Sunday, March 06, 2005

"Your Winter" by Sister Hazel

Ah, one of those bands that flashed brightly for about a year then receded back into relatively obscurity. I love this song because it's an unapologetic apology, the words tell about a guy who is sorry for hurting a girl, and he loves her, but won't be responsible for any addition pain she causes herself. This song came into my life at a very relevant time and it has stuck with me. The chord progression is simple, the verses are in G major I-V-vi-IV, the vocals are gut wrenching and would make a classical vocalist cringe as the singer puts all the tension he's feeling into his throat. It's an effective device, as the emotion is heartfelt, like someone who is tired of hearing their best friend complain. The arrangement is interesting, as we begin with simple acoustic guitar for the first verse. We repeat the progression 4 times per verse. We slowly add more and more instruments. The second verse adds an electric guitar, bass and drum backing. The electric just strums out the chords, the bass simply beats out the root of the chord and the drums use the simple Bm-chk, bm-bm-chk pattern. This leads to our bridge, a transitional section, where we add more density with keyboard. This section is 4 measures, with the progression going I-V-IV-V ending on a half cadence, building suspense to the chorus. The chorus puts all the emotion into it, as everything comes crashing into it. It's a repeated section, since we have no real cadential points, the progression is I-V-ii-IV followed by I-V-vi-IV. This is repeated twice, as are the lyrics of the section, with only the final words being changed. On the final time through we have an interest omission, we end on the vi chord, leaving the end dangling and we return to the verse. We calm down in the third verse, dropping back the dynamic. We build tension in the bridge again and come crashing to the chorus again. After this chorus we come to the solo portion, we the key is ambiguous and we end back on a half cadence right before the final verse and we add even more density as strings join in. This string section completely fills out whatever could have been sparse about the piece. We chorus twice, but instead of finally finishing on the tonic, which we would expect since we've avoided it for the entire song, we leave on that minor vi chord. I think this adds an entirely new dimension to the piece, as some times even our more earnest pleas aren't answered, and not everything is resolved at the end. I don't know if that's what Sister Hazel was planning, but this is how I interpret it. I think of it as a message, that even when you're trying to help someone, nothing can happen unless they want it to change.

"I said I'm sorry but what for?
If I hurt you than I hate myself.
I don't wanna hate myself, don't wanna hurt you
Why do you choose your pain
if you only knew how much I love you, love you..."
-These are the end of the second verse going into the bridge, especially meaningful to me.

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