A strange thing happened to me today. I started my day outside, shoveling ten inches of new snow. When the job was done, I came inside. Intellectually, I knew that the work I had done meant that we were free to leave the house if we wished. But, emotionally, I felt snowed in. I knew that we could go, but I knew that we wouldn’t. This feeling sometimes overcomes songwriters too, especially regarding relationships. Here are two of the finest examples I know of of what I mean.
Eliza Carthy: Whispers of Summer
You might have noticed my posting earlier this week of a song by Martin Carthy. Eliza is his daughter, but her work as a solo artist is quite different from his. Here, she describes the aftermath of a broken relationship. Summer exists for her only as a memory or a dream. In her waking life, winter holds sway.
Dar Williams: February
Dar Williams’ winter scene is even bleaker. It is so cold that even her memory is being frozen away. The song is the most vivid description of being emotionally stuck that I have ever heard of. The last verse talks about a new lover and preparing for winter. But the listener is left to wonder: is this a renewed hope, or a flashback?