Christmas Song Nr. 3: Valley Winter Song by Fountains of Wayne

Almost as synonymous with the holiday season as Christmas songs is the subgenre of Winter songs, an almost secular alternative to the sometimes overt religious theme of the former. That’s not to say that songs like Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire or Walking in a Winter Wonderland promote christian values, but they are Christmas tunes. Songs about the winter definitely have another vibe and theme which will be evident in later installments on this list and Fountains of Wayne’s Valley Winter Song is no different.

To some the song has become very familiar due to its appearance in seasonal commercials and just recently in the first episode of the new Gilmore Girls Netflix show. This is also how most people know of the band, as one that constantly is played in TV shows and advertising, their brand of inoffensive rock seem to please the ear of most producers. The band, formed in 1995, was always viewed as a less cerebral version of Weezer, a comparison that may be difficult to deny at first listen, but this humble music reporter has always begged to differ. True that the songs of Fountains of Wayne have been more accessible than their more famous counterpart, but the tunes that Adam Schlesinger and Chris Collingwood have turned out have all been little gems being observations of every day life.

Valley Winter Song is no different than the bands other tracks on that score. It soberly looks at how the winter months can drag a person down because of the darkness, the falling snow and the salt and dirt everywhere. It’s an homage to desire, the desire for summer and heat, but also to love between people. A love, that is symbolized through the writing of verse and reminds those who are depressed in winter that a warm body or relationships of any kind might ease us through the darkness.

At first listen Valley Winter Song may appear to be a harmless ditty about winter, perfect for a L.L. Bean commercial, but by reading the lyrics and truly listening to the emotion conveyed it is so much more; that is why it is number three on the Christmas List of Songs.

-Andrew Tobias


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