Songs for a Dark Season

These last two months have been really hard. The Christmas standards haven’t really been doing much for me this year, but music has still been a touchstone for me.

Here’s a short playlist of some songs that are speaking to me today. There is a lot of Melissa Etheridge’s album A New Thought for Christmas here, because I’ve basically had it on repeat for all of December.

Winter Song (Sara Bareilles, Ingrid Michaelson)
Let’s start with some melancholy mixed with hope.
I still believe in summer days, the seasons always change, and life will find a way.

O Night Divine (Melissa Etheridge)
This track takes a song I don’t much like, gives it a rock opening and new lyrics about the human need to face “the longest night.” This year I find the climactic statement more defiant than hopeful, but it’s still incredibly powerful.

There’s Still My Joy (Indigo Girls)
The most "Christmas" song here; a song about grief and change. I’ve read so many terrible things in the last month, but also so many stories of hope and love.
One shining light can show the way. For all my tears, for what I’ve lost…

Ring the Bells (Melissa Etheridge, Salman Ahmad)
A call to stand for peace, to work for change.
We’ve all been called to wake from sleep, to feel our power, to create the dream.

Listen to the River (Luka Bloom)
I’ve been fond of this song for years, and it reminds me to stop, breathe and connect to the world.

Light a Light (Melissa Etheridge)
Continuing the theme of hope and change - and choosing love above all.
Write down your excuses, turn them into dust. Plant the seeds of change, and water it with trust.

Home’s With You (Cast of Fun Home)
I’m going to leave you with two selections from Broadway Carols for a Cure benefit albums. First, for everyone who has anguish about family this season, a cheerful song about how “family” can be anyone who loves us.

Light It Up (Martha Wash and the cast of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert)
To leave you on a high note, one of my favorites. This year, it also carries some joyful defiance.
Light it up, Make a scene! We gotta show the world what it could be!