Dartmouth Soundoff: A 14S Winter Playlist

By Margarette Nelson, The Dartmouth Staff | 3/26/14 5:00am

When I decided to be on campus for spring term, I imagined greeting my friends in shorts and flip flops and walking across a Green corded off to keep us away from those weird chemicals maintenance puts on the grass. Instead, I trudged through the snow while moving boxes and wore Under Armour beneath my jeans (I can’t be the only one that does this) on the first day of class. I get it – we are always griping about the weather. We’re in New Hampshire where people love to tweet screenshots of their weather app showing subzero temps. But I signed up for spring term…can I get my money back? The only upside I can create here is the possibility of this week’s column remaining relevant for a marginally longer time.

“Angel in the Snow” – Elliott Smith
A song in classic Elliott Smith fashion, “Angel in the Snow” opened Smith’s 2007 posthumous release New Moon. The album’s tracks were recorded between 1994 and 1997 and featured songs that hadn’t appeared on his earlier albums or were previously B-Sides.

“A Year Ago Today” – Bear’s Den
Okay, so some of these songs have lyrics that don’t have anything to do with the cold or the winter, but I was trying to stay away from being too literal. This track is nice and folky, up-tempo without being optimistic, kind of like when the sun shines and it’s 5 degrees outside.

“Winter Song” – Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
While this track is by far the least Christmas-y song on what is supposed to be a Christmas compilation album featuring artists like KT Tunstall and Lenka, the collaboration between the two singer-songwriter goddesses is the perfect soundtrack for a walk on a gray, still winter day.

“Time Will Tell” – Gregory Alan Isakov
Like a painter, Gregory Alan Isakov focuses on constructing a visual for the listener. With simple melodies and a wistful sound, “Time Will Tell” is a classic Isakov song from his latest album The Weatherman.

“Colder Weather” – Zac Brown Band
This song is less about winter and more about two lovers separated. He blames it on the weather (and presumably the resulting road conditions), and she just thinks he’s a flake. Of course when described like that, it sounds much less poetic than in the actual song, but then again what do these guys from Georgia know about Colorado?

“Everything’ll Be Alright (Will’s Lullaby)” – Joshua Radin
Off his 2006 debut album, We Were Here, “Everything’ll Be Alright (Will’s Lullaby)” is clean and comforting. Short and simple, the track describes Radin searching for — literally across the country — and eventually finding closure after a breakup.

“Through My Prayers” – The Avett Brothers
While The Avett Brothers have songs that are thematically more winter-related than this one, “Through My Prayers” appropriately fits the bill, as the lyrics describe a breakup that ran its course over the preceding winter. Just a little observation here – aside from holidays, no one seems to sing about finding love in the depths of winter…wonder why.

“White Winter Hymnal” – Fleet Foxes
This 2008 single is definitely a must-listen for anyone who is trying to at least be minimally familiar with Fleet Foxes. The song repeats one verse that describes a scene that could easily fit in A Christmas Story (1983).
“Early In the Morning, I’ll Come Calling” – James Vincent McMorrow
A nice pairing with the Fleet Foxes track, this track comes from Early In the Morning by James Vincent McMorrow, whose latest release I covered last term.

“Winter Prayers” – Iron & Wine
Off of Iron & Wine’s latest album, “Winter Prayers” is a little depressing. Then again, so is waking up to the temperature being 3 below zero on the first day of classes.

“The Fox in the Snow” – Belle & Sebastian
“The Fox in the Snow” is reminiscent of a limerick or a nursery rhyme and appeared on Belle & Sebastian’s second 1996 album If You’re Feeling Sinister, which received considerable critical acclaim and attention at the time of its release.

“Life In A Northern Town” – The Dream Academy
For some reason I’ve been listening to this song a lot in the past month, and it’s probably because I watched The Parent Trap (1998) so many times as a child. (“Life In a Northern Town” is sampled in Jakaranda’s “Never Let You Go” from the movie’s soundtrack). Anyway, the dream pop hit from 1984 is definitely the black sheep of this playlist.

“Winter Song” – The Head and The Heart
Yes. Two “Winter Songs.” One playlist.

Margarette Nelson, The Dartmouth Staff