Snow Sounds 

A soundtrack to thaw your winter thoughtsicles

From the moment the first wet, white flakes begin to fill Idaho skies, winter activities--both the outdoor, recreational types and the tedious, sludgy kinds--are at full steam. Whether you're kicking it indoors or out during these upcoming cold months, the right tunes can help time move faster, crank the fun level up a notch or act as the perfect companion when you're home alone, wallowing in self-pity and gulping eggnog straight from the carton.

Songs for the dreaded task of shoveling snow.

1."Snowball" by Devo. A kicky little pop tune.  

2."Snowballed" by AC/DC. This one rocks so hard, it may melt the snow for you.

3."Snowman" by XTC. This song is about feeling the cold sting of indifference. Snow doesn't care about you either.

4."Snowbound" by Arch Enemy. A flying-V-guitar-heavy instrumental that will transport you to the snowcapped alps of this band's homeland.

5."Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor. OK, this one doesn't have snow in the title, but you can revel in the arm-pumping Rocky moment when you scoop that last bit of heavy wet stuff. Job well done.

Songs/Albums for driving over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house that will make you long for your family's snide comments just to make the music stop.

1. American Idol runner-up Elliott Yamin's sexed-up My Kind of Holiday (2008). The kid can sing, but one of the tracks on the album is titled "Back Door Santa" (what the what?) and his version of "Jingle Bells" is barely recognizable.

2. Holiday Magic (2009) by Britain's Got Talent child phenom Connie Talbot. The kid will probably be outstanding in a few years, but for now, it's all too contrived. Plus, she looks undressed on the cover. Ewww.

3. Another Britain's Got Talent runner-up, Susan Boyle, sings "Silent Night" on her debut release I Dreamed a Dream out later this month. Isn't her 15 minutes of fame over yet?

4. And Winter Came (2008), yet another release by the ephemeral Enya.

5. Bob Dylan's Christmas in the Heart (2009). "O' Come All Ye Faithful" is particularly difficult to stomach.

6. Elvis Presley Christmas Duets (2008), an album on which the likes of Martina McBride, Carrie Underwood, Gretchen Wilson and Olivia Newton-John sing with The King. No wonder reports of Elvis sightings linger. No one will let the man rest in peace.

Songs by bands with Smith in their name to throw on a holiday mix tape for your girlfriend that will warm her heart while letting her know that you totally get her but don't support consumer-driven holiday bullshit.

1. Anything by The Cure's Robert Smith. Even that song "Close to Me." Handclaps can be serious sometimes. Seriously awesome.

2. Anything by The Smiths. Mix tapes were invented as a place to showcase your favorite quirky Morrissey tunes. His light will never go out, always keep that in mind.

3. Anything by Elliott Smith. Dude was not merely a tourist in sadtown. And your lady probably scrawled tearful figure 8's on her binder circa 2000.

Songs to keep you company on your long walk Back from the bar on Christmas night after you angrily stormed out on your bickering family and are contemplating where to rest your weary, spiced rum-clouded head.

1. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's "It's You and Me and the Bottle Makes Three Tonight." When you need a little yuletide company, you can always depend on your good friend Jack. Or Johnny. Or that one foreign exchange student you used to keep in touch with but haven't e-mailed in five years, Jagermeister.

2. Willie Nelson's "Walkin'." Because, as the song explains, "Walkin' is better than runnin' away / and crawlin' ain't no good at all." That is, unless you're so canned that you've been reduced to crawling, and that's always better than passing out in the snow.

3. The Weakerthans' "Our Retired Explorer (Dines with Michel Foucault in Paris, 1961)." Remember when you told the bartender that a penguin taught you French back in Antarctica? Oui? How embarrassing.

4. John Denver's "Please, Daddy (Don't Get Drunk This Christmas)." Bask in the irony here for a brief second. Then get mad at your family all over again for being a bunch of drunks and passing along the alcoholic gene.

5. Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight." When you see that weeping willow, cryin' on his pillow, stop and have a good cry, too. You deserve it. It is Christmas, after all. And you're drunk and alone.

6. Pearl Jam's "Let Me Sleep." Eddie totally wrote these lyrics for you. He really gets you. Sniff. "Cold wind blows on the soles of my feet / Heaven knows nothing of me / I'm lost, nowhere to go ... Oh, please let me sleep / It's Christmas time."

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