January Blues

Let’s face it, January is a pretty miserable month. Once the revelry of ringing in the New Year is over, it’s back to work/school for most of us, and the succession of cold grey days and long winter nights can be depressing. The concept of “January Blues” is widely accepted and for many people, an inevitable part of life.

But here’s an idea: why not use music to beat the blues? The mental health charity SANE has teamed up with misery-loving club Feeling Gloomy, in an attempt to cheer everyone up during “Blue Mood Month.” They’ve asked a whole host of celebrities to compile Spotify playlists of their favourite sad songs – the idea presumably being that a little bit of wallowing in someone else’s misfortunes can make you feel better about your own. Read all about it here.

I think this is a great idea; as well as raising awareness of mental health issues, it also provides an interesting and sometimes surprising insight into the musical tastes of the celebs. Plus, it’s a chance to discover music you might not normally listen to. I wouldn’t recommend listening to all of them in one sitting (there comes a point when you have to stop wallowing), but here’s just a few that caught my eye:

Dan Stevens

The Downton Abbey star’s list includes wistful folky melodies from Nick Drake (Clothes of Sand) soulful crooning from Nina Simone (I Loves You Porgy), bitter rage from Nirvana (Where Did You Sleep Last Night) and a classic from the kings of gloom, Radiohead (No Surprises).

Listen if you like: The Flaming Lips, Nick Drake, Mazzy Star, Radiohead, Black Crowes, Allo Darlin’

Stephen Fry

Along with smooth soul tunes from Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett, Fry’s compilation includes EltonĀ  John’s aptly titled Sad Songs Say So Much and Evanescence’s piano-rock ballad My Immortal. And no miserable playlist would be complete without The Smiths’ Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now…

Listen if you like: Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Mozart, Elton John, George Michael

Beverley Knight

Ms Knight selects an interesting mix of classic soul/Motown and alternative rock tunes. Her list features Marvin Gaye’s Heard it Through the Grapevine, U2’s With or Without You, Radiohead’s High and Dry, and ends on a defiantly positive note with Sam Cooke’s A Change is Gonna Come. She also includes her own hit, Shoulda Woulda Coulda – bit of shameless self-promotion there, but it does fit the theme pretty well.

Listen if you like: Beverley Knight, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, Sam Cooke, Prince, U2

Jamie MacColl

The Bombay Bicycle Club guitarist’s list is ripe with indie/alternative offerings from Broken Social Scene (Stars and Sons), LCD Soundsystem (Someone Great) and Bon Iver (Come Talk to Me)

Listen if you like: Broken Social Scene, Tom Waits, LCD Soundsystem, Cat Power, Bon Iver, Gilian Welch

Jo Brand

The psychiatric nurse turned award-winning comedian kicks off her playlist with Morrissey’s Every Day is Like Sunday, and follows it up with tearful tunes from Paolo Nutini (Last Request), Queen (Somebody to Love) and Amy Winehouse (Back to Black)

Listen if you like: Paolo Nutini, Amy Winehouse, Elvis Costello, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds

Happy listening! Or, you know…whatever.