Contentment. Feeling at peace with yourself and at peace with the world. Loving the one that you’re with, loving the life that you live. It’s not a very rock’n’roll emotion. But ultimately, isn’t it what life’s about? I’ve never understood why your comfort zone is supposed to be a bad place to stay.
So let’s sing a June Hymn to welcome in the day with The Decemberists. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, summer has come to Springville Hill. Flowers garland the lawn: you could fall asleep among them for a couple of hours and Daydream with the Gunter Kallmann Choir.
What will the day bring? Ah, lovely! It’s a Sunday Sunny Mill Valley Groove Day. You can’t go wrong with one of those.
“My heart was so warm, so warm I thought it would melt.” A walk in the park becomes a transcendent experience for Slovenly: “Ingesting the simple things and becoming weak with joy… hallucinating realism.” It’s something to do with being with all those babies.
On the beatific When The World Smiles With You, Andy Hickie hangs out on Bournemouth beach, sips his cider, busks to earn a fiver. He shares smiles and conversation with strangers, and feels at one with humanity.
The Poozies are staying home with a bottle and friend. What more do you need? They’re as happy as those who’ve got thousands or more (but who don’t have Kate Rusby singing harmonies).
Guy Garvey has been drinking with old friends too. Now he’s watching the sunrise with My Sad Captains. “To be here and now and who we are… What a perfect waste of time!”
It’s raining coloured confetti, and the Trashcan Sinatras are having one of their Best Days On Earth. Make the most of it: “The heart is designed to run out of time / There’s no pause or rewind / The transmission’s live.”
But don’t rage against the dying of the light: Al Stewart’s plans for older age are much more appealing. Reading all the books you never got round to, looking at old photo albums, filling up the garage with things you don’t need: evenings with Katherine Of Oregon sound quite delightful.
So does the life of Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War. From the title of a photograph, Paul Simon surreally transports the Belgian painter and his wife to New York. They find perfect happiness through a shared love for 1950s doo-wop – The Penguins and The Moonglows, The Orioles and The Five Satins.
Few find contentment when suffering from advanced lung cancer. Jacques Brel did. In 1974, knowing he didn’t have long to live, he began a round-the-world sailing trip with his lover and daughter. He reached paradise in Les Marquises – the Marquesas archipelago in French Polynesia – and stayed there.
Brel died at the age of 49. The couple down the road from Ben Folds passed away in their nineties, within a few days of each other. And he knows that he and his love belong together in the same way. That’s why he’s The Luckiest.
The Aaaah-list Playlist:
The Decemberists – June Hymn
Gunter Kallmann Choir – Daydream
Sir Douglas Quintet – Sunday Sunny Mill Valley Groove Day
Slovenly – As If It Always Happens
Andy Hickie – When The World Smiles With You
The Poozies – Sorrows Away
Elbow – My Sad Captains
Trashcan Sinatras – Best Days On Earth
Al Stewart – Katherine Of Oregon
Paul Simon – Rene And Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War
Jacques Brel – Les Marquises
Ben Folds – The Luckiest
This week’s theme was contentment and tranquillity, but as reader Beltway Bandit commented, the latter could be a separate theme in its own right. There was so much beautiful, serene music to enjoy though: so here’s an alternative playlist that’s more about the sounds than the words.
B-lissed out playlist:
Groove Armada – At The River
George Butterworth – The Banks of Green Willow
Vaishnava Janato – Renaissance
A Winged Victory for the Sullen – We Played Some Open Chords And Rejoiced, For The Earth Had Circled The Sun Yet Another Year
Canteloube – Bailero (sung by Netania Davrath)
Rachel Unthank & The Winterset – Newcastle Lullaby
Virginia Astley – Out on the lawn I lie in bed
Sateenkaarilaulu – Yona ja Liikkuvat Pilvet -
Alice Coltrane – Lovely Sky Boat
Shine Like Stars – Primal Scream
Guru's Wildcard PIck:
The Go-Betweens - The Mountains Near Dellray
These playlists were inspired by readers' song nominations from last week's topic: Calm waters: songs about contentment and tranquility. The next topic will launch on Thursday at 1pm UK time.
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Fancy a turn behind the pumps at The Song Bar? Care to choose a playlist from songs nominated and write something about it? Then feel free to contact The Song Bar here, or try the usual email address.