It’s mid-February 2021. No, folks, we can't quite believe it either...

If you’re anything like us, even through the disbelief, you’ll be pleased (and perhaps slightly relieved) that it is now light in the evening beyond 5 o'clock, and light in the morning before 7. Fun fact: from the shortest day on 21 December, the daylight increases by 2 minutes and 7 seconds a day...

As a miniature celebration of the days getting longer (and if you so desire...), you could join us in singing along with the chorus of ‘7 seconds’ and the beautiful voices of Neneh Cherry and Youssou N’Dour. Okay, it’s a stretch (we know), but it is a beautiful song, sung in English, French and Wolof - the language of the Wolof people in Senegal, Gambia and Mauritania. It might also be music to fit the current, fairly sombre, mood. But don't get too down... you'll also be listening to MTV Europe's best song of 1994:

It’s definitely a pensive song at the very least. Waiting, as the lyrics say. As we all still currently are...

Our quiet satisfaction at the lengthening days is partly a feature of pandemic; we notice the small things much more as the mundane is magnified. A song of waiting might be positive and optimistic for us, or might be sombre, reflective, even halted. The same piece of music can sometimes make us feel one thing, and sometimes another, depending on our circumstances or even just how we feel at that given moment. Sometimes music makes us happy and sometimes sad (sometimes both!), and both are fine - even necessary - as long as we find some balance... which is obviously crucial as we strive to maintain our mental wellbeing, and our stability, in such unpredictability.

Musical balance in the joy of knowing others might lead us to 'I Feel Good' (James Brown) and 'Yesterday' (Beatles). The first is a reflection of the happiness of finding a new partner, the second exists because you’ve lost them.


Musical balance might also reflect our environment... Yorkshire’s been full of snow for the last week or so, and here are some contrasting snow scenes. If you have a pony and trap to hand, Leroy Anderson’s Sleigh Ride will do you well.


On the other hand, the third movement of Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony always seems to sound like a bleak, cold, snowy landscape…


Finally, have a listen to '3 hour drive' by Alicia Keys and Sampha:


Keys and Sampha are singing the same lyrics (you can find them here - Alicia Keys - 3 Hour Drive Lyrics | AZLyrics.com), but they’re singing about different things... and from very different emotional places. She’s singing about the excitement of driving towards her newborn child, he’s singing about the weight of the death of his mother.

How we listen to, use and think about music – how we receive the message – where we find ourselves mentally, is the most important thing of all.