Music can soothe the soul, but that’s a tall order this week, as many of us have souls that are twisted in knots right now. So here at NextTribe, we’ve put together some songs that our readers tell us are helping right now. We’ve even put them together in a Spotify playlist here.
If we’ve missed some good ones, please leave suggestions in the comments.
O-o-h Child by The Five Stair Steps
My friend Lara Whitley suggested this one, and it immediately brought my heart rate down and had me dancing at my computer.
Things are gonna get easier
Things’ll get brighter
Lovely Day by Bill Withers
The first of many songs that rejoice in the optimism of a new day.
When I wake up in the morning, love
And the sunlight hurts my eyes
And something without warning, love
Bears heavy on my mind Then I look at you
And the world’s alright with me
Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles
George Harrison singing Here Comes the Sun has surely stood the test of time.
Little darling, the smile’s returning to their faces
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
These Are the Days by the 10,000 Maniacs
This is Natalie Merchant at her best. Sing it, girl.
These days you might feel a shaft of light
Make its way across your face
And when you do you’ll know how it was meant to be
See the signs and know their meaning
I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash
I like the weather metaphor in this classic, but what I really think of is scales falling from people’s eyes.
Oh, yes I can make it now the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright)
Bright (bright) sunshiny day
Beautiful Day by U2
Here’s a cousin to Bill Wither’s oldie. Same sentiment, grittier vibe.
See the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out
With a Little Help From My Friends by Joe Cocker
Joe Cocker sings the Lennon-McCarthy lyrics and makes them completely his own, reminding us that we’re in this together.
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends
Mm, I get high with a little help from my friends
Mm, gonna try with a little help from my friends
Talkin’ Bout a Revolution by Tracy Chapman
This song isn’t all lightness and smiles, but it’s got a driving beat and reminds us of our mission.
Don’t you know
They’re talkin’ ’bout a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
And finally the tables are starting to turn
Get Up, Stand Up by Bob Marley
Bob Marley is the kingdaddy of lighting a fire under our butts.
You can fool some people sometimes
But you can’t fool all the people all the time
So now we see the light (what you gonna do?)
We gonna stand up for our rights (yeah, yeah, yeah)
Imagine by John Lennon
I always thought the classiest thing Paul McCarthy could have done is play this when he performed at the London Olympics. Oh well, we’ll put it to good use now.
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you
Rise Up by Andra Day
Andra Day’s voice will get your goosebumps at attention and your hopes soaring.
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again
The Sound of Silence by Disturbed
The lyrics Paul Simon wrote in the early ’60s take on new urgency and relevance when sung by Disturbed in 2020.
“Fools, ” said I, “You do not know
Silence, like a cancer, grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
Do What You Can by Bon Jovi
This song was written for these times, specifically for helping us all get through the pandemic.
‘Round here, we bend but don’t break
Down here, we all understand
When you can’t do what you do
You do what you can
The Morning After by Maureen McGovern
There’s got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let’s keep on looking for the light
I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
I had to include this triumph-over-all-obstacles standard because it’s fun to sing to yourself in the mirror when you’re feeling most blue or doubtful.
You think I’d crumble?
You think I’d lay down and die?