Dance to Sleep by SJ, from the EP Nikki, is a beautiful and heartfelt piece of magic that is an absolute joy to listen to, even long after the hundredth play. A smooth and melodic finger-style guitar, backed by smoky and honest vocals, weave a story of a whole life left to live, and the beauty of savoring the moment right now.
A beautiful story of a new life full of lessons, every verse spills a timeless bit of wisdom into the ethos. A song that seems fit for both a new love and a newborn, the comforting lull of the singer’s voice winds and weaves a tapestry of the colorful and poignant highs and bluesy lows of everything you’re to expect in life.
“If you open up your heart—Life will touch you right, but for now we’ll dance to sleep, rest your head on my chest” the chorus rolls in, conjuring the imagery of a father holding his newborn daughter, dancing around a room and singing her to sleep, promising to be there when she wakes, and to always take care of her no matter what. Alternatively, the song also has cross-generational romantic cues, which fit just as nicely among a young couple experiencing a first night together—all of the joy and woe of a shared lifetime ahead of them, but dancing to sleep together for the first time tonight and caring only about this exact moment.
Dance to Sleep is both timeless and contemporary, simple and infinitely technical, romantic and melancholy. In short, a perfect song, a jewel within an EP full of similarly crafted artisanal works. SJ is a master-craftsman at the helm of an acoustic guitar, and the entire Nikki EP is a testament to that. The standout piece of unbridled excellence, however, remains Dance to Sleep.