Monday, September 20, 2010

Time of the Season: Records & Weather

Every time the weather changes I get the urge to put on certain records. It's as if my body is telling me I need to listen to these sets of songs in this order to fully comprehend the rain, snow, heat, falling leaves. It's not the same record or artist every fall or summer, but, if it changes, I've found that there is a similar atmosphere to the records I listen to during the changing of the seasons.

Fall is at our doorstep, begging like a broken-hearted lover to be let in. Since 2007, when it came out, there's been one record every fall that I must listen to. It's Jens Lekman'sNight Falls Over Kortedala.

Immediately following the swells of the violin strings of album opener "And I Remember Every Kiss," I'm in the mood for jacket weather and cold rain. By the time Jens mentions apple cider in "Friday Night at the Drive-in Bingo," it's like he knew what I was thinking all along, and I'm off to the grocery store to get some unpasteurized cider myself. I have yet to find a better record to describe my late-twenties autumnal experience.

Nothing is better suited to the desolation of a Midwestern winter than The Walkmen's You & Me.

The jangling guitars, the stark lyrics, the rumbling drums: these boys make barrenness feel like a hallelujah. The record is a lonesome one, with heartbreak at its center, but it's one wildly hopeful heart. It'll get you through those days when the sky's the color of drywall and your car won't start because, hell, even it's too damn cold.

Springtime. It's Neutral Milk Hotel. It's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. With songs like "Oh, Comely" and "Two-Headed Boy, Part 1," this record is the perfect prelude to summer. There's heat there, but there's also lightness, a lot of air, a lot of breeze. It's a beautiful record.

Life works its magic in the stomachs of strangers, even as Jeff Mangum sings of death and stadiums and fetuses and drunken mothers. I can't say it enough: it's a beautiful record.

You know a summer record when you feel the sticky humidity coming off the songs. That record for me is Darkness on the Edge of Town by Bruce Springsteen.

In "Factory," you feel that heat from the machines as the father works them. Or, how about "Racing in the Street?" You know the speaker of the song's "baby" is sitting on her Daddy's porch and her nightgown is clinging to her skin from the sweat.

I'm always looking for the record that gives a particular feeling or color(I see purple and yellow constantly when listening to The Beatles Abbey Road, for instance), so my seasonal records have changed over time. However, these four have been around for the past few years, and, in the case of NMH and the Boss, even longer.

What records do you have to listen to every time the weather changes? And, along those same lines, what records do you listen to for other reasons, such as childhood nostalgia, mend your broken heart, etc?

No comments:

Post a Comment