I'm not talking about Christmas carols. Not the seasonal songs about snow either. I'm talking about the songs like "Just Walk Away Renee", that bring back the smells of wet wool and steam radiators. "Leader of the Pack", sung by 2 friends and me in my family living room, back when we actually tried to entertain ourselves and each other on long dark nights. Songs like "Suspicious Minds" and "Someday We'll Be Together" that played on WABC- AM radio in my pocket while I shoveled snow. And "Something", which will forever bring back baking cookies in the old Brooklyn kitchen, frosted windows rattling in the wind and vanilla filling the air.
Winter songs aren't like Summer songs. Not mine, anyway. They aren't about partying and dancing. They're softer, more meaningful. Even sad. Janis wailed, "Me and Bobby McGee" and I sang out too, while chopping ice. One winter I remember being in a friend's unheated basement apartment listening to "Changes" and talking about how incredible Bowie was while blowing on our hands in the cold.
Much is said about Summer songs and we remember them well. But I remember Winter songs in a different light. These are the songs that landed on and melted in, that when you sang them outdoors the freezing air would hurt your throat. The songs you stared out the window watching snow fall to. The songs that ran through your mind while sitting in a classroom with valentine hearts and silhouettes of Lincoln and Washington hung on the hall bullboards. I never see anyone noting the Winter songs. But I remember them well, and the smell of wet wool and radiators still bring them back in a heartbeat.
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