I've been waiting over a year to post this mix but, since early 2011's Snowtorious B.I.G., it seems that Chicago has been cursed with snowless, unseasonable warmth through out the period that used to be "winter." Unlike many Chicagoans who are all too happy to ditch their parkas and shovels, I've always loved the winter. As a child of the Midwest, I revel in the seasonal differences. Just like I revel in summer's warmth and sunshine, I need winter's grey and darkness. I like being forced to stay inside, I like having to brace myself to leave the house. I like the enforced humility that comes with a big Chicago storm or bitter chill, one that reminds us that we're all at the mercy of a larger universe.
Winter is a necessary pause button for my life. A time to read and contemplate and think about my life. With less to celebrate things external, I'm forced to turn my gaze inward. It's almost inevitably during winter that I do the kind of personal inventorying that helps me ensure that I know what the hell I'm doing with my life rather than careening from thing to thing like a metaphysical pinball. Maybe it's all the hot tea, maybe it's the fuzzy hats, but something about the season quiets and directs me.
Of course, there is one other thing about the season that I haven't mentioned yet - SNOW! With every passing day we set a new record in Chicago for snow drought, which is truly depressing because there are few things that make me feel like a kid again as much as a big heaping of the white stuff. From the silent majesty of snow as it comes down to the Disney-like transformation that it imposes on the world to the way it brings light into the darkest time of the year, snowfall is a unique and transcendent pleasure.Download The Mix As A .RAR
In all seriousness, the lack of snow and winter weather these past few years has been a reality that's been slowly sapping my hope. Knowing that the earth is changing and that the winters of my youth (never mind my grandparents') will probably be unknown my children is one of those things about modern life that doesn't just bug me but makes truly and deeply sad. But rather than wallow in that feeling, I've decided to try and change things for the better. In that spirit, I offer up this title collection of music as my own version of a snow dance, hoping to appease the gods of winter to bless us with at least one or two dustings this year.
1. Horchata - Vampire Weekend Buy Contra
2. Girl From The North Country - Bob Dylan Buy Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
3. December - Teenage Fanclub Buy Bandwagonesque
4. Coldest Winter - Kanye West Buy 808's & Heartbreak
5. Valley Winter Song - Fountains of Wayne Buy Welcome Interstate Managers
6. Blizzard of '77 - Nada Surf Buy Let Go
7. Winter - The Mekons Buy OOOH!
8. January Hymn - The Decemberists Buy The King Is Dead
9. While I Shovel Snow - The Walkmen Buy Lisbon
10. In The Cold, Cold Night - The White Stripes Buy Elephant
11. White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes Buy Fleet Foxes
12. Snowpusher - Moritat Buy Clill Blanzin'
13. Montreal - Of Montreal Buy Cherry Peel
14. One Heavy February - Architecture In Helsinki Buy Fingers Crossed
15. Arcadian Driftwood - The Band Buy Northern Lights - Southern Cross
16. Apartment Story - The National Buy Boxer
17. Winter Windows - Sea Wolf Buy Leaves in the River
18. Pink Bullets - The Shins Buy Chutes Too Narrow
19. Last Snowstorm of the Year - Low Buy Trust
20. Winter Afternoon by B.U. in Boston - Jonathan Richman Buy O Moon, Queen of Night on Earth