Week 34: “Dynamite Walls” by Hayden

In an earlier post (this one) I declared Sarah Harmer’s song “Lodestar” to be the official song of lazy summer afternoons at the cottage. But winter cottaging is underrated. A bit like the winter Olympics, winter cottaging is overshadowed by its more popular summer counterpart.

Arguments in favour of winter cottaging include hot chocolate enjoyed by a fireplace, the complete silence that happens when the countryside is covered in snow, and the novelty of skating on a spot where you swam just a few months earlier.

So if you get the chance this winter, give winter cottaging a try. And bring this song with you.

What makes this a beautiful song:

1. The many layers of guitar that open the song. Hayden loves adding track after track of guitar, none of them doing anything particularly difficult. It really gives you the feeling that he sat in his room recording various takes, and then couldn’t decide which one to use, and so used them all.

2. The cottage-country imagery. Hayden does a great job of capturing the slow and wonderful transition from urbanity to nature that happens as you drive out of the city. “City lights / turn to treelines /  and National Park signs”, he croons in his trademarked Canadian mumble. The song’s title is a reference to northern Ontario highways that were blasted through granite; to a cottage-goer in Hayden’s native province, the first bits of granite are a sure sign that you’re almost there.

3. The build-up that begins around the 5-minute mark is the closest Hayden will ever come to cranking his guitar. But of course, that makes it all the more effective. Gentle, acoustic-loving Hayden going loud, even for just a moment, is the musical equivalent to Bill Cosby dropping an f-bomb into a comedy routine. Startling, but surprisingly satisfying.

Recommended listening activity:

Cleaning up the cottage on New Year’s morning.

Buy it here.