feet in October or the first sunny day in March (…err May in Ithaca) when the snow’s all melted. My point: nearly every artist has an optimal season for listening.

So, it was about this time last week when I noticed that there hadn’t been a huge snowstorm during which I could rightfully break out my winter weather musicians. However, as I’m sure you noticed, the snowpocalypse finally made its way to Ithaca and oh how glorious it felt for me to finally hear depressing, bearded, whining, crooning, moaning, snowy sounds filling up my ear space –– Yes, I am fully aware that what I’ve said thus far makes absolutely no sense if you’ve never before linked music to seasons. So in order to clear that up (or if you get what I’ve been saying, in order to celebrate the coming few weeks when it will still be acceptable to break out the wintertime tunes), I bring you a soundtrack, with brief explanations, of ideal tracks for this white and glistening weather. Hopefully this will help warm you up to the method of connecting musicians with a proper time of year.

Fleet Foxes “White Winter Hymnal”

As if the title didn’t give it away, this is song/album/band is all wintery. The track comes from their debut, self-titled album which came out in summer of 2008, a release date I believe was strategic so as to leave enough time for everyone to discover the record by winter. If you didn’t get around to this album in ’08, I guarantee that everything you heard about it being amazing was true, and it’s likely because the reviewers were listening to it while watching flakes fall outside their windows (or at least wishing there were flakes falling outside their windows).

Local Natives “Airplanes”

They’re just like Fleet Foxes, except they’re gaining acclaim this year instead of last. So if you’ve outplayed Fleet Foxes, and think everything I said in the last paragraph was soooo obvious, then check out Gorilla Manor by this fivesome. It will be as pleasing as partially melted marshmallows on your hot cocoa.

Bon Iver “Skinny Love”

God, this song is so depressing. You should just want to curl up in a ball and shiver in the corner of your bed when you hear it –– that same craving for your bed that snowstorms give you.

Ferraby Lionheart “Small Planet”

Beautifully sedated piano pop. Flawless soundtrack for sitting in those big brown chairs in the back of the Kinkeldy Room of Uris Library to stare at the slope or Cayuga Lake as it Ithacates everywhere in eyesight.

Coldplay “Trouble”

Love them or hate them, it’s undeniable that Coldplay is a winter band. I’m so firm in this stance because I have a very strong memory of classes being cancelled when I was in middle school and arriving home in the middle of the day. I had a yearning to hear Parachutes. I just listened and sipped warm soup and looked at the snow piling up on my windowsill. It was endearing like a Campbell’s commercial. So in my mind, everything about Coldplay sounds wintry and “Trouble” is just like the essential final touch of a carrot in a snowman’s face.

Matt Pond PA “From Debris”

Several Arrows Later, the album from which this song comes, has consistently reserved one of seven CD slots in my car since 2006. While other albums have come and gone from my mobile, this one has always remained, merely because I knew I wanted it there when winter rolled around. I think that’s enough said.

Ra Ra Riot “Winter ’05”

Ra Ra Riot formed in Syracuse. They know what it feels like to endure a snowy season in upstate New York, as the chorus to this particular song proves, “If you were here, winter wouldn’t pass quite so slow.” Lyrical crafting doesn’t get much more accurate of this powdery season than what Ra Ra Riot has done with this song.

Final Fantasy “This is the Dream of Win and Regine”

Fun fact: Win Butler and Regine Chassagne of The Arcade Fire inspired “This is the Dream of Win and Regine.”And Owen Pallett, the man behind Final Fantasy, along with Butler and Chassagne, are Canadian. So obviously, this song is meant for cold weather people. Plus, I’m pretty sure when this song comes on, snow just starts precipitating wherever you are. Hearing Pallett’s voice with his violin instrumentation, I’d be shocked if you didn’t feel the same. It might as well be fact that this tune is meant for people in arctic-like places.

So go, enjoy what’s left of winter 2010 with this, or your own, personal soundtrack for the snow. We only get four years in this frozen tundra, so make the musically most of it!

Original Author: Justine Fields