The winter seems to be playing havoc in the north of India and in most parts of the western world. And as I write this, most of Europe is experiencing up to minus forty-five degrees Celsius temperatures. Now while most of us are envying the cold weather, it is not a happy situation when one’s flights and trains get cancelled, hampering travel plans etc.
But all said and done, the cold can be quite inspiring as well, as one has seen through the ages of music. Today let me pull out a few songs that best capture the spirit and element of frigidity and the element of chill, so that maybe you, a constant listener, who does not experience such weather in your part of the world, might be compelled to give them a listen and feel at ease.
Cold Irons Bound – Bob Dylan 1997 : Just when we thought Dylan was over, he slapped us in the face with Time Out Of Mind, an album that gave us back a bit of the Dylan we once knew. And what a song this is, chilling to the bone, with some great production by Daniel Lanois. Almost a companion piece to Visions of Johanna, yet still a stand-alone masterpiece.Winter – Tori Amos 1992 : Little Earthquakes remains one of the most amazing albums ever and one of my all-time female favourites. This song opens the album and sets the entire chilling tone that will permeate the rest of the songs, however warm they appear to be.
Cold As Ice – Foreigner 1977 : From their eponymous debut album, this is one of their biggest hits, and remain one of their best known songs to this day. One of the first foreigner songs I ever heard and before they went pop in the mid-eighties, their first four albums remain their best. Check out the groovy guitar solo.
The Unforgettable Fire – U2 1984 : From the album of the same name, and yes I heard this album before U2 went supernova with The Joshua Tree, and luckily, I was evolved enough to not get swayed by that juggernaut. Although the title has no ‘cold’elements, it remains a slicingly cool piece of stellar composition. Listen to it and imagine a cold dark night, with a thin layer of frost on empty highways.
Hurt – Johnny Cash 2002 : The Man in Black’s cover of the excellent Nine Inch Nails song, together with the video remains one of the most underrated sonic and visual visceral experiences, in my opinion. And incidentally, the house in which the video was shot, and was Johnny Cash’s home for more than thirty years, burnt down in 2007. This version chills my blood, every time.
Now, although I have been able to speak of only five songs here due to space constraints, I will just mention a few more so that you may seek them out and find more of your own accord. Why – Annie Lennox; Don’t fear the reaper – Blue Oyster Cult; ‘Blue Valentines – Tom Waits; You’ve made me the thief of your heart – Sinead O’Connor; and Vienna – Ultravox.
Should it ever come to pass, I would love to play you these songs and many more in such a thematic session, but till then, here are but a tiny fraction of songs, in the hope of more to be extricated from the vast ocean that exists out there. Play on…if I may say so.