Tracks of the Decade: “White Winter Hymnal” by Fleet Foxes


fleetfoxes“White Winter Hymnal”
by Fleet Foxes
from FLEET FOXES (2008)

 

Fleet Foxes made a huge impact towards the end of the decade, largely because of the purity of their artistic vision. With all the policy wonks talking “green” initiative and necessity, the global community seemed to have adopted a sort of benevolent pragmatism toward the mountains, rivers, and valleys around us. For Fleet Foxes though, the natural order is a sacred thing, a temple not made by human hands. In “White Winter Hymnal”, one envisions the band filling mother nature with her own organic sounds. The forest seems to come alive as Robin Pecknold ends the lyric’s first run through, wildflowers suddenly bursting into bloom at the mere mention of summertime. It would seem then that Fleet Foxes sing a message transcendental, far beyond the inter-generational utilitarianism of our day. In the eyes of Pecknold and company, nature’s value is limitless because humanity gains its humanity in communion with the great outdoors. In this way, “White Winter Hymnal” is Fleet Foxes two-minute manifesto, a bold declaration made in word-snapshot enveloped by the band’s joyfully escapist sound. As a song, it is gloriously indispensable. As a sound, “White Winter Hymnal” is what it means to be alive.

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