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by Dan Weiss

January 18, 2014

Music for Blizzards and Ice Storms

by Dan Weiss  |  January 18, 2014

The thing about snow is, even when it's fun, it's still cold -- just ask Clipse's Pusha T. There's a reason so many songs that are sad, haunting, mad and daunting take place in winter. Artists with literal blues (Albert Collins' "Ice Pick") or metaphorical ones (Pernice Brothers' "Snow" and "Pisshole in the Snow" from the same album, 2005's excellent Discover a Lovelier You) invoke the stuff to add a razor's edge to an already sad tune. Brute's late Vic Chesnutt ("Snowblind") and Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard ("The Ice Is Getting Thinner") know their way around a stormy metaphor, while the more literal Handsome Family ("The Blizzard," "Snowball") and Polvo ("Snowstorm in Iowa") have weather stories to tell. Even the normally peppy Dismemberment Plan set two of their most melancholy tunes in the bitter cold ("Spider in the Snow" and the fantastic NYE allegory "The Ice of Boston"), and Prince's "Sometimes It Snows in April" is one of the man's all-time darkest songs. Doomy electronic luminaries from Lukid ("Snow Theme") and Brian Eno ("Slow Ice, Old Moon") to Boards of Canada ("Iced Cooly") and Bjork ("Frosti") know how to invoke frost without even uttering a word. And late in her career, Kate Bush's "50 Words for Snow" finds Stephen Fry of all people doing exactly the opposite. Winter wonderlands these are not.

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