Mix Messages – Lean in Toward the Light

floyd-christmas-2016_6896cmyk2016 was a difficult year for many reasons. I won’t rehash them here, and I imagine everyone has his/her own personal additions to the Master List. The musicians who died in 2016 dimmed a dark year. We mourned Davie Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, Leon Russell, Sharon Jones, and George Michael to name a few. Originally, I planned to craft a mix of seasonal songs featuring the artists we’d lost. The playlist wrote itself. Bowie’s Little Drummer Boy, Last Christmas by George Michael, I believe in Father Christmas by Greg Lake. Sharon Jones had even released her own holiday album, It’s a holiday soul party.

Compiling this playlist only made me melancholy. Did I need to add any more sadness to this year?

Heartbreaking, difficult, inspiring, 2016 contained much of what Glennon Doyle Melton dubbed “bruitful,” how life could be beautiful and brutal simultaneously. Friends demonstrated incredible grace and courage while facing cancer, illnesses, parents’ deaths, divorce. Their honesty and bravery shored each other up, and shone a light for others to follow through the darkness.

Wonderful things happened this year too. On a personal level, friends and cousins had sweet and healthy babies. Extended family gathered for joyous occasions, including a cousin’s epic wedding. What better balm than dancing with loved ones?

The other day I learned of the Danish word “hygge,” contentment in convivial togetherness, the pleasure in simple delights, relishing cozy moments. What a lovely concept for all times, but especially the dark winter months.

Instead of a mix filled with musicians we’ve lost, I decided to make a mix celebrating light. I’ve included Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem.” Tacked to my fridge, the lyrics are a gorgeous reminder to let the light in. “Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

May you let the light in.

Let the Light In Mix is available on Spotify. The library is not endorsing Spotify, there is a free level of membership if you decide to sign up. Click on the song to see the video (I linked to the official video when possible.)

Shine On / The Kooks
Good Days Bad Days / Kaiser Chiefs
Enter Through the Sun / Young Empires
Shine on You / Matisyahu
Big Light / Houses
Cranes in the Sky / Solange
Anthem / Leonard Cohen (This links to a beautiful version of Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen performing at the Sydney Opera House.)
Lean in Toward the Light / Carrie Newcomer
Here Comes the Sun / Beatles
Shine / Elmo
Light it up / Major Lazer


Mix Messages is written by library assistant Heather Armitage. She enjoys reading fiction and humorous essays, traveling, trying new vegetarian recipes, and dancing in the kitchen. She’s grateful her dog, Floyd, doesn’t judge her moves. If you have suggestions for future Mix Messages, please email her at hearmitage@cityofportsmouth.com



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