A playlist curated from the staff at Country Club Christian Church to welcome 2022.
“Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin (Mike Graves)— “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin has always spoken to me because of its painful reminder that how a father treats his kids could be how they end up treating him, and the ripple effect would continue down through the generations. I vowed long ago that whereas my father had been an absent one, that would not be true of me with my kids. I’m happy to report the “curse” is broken, if you want to call it that. The song, for all of its brokenness reminds me that a new start is always possible, and at any time of the year.
“You Got To Go (Owsey Remix)” by Above & Beyond (Paul Cutelli) “This is how it all begins, move your feet… you’ve got to choose a direction and when the moment is right for you, you got to go.” Nothing quite makes me think of a ‘journey’ quite like this song. A great chillstep-style remix.
“Molokai on my Mind” by Blayne Asing (Dan Warneke) In the song, Blayne talks about longing to return to the island of Molokai. It is a location that he knows and loves, but specifically, it’s a place that brings him emotional and spiritual solace. Whether it’s literal or metaphorical, I think we all benefit from having our own “Molokai”– a place to reset and rediscover the simple joy of living.
“The Light of a Clear Blue Morning” by Dolly Parton (Tulley Beard) This song appeared on my recommended songs after a particularly hard time in my life. Sobbing in my car as I could feel all the sorrow wash away and be replaced with hope and joy. Dolly Parton always knows what to say.
“Life Goes On” by BTS (Tulley Beard) Though the majority of this song is in Korean, the emotion and message behind the song is loud and clear. Even though the world has been turned upside down, new norms are being established and we are learning to carry on in this endemic. It’s a song about strength and adapting.
“Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen (Tulley Beard) 2020 and 2021 held some of the hardest, most heartbreaking moments we’ve experienced, but we made it through. This hype song inspires me to hit the ground running this year to accomplish more, rest more, travel more, and live life the best ways I can!
“The Smiling Hour” by Sarah Vaughan (Joe Walker) I recently heard Maaza Mengiste recommend the late, great Sarah Vaughan’s The Smiling Hour. Mengiste, originally from Ethiopia, is a professor in New York City. She explained, “Just the title of the song, The Smiling Hour, made me think. Let me see if I can break down this day into small compartments and for this moment, I’m going to be completely free.” I love how Vaughn’s lyric invites us, “Let’s forget all our troubles and sorrows. This is the smiling hour.” I am reminded by the refrain that intentional moments of joy, hope, and peace can sustain us when worries and trials threaten to overwhelm us, “And please never let it go. Don’t let it go.”
“Prairie Wind” by Joy Zimmerman (Joe Walker) Local recording artist Joy Zimmerman has penned, Prairie Wind, a haunting ode to the pioneer women who sacrificed their lives in the nation’s westward expansion. I am drawn to this ballad because there are times when we just have to endure hardship. “In silence we till this rocky soil, The uphill climb of endless toil, Hymns of praise I try to raise, Some day these stones will mark our grave.” Setting aside the politics of colonialization (in which they had little or no voice), pioneer women, like so many other women in other times and places, did the best they could in their circumstances. Carried by the prairie wind, their voices call out to us to do the best we can in our day and time.
“Democracy” by The Lumineers (Lara Schopp) In “Democracy,” one of my favorite bands covers this haunting song by one of my favorite writers, Leonard Cohen. Cohen wrote this piece more than 30 years ago but it’s full of references that could be describing the last couple of years. Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites of the Lumineers layer their signature sound over these words that describe darkness but also hope.
“Be Sweet” by Japanese Breakfast (Tyler Heston) Michelle Zauner— or “Japanese Breakfast,” her indie band moniker— has been one of my favorite artists for years, and one of the best parts of 2021 has been seeing her shine. This year, Zauner not only released a critically acclaimed album (Jubilee— check it out!), she also released a spectacular soundtrack for a video game, published a book that was on the NYT Bestsellers list for most of the year, and said “yes” to a movie deal to turn that book, her memoir Crying in H-Mart, into a film. “Be Sweet,” the first single from Jubilee, is an upbeat pop song that was an escape for me this year from all of the confusing and challenging parts of 2021. Plus, the music video is X-Files themed, which is my favorite.
“God is Alive, Magic is Afoot” by Chris Thile (Tyler Heston) The first live concert I saw this year was The Punch Brothers, an artist I’ve always admired but never closely followed. During the show, the lead of the band and renown fiddlist Chris Thile played a few songs of his own, including a cover of this Buffy Sainte-Marie song. It’s a haunting song that’s full of hope and faith and magic and has followed me around throughout the year since.