Norah Jones’ “Wintertime” (co-written with Jeff Tweedy) got the feature treatment on the Broken Record Podcast (Season 3, Ep. 9). It was the first time I had heard the song and it’s probably everything one would hope a Jones/Tweedy collaboration could be. The melody and chord structure are gorgeous, and the lyrics* fit the vibe perfectly. The chorus goes,
I know, I know, I know I’m leaning
I’m leaning on you
It’s hard, I know, I know there isn’t
Much that you can do
I know, I know, I know I’ll make it
I’ll make it through
In the wintertime, there’s a kind of light
I only get from you
The darkness of wintertime, and what (and who) is needed to pull through it, is a powerful metaphor. The words leave several doors open to multiple, personalized meanings. I can certainly see why Malcolm Gladwell is so obsessed with this song.
*There are two lyrical interpretations out there on the internet – listen and tell me, do you hear “kind of light” or “candlelight” in the chorus? I think I could argue for each, but “kind of light” feels more fitting. There’s the sun-dream in the second chorus, the winter/seasonal imagery, and the clear dependence on the life-force of “you” that makes me think “candlelight,” being light from an artificial/man-made source, doesn’t quite fit. While I love the feel of the word “candlelight,” kind of light” just seems to fit the broader narrative better. Weigh in on this, please!