Songs for Snowfall

Tory Foulk

There has been a lot of winter precipitation in the forecast lately. While many may find this chilly turn of events inconvenient, it seems that musicians revel in using the brumal imagery of a good blizzard to their advantage.  This week’s playlist is rife with tracks that serve as a reminder: snow isn’t just a slushy annoyance. Look at it a little differently, and it may inspire you.

 

“Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow” – Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Oh, Nick Cave – always a master of somber metaphor. While it’s pretty apparent that “Fifteen Feet of Pure White Snow” isn’t really about snow, its meaning is heavily debated among fans. That’s the beauty of Cave’s songwriting style; his work can be discussed and appreciated on a multitude of different levels.

“I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” – Billie Holiday

A cover of the song of the same name written by Irving Berlin for the musical On the Avenue, Billie Holiday’s “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm” is a winter classic about how love keeps us warm during the colder months.

“The Fox In The Snow” – Belle and Sebastian

Charming indie pop group Belle and Sebastian’s “The Fox in The Snow” is another number on this list thick with snow-based metaphors, though the meaning behind the writing seems fairly agreed upon by fans across the board. According to a myriad of comments on songmeanings.com, the song is either about attempting to draw someone out of their destructive behavior or about how something can be unfulfilling to one person but enjoyable to another. Either way, the song is endearing and melodically upbeat. Plus it ends on a hopeful note, which is sometimes precisely what one needs on a snowy day.

“Winter” – Tori Amos

“Winter,” like most Tori Amos songs, is soul-crushingly beautiful. In her iconic fluttering vibrato, she recounts parts of her relationship with her father that transpired as she grew up and he grew old. Each verse is framed in frosty figurative language.

“In the Cold, Cold Night” – The White Stripes

Bluesy, seductive and subtly buzzing with distortion, this track off of The White Stripes’ album “Elephant” is ideal for warming up by sharing a whiskey and lime (and a couple of knowing glances) with someone you fancy.

“Snow” – The Chemical Brothers

Electronic duo The Chemical Brothers’ track “Snow” doesn’t even seem remotely related to snow at all – the only lyrics are “Your love keeps lifting me/lifting me higher” – but sometimes a weird experimental track is the perfect thing for a gray winter day.

“Soon It Will Be Cold Enough to Build Fires” – Emancipator

Emancipator is one of the most talented electronic producers around today. His body of work has a signature chill to it, and “Soon It Will Be Cold Enough to Build Fires” is no exception to that rule. This is a good song to wind down to after a long afternoon shoveling the driveway.

“Winter Fields” – Bat for Lashes

British Pakistani dream pop musician Bat for Lashes has been compared to the likes of legends such as Bjork and Siouxsie Sioux, and with good reason – she’s an exceptionally talented multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. “Winter Fields” is both warmly nostalgic and slightly unsettling, and at times seems to be told from the perspective of wild rabbits. What more could one possibly ask for?

“Snow Plow” – Bahamas

“Snow Plow” by Canadian folk musician Bahamas is a slow-paced and hazy track lamenting past mistakes and a break-up with a former lover. This is a great song to play while watching big, feathery snowflakes languidly journey to the ground.

“Cold” – The Cure

Possibly the most melancholic number on this list, The Cure’s “Cold” seems to be, at least in part, about being scorned by a love interest. Oh, Robert Smith. I just want you to be happy. (Really though, this song is worth checking out, and is especially satisfying if you listen to it on a brisk, angry-hurt walk in the frigid air after feeling particularly spurned by someone.)