It's surely a sorry state of affairs when, every year in the depths of winter, the hopes of a nation turn to burden the shoulders of a single groundhog: Poor Punxsutawney Phil, who's afraid of his own shadow. It's a sorrier situation still when — as he did this year — that scaredy-cat groundhog piles on, predicting an even longer season of bitterly short days.
That's why we at All Things Considered have resorted to extraordinary measures — music.
[Note: You need to be logged in to a Spotify account to stream the playlist. You can sign up free here.]
Now 90 songs strong, our Cabin Fever Playlist has been cobbled together from your near-countless suggestions. We've curated the list to combat those well-known foes that lurk in the season: The aches of shoveling the stoop, the cancellations of school days and, the causes of it all, those Technicolor monsters terrorizing weather radar maps.
Whatever they may be, these downers are no match for the right song played at just the right time. Ask Michele Pertle of Pennsylvania, who found herself escaping sub-zero temperatures in a convenience store. As she and other shoppers waited in line, Earth, Wind & Fire's "Let's Groove" piped in over the loud speakers.
"I watched as one by one everyone around started to dance — all unconsciously at first. People started to look around and realized what was happening — sort of like a spontaneous flash mob."
Kathy Lear of Great Falls, Mont., is no stranger to the grays of winter. She found her own go-to song while she was on the road, listening to "Jailhouse Rock" by Elvis and "butt-dancing" alone in her car. (Note: Butt-dance — [verb] to dance while seated and seat-belted in your car, grooving only from the waist up.)
The thing is, Kathy was not quite so alone as she'd thought. She says, "I received a pantomime marriage proposal from a gentleman driving another car in the lane next to me."
But alas, this star-crossed love was not to be. "I was already married, so [I] had to decline his offer. It was the first and only proposal I received while butt-dancing to a favorite tune."
Still 30 days from the end of winter, it's time for us all to turn to heavy-hitters such as these. That's why we've listened to your suggestions — and delighted in your stories — and put together this ready-made cure for cabin fever.
Consider it your "Break Glass in Case of Winter Malaise" playlist, a lifesaver to see you through till the first flowers spring free. Forget that sorry groundhog: Just keep listening, and keep your songs coming.