A few weeks ago, a friend of mine devised the following statement and component question, one that I've been since kicking around in my head for quite a while:
"For some reason, listening to certain albums during the winter makes them sound extra bleak, but more fitting. Is there an album that, for you, takes on added seasonal significance?"
[I'm paraphrasing, of course - even though most of my friends do in fact speak to me as if I'm standing in front of a podium. I, in turn, make them first state their names and professions before carrying on conversations. Because I'm an insufferable human being, you see.]
At any rate, here's the answer that I came up with:
Winter usually brings out the more instrumental early 90s emo for me: heavy on Sunny Day Real Estate, Mineral, and the like. [Alternative winter choice: ethereal, atmospheric sounds of Sigur Ros' ( ).] Autumn = change = Owen, who (un)coincidentally has an album titled New Leaves. But he's one of my year round favorites, so I'm not sure if that's an accurate submission.
There are four things I know for certain in answer to this question:
- Death Cab For Cutie's "Blacking Out the Friction" is the best winter song. It might even be the song that serves best as a celebration of a season. And damn, does it make me get excited about northern exposure (North Face?) clothes, particularly the opening lyric: "I don't mind the weather/I've got scarves and caps, and sweaters/I've got long johns under slacks for blustery days." HELL YEAH, MOTHERFUCKER! Doesn't that just make you want to break out the L.L. Bean, drink some hot apple cider, and put on/listen to The Thermals? WINTER!
- Don't have a choice for spring. Sorry, April. Enough said.
- I dare anyone living in Chicago (outside of Nathan Rabin, whose features on these I love) to seriously listen to a volume of Now That's What I Call Music! in January or February. That's a toughie. Whoever does so can probably also listen to Jock Jams outside of sporting venues. I also imagine they have several Fatheads, Wallbangers, and love letters addressed to Chase Utley.
- We, the Vehicles by Maritime [pictured above] is the ultimate summer album. It encapsulates everything about the season perfectly without explicitly trying to do so (though the band name doesn't hurt imagining wearing a striped shirt on a schooner, if you're into that sort of thing). It gently breezes through the SCHOOL'S OUT, Y'ALL! feeling with tracks like "Parade of Punk Rock T-Shirts", "Calm", and "Tearing Up the Oxygen" before capturing our recognition of its fleeting nature in "Don't Say You Don't" and "No One Will Remember". Oh, and "Young Alumni" does all of this in one song.