Sunday, November 11, 2012

It's Winter Where I Am

Music is of maximum importance to me, and while Jason Mraz is undoubtedly my favorite musician, that doesn't mean I don't dabble quite a bit in the affairs of others. Jason Mraz is my go to: I can listen to him when I'm happy, sad, trying to take a nap, any number of things I don't need to list. But, I've found he is an anomaly, primarily because with other musicians I have to be in a certain mood.

And it has to be the appropriate season.

I'm a very visual person; when I memorize lines for a show, or back when I played the piano and performed in piano recitals, I'd memorize the location of the words or notes on the page. It wasn't the words themselves that stuck with me, but the way the page looked. Which is why it was such a big deal when Taylor wrote allover my Charley's Aunt script, but that's beside the point. Like memorizing lines, I memorize and take in music with regards to what I'm seeing at the time. Which is why I avoid listening to exclusively Jason Mraz on the bus; the last thing I want is to connect his brilliance with the monotony of an hour drive through backstreets day in and day out. To satisfy my own overwhelming excitement for winter and winter music, I am going to impart to you, the three readers of my blog, the best winter music. Beginning, naturally with

Matt Duke: Winter Child 

I found this album my junior year (2009-2010) of high school. I listened to it through December, driving my car through the biggest snow of the season with it playing. This album has become winter to me, to the extent that I nearly feel nauseous trying to listen to it when there isn't snow to be found. The sky has to at least be grey before I can pop this baby in. Which is a little disappointing if you're Matt Duke. Sorry your music didn't transgress the season restriction like Mraz, Matt.

With Winter Child it's more than the fact that I found it in winter, it's that the songs have this dark/moody quality to them, even the upbeat ones like Tidal Waves. Matt Duke doesn't write filler popsongs, at least not on this album. Even the "happier" songs are really about something darker like committing suicide. It's appropriately titled, so I've appropriately categorized it.
-Tidal Waves

The trouble with not having stalker fans like Mraz is there are hardly any youtube videos of this guy. But his lyrics are miracles.

Charlotte Sometimes: Waves And the Both of Us

Charlotte's first album is labeled under winter because, after finding her single How I Could Just Kill A Man in the summer of 2008 (by watching the top 20 music video countdown to see how rad of a job I'm Yours was doing) I knew I'd love everything she sang, so I held out for Birthday Christmas where I could get her whole album.

It happened. And I was right, she is in the trifecta of Favorite Female Artist, swapping places with Daphne Willis and TP depending on my mood.

And the season.

Charlotte pulls an Alanis Morissette with her first album, focusing her songs on heartbreak and wrongdoing and moody womanly opinions. She now expresses that that's really not what she's about anymore, but it's an excellent album, and it's dark enough to pair with snowfall and have a good time.

-Build the Moon

I've always thought this would be the ballad I'd sing on American Idol.

Come on. Tell me you don't plan things like that.

Matt Nathanson: Modern Love

This was the first album I listened to in its entirety on the bus, so Matt Nathanson should be excited that I moved this album from that-boring-bus-album category to winter.

Matt's album doesn't have as defined a reason why it's so wintry to me other than the fact that this is what was in my car at the end of last fall semester and beginning of spring semester when I was constantly driving to and from campus in snowish/sloshy conditions.

But there are songs like Love Comes Tumbling Down, Kept, Drop To Hold You, Bottom Of The Sea, and Kiss Quick that flow with snow. Perhaps because they're slower songs. Perhaps because the melody's richer. But to me, Faster is just as snowy as Kept, regardless of how happy-pop it is.

-Kiss Quick

I'm addicted to this song. He's good with poetics, this man.

Diane Birch: Bible Belt

This album is also from my junior year, though I believe from the other side of December, after Matt Duke. Diane has the dark jazz sound with a rich, flawless alto voice. Her piano chords dance around like snow in a flurry. She's awesome. And very wintry. If I knew things about different keys, I'd probably have more substantial reasons for this album being winter. I feel like they have a darker quality, like a minor, perhaps.

Now I'm just embarrassing myself.

She's probably one of my favorite winter picks. I should have put her higher up.

Seriously get this album for all your winter loving. I'm just remembering how great it is.


I seriously love this lady. I'm going to go see if she's done something recently. I could use a new winter album.

Ingrid Michaelson: Everybody

This album is also from my junior year. I was really in a dark place through the end of December until May, really. If you've been reading this blog, that darkness is clearly illustrated by the slew of posts that came with the onset of this blog. I was shifting through music to find something that would take the pain out, but what I found was a series of musical installments that accepted the pain and the dark, cold world around me and reflected them back at me in a way I was able to calmly understand. I found winter in my heart and my music.

I hadn't really noticed that before. Interesting.

Maybe there was a deeper reason I felt like writing this post.

This album has the same storm of piano that Diane had, but with less of a jazz feel and more of a singer/songwriter. Ingrid is calming, pensive, soft. Winter.

Plus one song's title is Men of Snow. That has to mean something.

-Sort Of

This song is really empowering to belt in a very angry mood, which I'll admit to doing on occasion.

That's it. If you made it this far. I have a couple others, but it became rather obvious that my only foundation for winter albums is how "dark" they are.

Here's for a fun game. Go through the post and see how many times I said "dark." I'm guessing eight.

Am I right?

I hope someone besides myself benefited from this. Check out these artists. Let me know your winter music. No Christmas, please.

It's pretty obvious that's winter music.

Bonus Track!

I'll admit there is one Jason Mraz song that embodies winter for me. Maybe that's because it's so mellow, acoustic, and chill, or maybe it's because he mentions winter a lot. Either way, I love this song.
It's an unknown, so the only two live recordings of it were terrible quality. So stare at his naked chest and enjoy.

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