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I'm Clifford Stumme, and I use literary analysis and research to explain the deeper meanings of pop songs. Feel free to leave a comment or to email me at clifford@popsongprofessor.com with questions or ideas!

What does "Dear Winter" by AJR mean?

What does "Dear Winter" by AJR mean?

“Dear Winter” Lyrics Meaning

Ryan Met shared in a brief video on the band’s twitter account that he wrote “Dear Winter” while he was going through a really difficult time, and he had been worried that only people in that place would connect with the song. He was happy to see that so many people have connected with it, and that even those who aren’t in that dark place have found a special place in their hearts for “Dear Winter.”

“Winter, it won’t be long”

“Dear Winter” was written in a dark period of Ryan’s life, and it must have been very therapeutic to write. It shares the fears of becoming a father one day to a child he would name Winter, along with the hopes. It is a song filled with uncertainty. Despite the fears confessed here, the song has an uplifting tone. The fears are confessed, and trumped by the faith he demonstrates in one day finding the woman who will be the mother of his children. No matter how impossible it looks now, he tells his future child: “Winter, it won’t be long.”

Verse 1

Dear Winter, I hope you like your name

I hope they don't make fun of you

When you grow up and go to school, okay?

'Cause Winter is a bad**s name

Dear Winter, I hope you talk to girls

Or boys or anyone you like

I just hope you don't stay in every night

'Cause I wish I was out tonight

The first verse addresses his future child and he shares his hope that they will “like [their] name.” He hopes that his child will take steps to connect with people, an area where he has trouble in. He “just hope[s] [he] [doesn’t] stay in every night / ‘Cause [he] wish[es] [he] was out tonight.” He hopes his child doesn’t struggle where he has, but that instead he would surpass his father.

Verse 2

Dear Winter, I hope you like this song

And even when you're 13

And you scream at me for parenting you wrong

I hope it's still a bad**s song

Again, he shares his hopes for his future child. This time, his hopes are for a relationship with Winter. He hopes that even when Winter is 13, and “scream[s] at [him] for parenting wrong,” that this song still means something in all its hopefulness and love for his child. He hopes that his child will understand his love, even before he had met Winter.

Verse 3

Dear Winter, don't move too far away

And please don't say I'm hovering

When I text you to ask about your day

I wanna hear about your day

He looks even further into the life of his future child and wishes for a close relationship. He wants to be able to “text to ask about [Winter’s] day”, because “[he] [wants] [to] hear about [Winter’s] day,” and keep in touch with his child. He doesn’t want Winter to “move too far away” or ever think he’s “hovering.” He wants to be close with his son or daughter even after they grow up and move out and don’t need him like they used to. He refers to this in one of the changed choruses when he asks, “Will we still hang out and talk when I’m no longer in charge?” This question showcases the hopeful and vulnerable attitude of the song: optimistic uncertainty.

Chorus

It really doesn't seem like there's anyone for me

But dear Winter, I hope you like your name

[Chorus 1 lyric]: I’m hoping that someday, I can meet you on this Earth

[Chorus 2 lyric]: I hope you let me take a shot with you on your 21st

You know I cannot wait to teach you how to curse

But s**t I gotta meet your mom first

[Chorus 2 lyric]: But shit, you gotta ask your mom first

In this version of the chorus, he returns to the present and confesses that “it doesn’t really seem like there’s anyone for [him].” Finding someone to marry feels far away for him in this moment, but he holds on to the belief that he will be a father one day, however things look now and he “hope[s] [Winter] like[s]” their name. He can’t wait to “teach [his child] how to curse”, or “take a shot with [them] on [their] 21st,” but before that he tells Winter he has to “meet your mom first.”

Outro

Dear Winter, I'm looking for your mom

I gotta find a girl that doesn't mind that I'm inside my head a lot

Winter, it won't be too long

First, I just gotta find your mom

The outro shifts focus from his future child to his future wife. He tells Winter that before he has a child, he has to find his child’s mother. He’s “looking for [Winter’s] mom.” He needs the right person; “a girl that doesn’t mind that [he’s] inside [his] head a lot.” Even though he hasn’t found this woman yet, he promises Winter that “it won’t be long” before they meet. But before that, he has “just gotta find [Winter’s] mom,” implying that he has faith he will find the right woman to start a family with soon.

Deeper Meaning of “Dear Winter” by AJR

“Dear Winter” is an authentic song that likely comes from a place of fear of ever finding your future spouse and starting a family. Ryan doesn’t leave us in that fear, even though he expresses it. He persists in the beautiful faith that he will start a family one day and have a child and a wife. The faith in the love of a family he has not yet met carries him through the current pain. We can learn from the way Ryan honestly looks at his life in “Dear Winter”, confessing his fears and pain without shame and still choosing to believe in the truth of a hopeful future in spite of those fears.

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