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Songs of Spring 2024

By Callum Foulds

Spring has come! Join us as Erato Magazine writer Callum Foulds unveils the best songs for the season.

Photo: Callum Foulds

Springtime: the season of rebirth, greenery, lighter nights, exhaling after the oppressive darkness of late winter, lambs, and every weather system imaginable. Spring is a complicated season, a deceiving one at that. Gazing from the window, you would be forgiven that due to the sun’s anticipated arrival blooming in full force thinking it is as equally warm as it would suggest. Up until mid-May, in the UK at least, this is usually not the case. As I write this it is a bitterly cold six degrees Celsius, the wind roaring down the streets, the sun brightly beaming down. It is this image I have attempted to capture in Erato Magazine’s: Songs for Spring 2024 playlist; an overarching beauty is awarded to all it can touch, yet there is an absolute, though quiet winter brutality that lurks around every corner. As I said, it is a complicated season; however, within the playlist, I have brought together songs in an attempt to make sense of the period myself, perhaps helping you do so also.

‘Bryter Layter’ by Nick Drake

Photo: Island Records

Before summer ferocity breaks through, spring jaunts through the streets, teasing what we’ve just come from, and the deliciousness that awaits. Nick Drake’s, ‘Bryter Layter’ captures this perfectly. It is a lounge-folk instrumental, comprised of whimsical flutes, warm tickling of the guitar, and swaying strings. It is the moment blossom begins to bloom, when leaves begin to bud, when daffodils sprout in all their technicolour. It is a very sweet moment, one that doesn’t show everything at once, echoing the trepidation of the first weeks of the season.

‘Spring Is Coming With A Strawberry In The Mouth’ by Caroline Polachek

Photo: Perpetual Novice

Caroline Polachek expertly traverses this rendition of Operating Theatre’s 2006 song, ‘Spring Is Coming With A Strawberry In The Mouth’. She contains has the effortless sweep of a voice that can convey the unknowable state of spring: the lyrics “There’s so many things I want/But mainly, and like everybody/I want to be loved”; a summation of the bittersweet melody of the season, of the in-betweenness felt caused by unpredictable temperatures, too far and few between flashes of sunlight, storm-clouds, and blasts of billowing gales. The song is an exquisite interpretation of the incomprehensible states you often find yourself in during the period.

‘Avril 14th’ by Aphex Twin

Photo: Aphex Twins & Warp

Personally, when I begin to hear mention of the impending season, I cannot help but be reminded of this song. Perhaps it is the river-flow-like rhythm of the piano, or the fact that just under ten days before “Avril” 14th is my birthday, for me, the moment of spring. However it is more likely because April 14th lands in the very middle of the season. ‘Avril 14th’ evokes the scene of a cold spring evening, yearning because of the seemingly warmer weather to be outside, lounging with a bottle of wine under the sun, taking complete advantage of the longer days and shorter nights. It captures the springtime melancholy, something that often gets overlooked since appearing after the crushing blackness of deep winter.

‘Little Green’ by Joni Mitchell

Photo: Reprise

T.S. Eliot said, “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain”. Despite my propensity for the melancholy, I can’t help but feel that Eliot was a little pessimistic with his outlook on spring. Often, the season can be the amalgamation of what beauty the natural world is capable of. Of course, things can never be perfect or idyllic all the time, but I think it is important to lean into the positives whenever possible. Joni Mitchell’s, ‘Little Green’ encapsulates this: detailing the child Mitchell gave up for adoption with painful delicacy, “So you write him a letter and say “Her eyes are blue”/He sends you a poem and she’s lost to you”; before concluding with affirmation that although the circumstances appear to be marred with nothing but tragedy, happiness can sometimes only be attained through sacrifice, “So you sign all the papers in the family name/You’re sad and you’re sorry, but you’re not ashamed/Little Green, have a happy ending”. It is a strong sentiment, one that I think particularly resonates with the season, marking new beginnings after moments of despondency.

‘Unison’ by Björk

Photo: One Little Independent & Elektra

The final evocation of spring I have chosen to talk about is one of my favourite songs of all time; ‘Unison’ by Björk. The final track from 2001’s Vespertine, is a soaring masterpiece that sits directly at the heart of her discography. I chose to include it here as it always calls to mind the relationship us humans have with the world around us: I think of the ways in which we have a history of altering our behaviours and patterns depending on what the world shows us; “Let’s unite tonight/We shouldn’t fight/Embrace you tight/Let’s unite”. Perhaps I am finding material where there isn’t any, but I cannot help but draw out the symbolic nature of the song and place it in a further context of how we relate to our environment. ‘Unison’ encourages us to, not only embrace those around us, but the world in which we live. Being at one with our surroundings helps nourish our relationships with ourselves. The second verse expresses this perfectly; “I thrive best hermit style/With a beard and a pipe/And a parrot on each side/But now I can’t do this without you”; leaning firmly into the notion that although we may recede by nature, we thrive amongst the fellow living universe.

I find Spring difficult. I see it as a period of transition, something that isn’t quite one thing or the other. It marks the beginning of everything, and never at other points in the year are you reminded so much of the circle of life that resides within everything. This can be reassuring, as well as terrifying - my own feelings fall somewhere in between. Despite the perpetual ebb and flow of these anxieties, I find solace in examining the unique disposition of the season, awarding me with the knowledge of the possibilities of multiplicity, the sheer scale of beauty in which the world is capable of achieving.

Photo: Callum Foulds


About the Writer:

Callum Foulds is a poet and recording artist based in Nottingham, England. They enjoy good food, scary movies and playing with their cat. They can often be found reading on the couch, or agonising over whatever creative venture they are currently embarking on. @cf_oulds

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