Let’s plough through piles of the white stuff, shall we? Yes: it’s snowing all across the UK. You will know this even if you haven’t been outside (or looked out of the window) today, given that your Instagram feed will be chockablock with tastefully filtered photos of icy landscapes that makes you feel all lovely inside. Just push down that tight feeling borne out of concern for global warming – push it down real good.
Plenty of artists through the ages have jumped aboard the proverbial bobsled and steered it all the way to a buzzing grotto of snow-based creativity. Here are 11 of the best.
1. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, ‘Fifteen Feet Of Pure White Snow’
There’s something a bit ‘Tubular Bells’ about this track from the Bad Seeds’ 2001 album ‘No More Shall We Part’; deliberately silly and melodramatic, it finds the band at perhaps their most playful.
2. The Walkmen, ‘While I Shovel the Snow’
Deeply romantic, this latter-day Walkmen song is about as far from the delirious hedonism of their hit ‘The Rat’ as could be. It’s innocent, sweet and as delicate as a melting snowflake.
3. Black Sabbath, ‘Snowblind’
What do you mean, this song isn’t about snow?
4. Kings of Leon, ‘Velvet Snow’
If this propulsive guitar track – taken from the Followills’ excellent, arty second album ‘Aha Shake Heartbreak’ – were a snowstorm, it would be a lashing blizzard that makes you giddy with excitement. Of course, it’s not a snowstorm – it’s a song – but the effect is much the same.
5. Bon Iver, ‘Blindsided’
Back when he was just a heartbroken dude with an acoustic guitar in a cabin in the woods, before superstardom and rooms at the Ace Hotel beckoned, Bon Iver penned this fragile piece about biking in the snow, which he’s said “is about me almost breaking into the new RCU [Wisconsin and Minnesota Credit Union] building downtown”.
6. Billie Holiday, ‘I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm’
Ah, a golden oldie. Lady Day could break your heart with a simple turn of phrase – such was her genius – and indeed she’s best remembered for her melancholy jazz numbers. Billie was a romantic old soul, of that there’s no doubt, and here she’s at her most loved-up, evoking the feeling of being wrapped up inside with the object of your affection, oblivious to the blizzard outside.
7. Kanye West, ‘Coldest Winter’
Sampling Tears For Fears’ ‘Memories Fade’, this track comes from ‘Ye’s divisive album ‘808s & Heartbreaks’, which found the rapper – in the wake of a break-up and the death of his mother – explore darker subjects than usual. “Will I ever love again?” he asks. Well, he and wife Kim Kardashian’s family just appeared on the game show Family Fortunates, so there’s a happy ending to the tale.
8. Jeezy, ‘Snow Season’
Atlanta rapper Jeezy, who also goes by the nickname The Snowman, takes a less introspective approach to snow-based hip-hop, promising: “Cock ya Glock Jagged or trippin’ / We knock his ass out the box”. It may only be February, Jeezy, but Santa is listening – and he doesn’t like what he hears.
9. Elliot Smith, ‘Angel in the Snow’
A lesser-loved, yet brilliant song from the late songwriter, this is an acoustic ballad that sees the narrator imagine lying down beside a loved one in the snow and basking in their beauty.
10. Fleet Foxes, ‘White Winter Hymnal’
The band’s songwriter Robin Pecknold has revealed that this song is about the time his pals abandoned him when they were children. Well, he’s in a famous band now. Robin, you had the last laugh.
11. Laura Marling, ‘Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)’
We’ve argued before that Laura Marling is Britain’s most important songwriter – don’t @ us – and this could well be exhibit A: a plaintive, sparse stunner in which Marling sings, “I never love England more than when covered in snow.” You’re not alone there, Laura.