With this year’s surprisingly warm, sans-snow winter in Upstate New York, it’s odd to be reminded of last year’s freezing winter by this snow on the ground in April. Rochester native and singer-songwriter Susanna Rose does just that, however, with her latest album Snowbound. With a title like Snowbound, it’s no question that this album will bring back those peaceful winter tunes we all know and love, such as “Once Upon a December” or “Winter Wonderland.” As Snowbound was released on Nov. 22, 2015, the album’s release is far enough away for listeners to have overlooked—but not have completely forgotten—the frigidly cold winter season.
“This album was written during and inspired by Rochester’s coldest winter ever, the winter of 2015,” Rose said.
The songs’ lyrics emphasize that winter motif, especially in the titular song “Snowbound.” Rose sings, “It’s a cold night out there/So come on in/And let’s pretend/ We don’t know how this ends, we don’t know how this ends.” So many of us don’t wish to dwell on the winter snow and harsh winds—it’s much nicer to go indoors, bundle up in warm sweaters next to a fire and drink a hot chocolate, just as Rose suggests.
Although the other songs on the album aren’t quite so apparently winter-themed as “Snowbound” is, the mellow acoustic guitar—mixed with Rose’s soulful voice—create an alluring type of dream pop music that is ever-present throughout Snowbound. Developed in the 1980s, dream pop is like alternative rock, except its emphasis is on creating a more ethereal and dream-like sound. Dream pop is the type of music a person would play while trying to lull into a sleep—or while trying to warm up from a cold hike in the snow.
Snowbound’s plethora of songs are a perfect depiction of dream pop. It is especially apparent in “Lullaby,” a three-minute song that discusses nature and how Rose simply wants to “catch” the sky’s snow. “Lullaby” ends perfectly with, “So goodnight, my dear/Sleep tight” to finish off the dream pop vibe to Rose’s album.
The background music to “Lullaby” is also very hypnotic and airy, as if listeners truly could “sleep tight” while listening to it. “Separate Ways” promises an OK future of dreams, too, as in “Lullaby”—because right now, Rose’s dreams are ‘unsettling.’
That otherworldly quality is apparent in the other tracks of Snowbound. Though these songs don’t quite have the same emphasis on snow and nature like “Lullaby” and “Snowbound,” they do mention these qualities, such as in “Ancient History.” In “Ancient History,” Rose discusses how one can’t always just sit on a porch drinking lemonade—you’ve got to face reality, because there is a brevity to nice weather that people have to accept.
This idea of nice weather being short becomes a symbol of the transient nature of happiness in the other songs on the album. Rose explores harsh, yet relatable topics that people face in their lives; “Old Broken Heart” showcases the pain of having someone you love fall in love with someone else, while “Working Girl” explores the disenchantment that comes with having a job that leaves you feeling only tired and empty.
“Don’t fear that the good times won’t last,” Rose sings in the song “Benediction.” “Because you know of course they can’t.”
And she’s right. The good weather will not last, and neither do picture-perfect times. But with ethereal music like Snowbound, one can have something to listen to and enjoy while it’s snowing outside or while life seems to be crumbling beneath you.