"Top Five" winter songs


Cold weather got you down? If the recent cold snap has you questioning if you actually live in Florida and your cabin fever has reached a critical level, you should at least have a soundtrack to accompany you. So throw a few logs on the fire, make some hot cider and be sure to add your favorite whiskey. (If you don’t have a fireplace or whiskey, a fire in a barrel and a bottle of mouthwash are ill-advised substitutes; use at your own risk). Then, crank up the stereo for these five wintertime favorites.

“Golden” – My Morning Jacket
Isolation can be a maddening feeling, and it’s prevalent during Florida’s winter cold snaps. Residents of this state seem to shut down once the mercury dips below 40 degrees. So if you find yourself alone because your friends are arctic-air shut-ins, the whimsical sounds of the whining guitar in this song and it’s bleak but hopeful lyrics like: “People always told me/That bars are dark and lonely/And talk is often cheap and filled with air/Sure sometimes they thrill me/But nothin’ could ever chill me/Like the way they make the time just disappear/Feelin’ you are here again/Hot on my skin again/Feelin’ good, a thing I’d never known before” should have you tapping your feet underneath your Snuggie. Yeah, you know you own one.

“Snowden” – Doves
OK, so the title of this song is completely misleading. The song has nothing to do with winter or snow for that matter. Some say the song is based on the character “Snowden” from the book “Catch-22” by Joseph Heller. But the song is so much more than high school-level required reading. Though the subject matter has nothing to do with the current season, the blustery sounds and beautiful guitar work lend themselves nicely to a breezy, cold January day. This song is great as mid-level background music for looking out a window and having some time to reflect or even sharing a drink with friends.

“One Horse Town” – The Thrills
About five or six years ago, the hot idea was to name your band “The ______.” Then there was the whole thing with rhyming your band with “ills”: The Stills, The Chills and this band, The Thrills. Pretty annoying, but they get a pass for writing this song that really conveys the sense of having nothing to do in a small town: “I guess I never should have settled down/You see, hanging around in a one horse town/Does nothing for your state of mind.” Though Jacksonville isn’t a small town, it can be a cultural wasteland at times. It’s great if you like chain restaurants and strip malls, but boring if you actually like to stay busy. This is the perfect song for being apathetic about having nothing to do this winter.

“Hazy Shade of Winter” – Simon and Garfunkel
Not much has to be said about Simon and Garfunkel because almost everything has already been covered. Just sit back, relax and let one of the greatest American songwriting duos of all time paint the picture for you. The lyrics, “Ahhh, seasons change with the scenery/Weaving time in a tapestry/Won’t you stop and remember me/At any convenient time/Funny how my memory slips while looking over manuscripts/Of unpublished rhyme/Drinking my vodka and lime/But look around, leaves are brown now/And the sky is a hazy shade of winter” are the poetic standard you’d expect from two guys who made a living writing catchy songs your grandmother can enjoy along with you.

“Winterlong” – Neil Young
Neil Young should know about cold winters being that he’s Canadian. This song about loss and longing that are as cold as a blizzard in Saskatchewan became a live favorite more than 30 years ago. Young’s always-adept guitar work paints a sad backdrop for the lyrics “Waiting to follow/Through the dreamlight of your way/Is not so easy for me now/Half the time has passed away/Things we thought of yesterday/Come back now, come back now/I waited for you Winterlong/You seem to be where I belong.” Also impressive to note, this song had a second life when the Pixies began covering it in the early ‘90s.

Compiled by Jason Yurgartis.