We can all rejoice once more, as youngster Spring is slowly taking over from old man Winter. A change in temperature, hours of sunlight, scenery, smells and spirit lies in our immediate future. Each season is distinct in a number of things, including the list I just mentioned. What in particular I want to draw your attention to is the music of the seasons. I have for you a foursome of songs belonging to spring, summer, autumn and winter. Mind you, there’s no Vivaldi to be seen or heard here. This is not your typical list of seasonal songs.
Spring: Insomnium – Revelation
It seems strange to link a song by Insomnium to a sunny and hopeful time like spring, as the lads from Finland are mainly concerned with melancholy, gloom and doom. With ‘Revelation’ though, the Finnish foursome has a song filled with joyous energy and encouraging words. Vocalist Sevänen sings in his characteristic manner about how after a time of longing, he is able to make himself happy. “If I wish, I will turn the winter to spring,” he fittingly sings as the warmth and delight of the season permeates through every note of the song. Guitarist Vanhalla closes ‘Revelation’ with a solo reminiscent of the chirping of birds, which is perfect ending for a track so full of life.
Summer: Lady Gaga – Alejandro
Lady Gaga has many upbeat and cheerful songs that were hits in summertime, but to me ‘Alejandro’ is her best and most summer-suited. The song is sensual in every sense of the word, and it has a thick dirty edge to it. What ties it to summer is the hot and brooding atmosphere of the song. Like a spring song it has life and vigour, but the hope for and promise of summer is no longer there – it doesn’t need to hope for that, it only needs to enjoy and lust for more. The warm synthesiser-melody of the chorus best illustrates this, as it is sooths and dances and bewitches and excites all at the same time. You don’t want that melody to cease what it’s doing, just like summer.
Autumn: Katatonia – Lethean
To be honest, every song of Katatonia would fit autumn. Fall would be the better term for them, even. These Swedes are one of the most melancholic bands out there, and this is in part thanks to their singer, Jonas Renske. He has a soft, sad and bare voice that tells stories of failing ambitions and depressing episodes. ‘Lethean’ is a great song of Katatonia’s that on the surface deals with running away from one’s problems and trying to forget them. The underlying message is, though, that the pattern of problems can be broken, and that even though darker times might be coming, lighter ones will follow them. Autumn is the story.
Winter: Tori Amos – Winter
This is a classic song from remarkable singer-songwriter Tori Amos, and the only song in this list that is overtly connected to its season. ‘Winter’ is a beautiful song dedicated to Amos’ father. She sings about her journey to adulthood through a personal narrative and words from the perspective of her father. Winter in this case is an obvious metaphor. Sung in Amos’ sweetest and most fragile voice, accompanied by her subliminal piano playing, ‘Winter’ is a gut-wrenching song suited to cold and melancholic nights spent in front of a fireplace.
Bonus: Insomnium – Lay of the Autumn
Yes, I introduced this article with the promise of a foursome of songs, but I can’t help but include ‘Lay of the Autumn’ in this list as a bonus, as it encompasses all seasons in one. It’s a dark and brooding song overall, which is achieved through down-tuned and grand melodies married with gravel-like vocals by Sevänen. The heavy bits are contrasted with lovely and sweet couplets sung by Jules Näveri, who sings of a spring that awakens the earth after a long slumber. Sevänen quickly takes over and describes how “summer’s dreams are bent” and “autumn’s songs are made of loss”, after which he sings about the “silver [that] crowns the land.” It’s a song with a warming beginning and a coldening progression.
As music goes, I believe that this is quite a varied list for a very varied collection of seasons. It is, as you have seen, a personal list of songs, and could be completely unfitting in your regard. I therefore hope that you might be tempted to share your own list of seasonal music in a reply under this article. I look forward to your lists.