Here at Chez Milam, I'm staring a new running feature:
Milam's Monthly Playlist!
At the beginning of each month, I'll post several songs that might fit the mood/climate of that particular season. As Poet Laureate Scott Weiland once said, "So much depends on the weather." Accordingly, the way I experience music is largely affected by the time of year I hear it. For example, I might love Beach Boys' "Do You Wanna Dance." But I only listen to it when the weather's warm and the windows are down. Some music just isn't made for February.
Thankfully, here are 28 songs fit for the coldest, bleakest, grayest, quietest, ugliest, most depressing month of the year. Grab six hot toddies, pop in the headphones, wonder why nobody loves you enough, and revel in the moody blues of...
Songs of February!
1) Fleet Foxes - "White Winter Hymnal"
Quintessential winter music, so hushed and pretty it belongs in a chapel.
2) Simon & Garfunkel - "I Am a Rock"
I don't care what month Paul Simon says it is (December, for the record), finger-picked songs about being insular sound like February to me.
3) The Walkmen - "The Rat"
For a song with such frenetic energy, it still sounds cold. Perfect for driving in a freezing car, pissed off.
4) Feist - "Sealion"
February can be temporarily upbeat, as long as it's still harmonic and spare.
5) MGMT - "The Youth"
I probably associate MGMT with wintertime because this record came out winter '08. Despite the huge arrangement, all their stuff is palpably sad.
6) R.E.M. - "New Orleans Instrumental No. 1"
7) Lucero - "The Only One"
I can only listen to this record (That Much Further West) in January and February. This song moves slowly, like the cold months tend to.
8) Ryan Adams - "My Blue Manhattan"
There is a time and a place for Captain Adams' "suicide music." Savor the flavor, because this is it.
9) Elliot Smith - "Needle in the Hay"
Hey, speaking of suicide music... Brilliant, spare songwriting.
10) Iron and Wine - "Sea and the Rhythm"
Iron and Wine's actual genre is called "Acoustic February." Fact.
11) Ingrid Michaelson - "The Chain"
Her best song, methinks.
12) Tom Waits - "I Hope That I Don't Fall in Love with You"
13) Bonnie Prince Billy - "I See a Darkness"
...How about now?
14) Pearl Jam - "Fatal"
...That'll do it. Play this for your Valentine at your own risk.
15) Radiohead - "Morning Bell/Amnesiac"
Nobody does cold, haunting arrangements better.
16) Cory Branan - "The Snowman"
Unreleased gem full of wintry images and post-breakup anger/depression. Equal doses sad and bizarre...one of the best songs Tom Waits never wrote.
17) Harlan T. Bobo - "Left Your Door Unlocked"
As long as we're on the acoustic, post-breakup tip... By the way, if you're desperate for a sad singer/songwriter to ease your February pains (or just reflect them), I can't recommend Mr. Bobo and this record (Too Much Love) highly enough.
18) The Drifters - "There Goes My Baby"
Lest we forget the uber-sad uber-oldies. The lead-vocal is heartbreaking and gorgeous.
19) The Replacements - "Unsatisfied"
A moody playlist without the Replacements? What kind of amateur do you take me for?
20) Band of Horses - "St. Augustine"
Heavy vocal reverb makes its 1,000th appearance on this mix. Why does February sound so much like reverb, acoustic guitar, light piano, and baroque harmonies to me?
21) Death Cab for Cutie - "I Will Follow You Into the Dark"
I didn't want to like this song, but they left me no choice. Quintessential February music.
22) Stereophonics - "Lying to Myself Again"
I can never tell if the Stereophonics are underrated stateside or appropriately anonymous. Either way, this is a rare piano track from them.
23) Bob Dylan - "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues"
Even The Bob's jangly tunes sound like wintertime to me. "I do believe I've had enough" pretty much sums up my feelings by the end of the month.
24) Wilco - "The Lonely One"
Being There always gets heavy rotation in the winter, and this is its low-point/high-point.
25) My Morning Jacket - "I Will Be There When You Die"
I challenge you to find a more morbid song title.
26) Josh Ritter - "The Temptation of Adam"
Intimate vocals, acoustic guitar, sad and brilliant song about a doomed relationship, complete with cold war imagery? This song is the February jackpot.
27) Ben Nichols - "Toadvine"
Stand-out off the new record, about hoping for brighter days.
28) Jim James - "Goin' to Acapulco" (cover of Dylan & the Band)
Because, by February 28th, who isn't daydreaming of blue skies and happier times?
What are YOUR Songs for February?
Don't see nothin' but the light,
(***Even though I'm listing one song for every day in February, each song isn't meant to correspond with that date. I'd recommend not listening to "Fatal" on the 14th. Unless you're an unbelievable masochist, in which case it's a great idea.)