Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Top Ten: Winter Songs

Now that winter's cold bosom has begun to smack us about the head, it is imperative that you have some good music to help you bide your time. These are not holiday songs. I tackled that two years ago. These are simply songs that remind me of winter for one reason or another, whether it's a lyrical reference to something cold or winteresque or some other random reason. A good winter song should have a hint of despair to it, although not all of the songs are downers.

These are in no particular order:

1. "Baby I Love You" by The Ronettes
I don't know what it is about this song that reminds me of winter. Perhaps it's the fact that The Ronettes are featured prominently on Phil Spector's Christmas album (which everyone should own, by the way), or that the intro kind of seems Christmas-y. Ronnie Spector's (nee Bennett) voice soars on this song, and this definitely has that hint of despair I was talking about. This song should be playing during the climax of a romantic comedy, when the hot chick finally realizes the nerdy guy is her one true love, and then they make out in the falling snow right before the credits roll.

2. "There is a Place" by The Beatles
This is a great (and underrated) song off of The Beatles' debut album, Please Please Me. The whole album reminds me of winter because I listened to it religiously right after winter break in 1999. It's an introspective song, about getting away from it all and just having some time to think. Unfortunately, it's not on Playlist.com, but here is a link to the song on YouTube.

3. "Great Expectations" by The Gaslight Anthem
I think this reminds me of winter because I listened to this album a lot last winter. It will always remind me of Daughter's birth, so that's a good thing. Otherwise, I probably would've forgotten, given the mescaline.

4. "Beth" by Kiss
Maybe this reminds me of winter because it was featured in the very underrated movie Beautiful Girls when Paul is removing the snow from Jan's driveway. Maybe it doesn't. You tell me.

5. "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy
This reminds me of winter solely because it was really popular during the winter of 2000. So pervasive was the song that my mom even started singing it. Of course, she was appalled to learn that the line is not "banging on the bathroom door." In addition to the fact that it's one of my favorite winter songs, it also features one of my favorite defenses, which I call "The Shaggy Defense": simply say it wasn't you, even if your girlfriend actually witnesses you having sex with another woman.

6. "Moonlight Mile" by The Rolling Stones
This is kind of a drowsy song, but it's one of my favorite Stones' songs. When I hear it, I imagine walking home from a bar down a snow-covered street on one of those winter nights where everything is practically silent. Listen to it and tell me I'm wrong, and I'll punch you in the teeth.

7. "The Weight" by The Band
I think I equate this song with winter because it mentions Nazareth, and it's about people looking for a place to stay. Whatever the reason, this song is one of rock's all-time classics.

8. "Don't Fear the Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult
It's a cold and dark song, cowbell or not. You cannot listen to this song when the sun is shining.

9. "Thorn Tree in the Garden" by Derek & The Dominos
As you may or may not know, Derek & The Dominos' Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs is my favorite album of all-time. The whole album reminds me of winter, but no song more than this one, which is the last song on the album. It's an acoustic heartbreaker written and sung by Bobby Whitlock. Listening to the song, you might think it's about Whitlock missing some damn devil woman who left him. In reality, Whitlock wrote it years before the Dominos were formed, after one of his roommates got rid of Whitlock's dog while Whitlock was out. Brutal. This one's not on Playlist.com either, but here is a YouTube link.

10. "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" by The White Stripes
This song is just cold. That's the only way I can describe it.

Honorable mention: "Self Esteem" by Offspring; "Better Man" by Pearl Jam; "The Crystal Ship" by The Doors; "The Way It Is" by Nicole Atkins; "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" by Dusty Springfield; "Baby I'm Yours" by Barbara Lewis; "In the Ghetto" by Elvis Presley; "Anna (Go With Him)" by The Beatles; "Brick" by Ben Folds Five; "Battle of Evermore" by Led Zeppelin

How about you? Any songs you like to listen to during winter?

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