The world is in a pretty rough state right now, and we are currently living through a critical moment in time. With the current pandemic and the momentous (and ALWAYS relevant) #BlackLivesMatter movement going on, sometimes it all can get a little too much. As much as we want to stay proactive during this time, we also need to remember to breathe and step away from social media every once in a while. Personally, I turn to music to help calm me down, and I know many others who do too. So, if you’re looking for songs to help ease your mind (or just to expand your music library), you’ve come to the right place.
1) Vienna by Billy Joel
This song is a classic and never fails to take some weight off my shoulders. I know we live in a fast-paced world where hustle culture is glorified, but sometimes we just need to take a break and disappear for a while. This song is your reminder to take a break, because no matter what it is you’re chasing – it’s never going to go away. So just step back, take a breath, and rest for a while.
2) Blackbird by The Beatles
You can never go wrong with The Beatles! This calming melody always acts as a source of comfort for me. To quote Paul McCartney on the meaning of the song:
“…and I remembered this whole idea of "you were only waiting for this moment to arise" was about, you know, the black people's struggle in the southern states, and I was using the symbolism of a blackbird. It's not really about a blackbird whose wings are broken, you know, it's a bit more symbolic.”
This is a song about rising from the ashes and getting out of bed the morning after having a hard day. It’s sweet, it’s calm, and it’s nothing short of encouraging.
3) Chamomile by Walter Mitty and His Makeshift Orchestra
As we all grow older, we realize that life is hard. Sometimes it does not seem that way, but other times it feels as if the entire world is crashing down on you. With this song, you’re able to picture the scenarios in your head as the lyrics are being sung out: You go on over to a friend’s house after a hard day which makes you question the wonder you have for life. You both drink chamomile and talk as the rain falls heavily outside, and your friend excitedly talks about his new discovery which exhibits that childlike wonder you almost lost. It’s in listening to this cottagecore-Esque song that you realize that maybe you won’t ever have all the answers to life’s questions. And that’s totally okay!
4) Make You Feel My Love by Adele
Another classic! This song was originally written by Bob Dylan and was first performed by Billy Joel, but Adele’s beautiful rendition truly takes it to another level. This is one of the most beautifully written songs, in my opinion. It’s a touching song, and no matter the stresses of the day, it’s always nice to know that there’s always someone out there who’s looking out for us, even on our worst days. Especially on our worst days.
5) I Know A Place – Acoustic by MUNA
This incredible song by MUNA is amazing. It’s one of those songs where it’s almost like a friend is talking to you, and lending their shoulder for you to cry on. The original song is more upbeat and poppy, but the acoustic one has an extra verse in the bridge which just elevates the entire song.
“Even if our skin or our Gods look different
I believe all human life is significant
I throw my arms open wide in resistance
He's not my leader even if he's my president”
It’s powerful and uplifting, and it makes me ugly cry. Every. Time.
6) Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon & Garfunkel
This is one of those songs where you feel like a friend is lending their ear to listen to your troubles (Seems like there’s a recurring theme here). It opens with colorful piano chords and soft vocals. The song builds up as it goes on, and it truly goes off with a bang.
7) You’ve Got a Friend in Me by Sleeping At Last
This song is originally by Randy Newman and is iconic for its use in the Disney/Pixar animated film, Toy Story. While the original is more bright, Sleeping At Last’s version is more minimalistic and serene. It’s a great song to fall asleep to, and again, it’s one of those songs where it feels as if you’ve got a friend by your side (It’s even in the name!).
8) Time by Angelo de Augustine
If I have to be honest, I only just discovered this song thanks to Sofia Bryant (@sofiabryant on Instagram). The I Am Not Okay With This actress is a strong advocate for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. After a day of sharing amazing and informative resources through her Instagram story, she’d share this song as a symbol of taking care of oneself after a day of fighting for what’s right.
9) Found/Tonight by Lin Manuel-Miranda and Ben Platt
This one’s for all the musical theatre fans! This song is a mashup of the songs ‘You Will Be Found’ and ‘The Story of Tonight’ from Tony-award winning Broadway musicals ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and ‘Hamilton’ respectively. If you listen to any of these musicals, you’d know that both these songs are the ones that’d set off the waterworks. Combining both these songs? Absolute genius. This song was originally released as a way to aid the March for Our Lives rally, which happened over a year ago in Washington D.C. to protest the government, who was turning a blind eye on gun control.
10) Deeper Conversation by Yuna
This stripped song evokes a feeling of wonder and the feeling of getting to know someone new and build a stronger bond with them. After facing all the challenges that life throws our way, it’s nice to go back to a time where all we had to worry about was favorite colors and the monsters under our beds – even if it’s only through song.
There you go! These are some of the songs I listen to when I need to detach from the world and its horrors. Everyone has their own music taste, and these songs might not be for everyone. It’s totally fine! If you do like these songs though, I’ve made a Spotify playlist which I’ll be updating from time to time, linked here: