Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Music for cold weather - a week-long feature of sorts

After the holidays, winter can be a pretty dismal time of the year (with the exception of Valentine's day, which for many is a more wretched day than any non-holiday). Outlooks on life can become bleaker than usual, routines blander, relationships more bitter, etc. Apparently January is the new October, however, and I did not get the memo, because I've been waiting patiently for the first cold front to hit north Texas for several months now and it has only finally arrived.

In those barren lifeless months of January through March, there is a certain intimacy between us and decay, decline, and death, the part of life's cycle we at once fear and are fascinated by. At the same time, maybe winter wasn't so magical as a child, maybe you were just transferring parental love into the environment around you so you reminisce accordingly. Or maybe all the flickering colored lights and huddling around hearths of fireplaces possibly, on some subconscious level, elicit memories of prenatal warmth of the womb, with the cold weather of nature representing the 'coldness' that exists outside the protection and comfort of your fleshy cave of nascence....which are also inextricably linked to sex and all forms of.....wait, what were we talking about again?

The point is that cold weather is evocative of many things and for whatever reason it has always reminded me of my 'jeunesse' and music that typically reminds me of cold weather also reminds me that time as well.

I'm going to post seven albums (one per day for the next week) that try and encapsulate this sensation. Melancholy will most likely be dealt in dense doses, because winter, more than any other season, is generally when most people feel down and out. Some of the stuff is raw and noisy, capturing the electricity in the air of the first cold days of fall, and teenage angst, while other albums will be sparse and solemn, more evocative of those later, barren months of winter when the numbing chill begins to affect our moods and the type of music that brings to mind earlier times of youth. There is also the whole sadness/beauty dichotomy but that's enough explaining for now. Onto the albums themselves, which hopefully will be explanation enough...

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