I recently discovered that the two words “founder” and “flounder” mean the same thing. “Flounder,” is often relegated to top 10 lists of ugliest fishes, and “founder,” is a surprisingly good Michael Keaton movie. Yet, in a beautifully harmonious moment that only happens every so often in the arcane world of wordplay, they both mean something sinking. It was amusing to me that those two words, a world apart in meaning but only one vertical line away in spelling, end up meaning the same thing. The complexity is so particular, but it can be wielded so easily.
I think that music in winter functions in much the same way for me. Its context reigns supreme, elevating some songs to my own personal pantheon of winter melodies. Such is the case with Billie Eilish’s superb single, “come out and play.” The tenderness of her voice elevates over a simple beat with a delicate beauty. The backing vocals and ending crescendo add some size to the song, but the smallness is what sticks. Each time she says “quiet,” or “don’t hide,” she lets us in to a world of intimacy.
The fitting album cover is an idyllic winter carnival, warmth in the coldness. As we fly into December, it’s worth pausing there. Take in the warmth, the vulnerability, the loneliness of the season. I see this single as a great representation of the complexity in winter music – it has a cold environment but offers a warm embrace. It is alone but pleading for company. Listening to this song in the Summer would have an entirely different feeling about it, maybe good for a picnic – just enough growth in the tail end to prick up some people’s ears. Yet, the cold weather outside holds us in and this song is a treat to listen to while we’re here.
Billie Eilish is the young pop phenom of the moment – only sixteen years old, her top three songs on Spotify have racked up over 500,000,000 listens. Her voice, her style, her lyrics all seem to click right now. This single is, of all things, the background to an Apple commercial. She is definitely one to watch as she surely will continue to sell out stadiums and grow as a musician and person. Her EP is on everywhere you can get music (and on her website) and her rush of singles indicate a new album is forthcoming.