Songs for SAD times (2) – Tuning January

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on

Picking up my blog post from last week, I wanted to extend my playlist for ‘SAD’ times… The weather today is suitably ‘SAD’: grey; heavy. Not surprising, as it is January after all… I’ve noticed a few Facebook posts this week about how January seems to go on and on. In fact, I didn’t know that this is actually a real thing, reflected in our culture. So, for example, January’s bad is given artistic expression in a rich moody track by the Norwegian Espen Eriksen Trio (featuring on their eponymous album); in an edgy rap by Josh A; and in a defiant poem by William Carlos Williams, to name a few. So, in honour of January’s ‘chromatic fifths of derision’ (thank you William Carlos Williams – see above…), here are some attempts to tune away those chromaticisms, and bring in some harmony – both musical and metaphorical – to the discordant January blues. Enjoy!

Pēteris Vasks – Plainscapes (17 lyrical minutes of strings and choir, by Latvian composer Vasks; the video also includes nice drone footage of the Latvian, I presume, countryside.)

Re:Mission Choir – ‘It is to You’ (A great find, this: it was a favourite song of my late-teenage years. Soaring Gospel, with an awesome key change that I spent ages as a 17-year old trying to work out in my head… .)

On the Nature of Daylight (Entropy) (Max Richter’s lovely and justly famous anti-war work from the protest CD ‘The Blue Notebooks’, given in an evocative B and W film. The film is moving for its notes of melancholy, community, humanity, and peace.)

Cucurucu (I really love this song by Nick Mulvey, with a thoughtful message that speaks to feelings of not belonging).

The Blessing – Reimagined (An absolutely brilliant comedy parody of the UK version of ‘The Blessing’, a song which did the rounds on YouTube during the first lockdown. This spoof was done in love; but out of respect for the churches who took part, I urge you to also watch the great original, which is here!)

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