ProF Playlist #24: Chill

Hello, 2019 and hello, WINTER – America’s least-favorite season. In the minds of many in this hemisphere, the months of January and February conjure up images of gray skies, slushy, snow-coated streets and a stronger-then-usual reluctance to get out of bed each morning. In fact, in a 2005 Gallup poll assessing Americans’ favorite and least-favorite months of the year, January and February ranked 11th and 12th, respectively. Even way back in 1960 when the same poll was conducted, the results were similar: January ranked a more respectable number nine, but February still held strong at rock-bottom. It’s an unpopular time, is what I’m saying, and the winter doldrums are nothing new.

Sure, January and February are cold and somewhat dull, with few holidays to celebrate and the excitement of summer vacations too far away to be tangible. But over the years, I’ve developed an affection for these underappreciated months. (Perhaps it’s innate: my birthday is on January 13th, which is reliably one of the coldest days of the year.) No matter how much one tries to slow down and enjoy it, after all, autumn and the holiday season end up being frenzied and tiring; likewise, spring brings with it a myriad of social events and work wrapping up the semester. But January and February tend to be a quieter time by cold-weather necessity, a time when it’s perfectly acceptable to cocoon oneself at home on the weekends tackling long-awaited projects, reading, baking, writing, organizing your home à la Marie Kondo or even (if you’re hardy) strolling outside in the bracing winter air.

Thus, we decided the proF theme for January/February should be “chill,” a word that encapsulates both the weather and the mood this time of year. No matter your lifestyle or your feelings about these dreary months, we hope they afford you the time to take a breath – and to spend at least one full day lounging around a warm house in your pajamas. This month’s playlist – a light, luminous collection of winter songs, introspective and hopeful – is designed for just such an occasion.