At the moment, I’ve got quite a long daily commute to work, so I set off very early when it’s still dark and the world is quiet.
Quite frequently, my early morning radio station has played “Under A Million Lights” by Tom Chaplin while I’m still on little country roads near my house and there’s no-one around.
Not only is “Under A Million Lights” a beautiful song, it’s somehow entirely appropriate for an early morning drive along country lanes on a dark winter morning with only the moon and the stars for company (and early morning radio, of course).
Tom Chaplin is a voice you may recognise, even if his name is less familiar. He used to be the lead singer of British rock band Keane.
In contrast with Keane’s rockier output, Tom Chaplin seems to be in a more reflective mood in his recent solo work.
His latest album is called “Twelve Tales Of Christmas” which, despite its title, is less about Christmas itself and more about that sometimes bittersweet time at the end of the year when you’re having a great time with family and friends, but also missing people you care about but can’t be with.
Perhaps they’ve passed on. Perhaps they’ve moved on and someone you cared about deeply isn’t in your life any more. Perhaps you moved on, but there’s something inside you that still misses those you left behind.
But, even with all that going on in your head, the end of each year is a time for hope as you contemplate new beginnings and start to make plans for how you’re going to do things differently in the year ahead.
And it’s a sense of hope that “Under A Million Lights” captures so well. It’s a gentle and tender, but really uplifting, song.
I especially like the way the very first line connects so powerfully with the way most people seem to be feeling at the moment, but then quickly takes you to another place…one of hope and optimism and a sense that you’re not alone any more…
It’s easy to think we’re screwed
Reading the front page news
Whatever your view of the world, everyone thinks we’re going to hell in a handcart. Both Left and Right, and those in the middle, tell their friends the end of the world is nigh…unless people quickly do what they want, that is.
We live in a time when hate seems to be the dominant emotion. Which I find puzzling — apart from mass murderers, who I’m quite prepared to hate, people I don’t necessarily agree with are just people with different perspectives to mine and different points of view.
It doesn’t make them any less human, or any less worthy of my attention and consideration. I just don’t see the world the way they do, that’s all.
And, as so often in the past, it’s art that tries to keep humanity on the straight and narrow.
When there’s oppression and a smug sense of complacency amongst the powerful, songs like “Blowin’ In The Wind” come along to challenge society’s view of itself.
So at a time when “it’s easy to think we’re screwed, reading the front page news”, it’s entirely appropriate that a song of hope should come along to lift us all.
Funnily enough, it’s not even that hard to do…
Look to the million lights
Shining in the sky blue night
If we stop looking at our smartphones as we move around and looked up at the night sky instead, just about every human being on the planet can appreciate the natural beauty of the universe in all its glory.
A starry sky at night is something every human being on earth can agree is a beautiful thing.
And whilst that might seem like a very little thing, the fact that everyone, irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity and political beliefs can agree on something…however small…feels like an important victory these days.
But, as Tom Chaplin tells us, it’s not just about appreciating the beauty above us. It’s also about appreciating the beauty within us.
Not only are there a million lights “out there”…far away in the night sky. Each of us also has a light within us. A light that’s often switched off when we spend too much time contemplating our own troubles and too little time thinking about how we can help other people eliminate the challenges in their lives.
But if we can switch our own light on…the light inside us that burns for our fellow human beings, a light they can use as their marker on their own journey across the universe…then we’ve done a wondrous thing and made a positive difference in the world.
Making a little switch in the lyrics, Tom Chaplin move us from being observers of the universe to being part of it…this is so nicely done…
Turn your light on
Turn your light on
Turn your light on now
We are a million lights
Tracing the beautiful night
Comets and satellites
No longer are we passive observers looking at the universe, now we realise we’re part of it. It’s not “out there”, it’s “in here”. Each one of us can make a difference, if not for humanity at large, at least for one other human being.
And if enough people can do that, in no time, the world becomes a better place. It starts from something as simple as taking a moment to contemplate the night sky.
And, I can tell you, when you’re all alone early in the morning on deserted country roads with just the moon and stars for company, “Under A Million Lights” is a very inspiring, and quite beautiful, song.
It’s a song of hope and positivity when those emotions seem to be in pretty short supply. It’s a song for our times.
Please enjoy Tom Chaplin with “Under A Million Lights”…a beautiful and reflective song of hope at a time when a bit more hope is just what the world needs…
The video is below, but if you prefer to listen to this track on Spotify, you can find it here… https://open.spotify.com/track/0gmJ3bDnyZmALtU2iSSUt7