My fellow blogger Anju, of This Labyrinth I Roam, asked me to be a guest blogger and write a list of songs that are meaningful to me. It took me a bit to find a theme, but in these stressful times, I do find myself seeking out songs that relax me, help me stop doing a mind-grind, and at the worst of times, coax me down from the ceiling. So what follows, in no particular order, are the songs I go to when I need to restore my mellow.
The Keep Going Song, by The Bengsons
I only just recently discovered this song and this group. It’s a song inspired by the pandemic. I just love Abigail Bengson’s energy. She’s comforting, enthusiastic, funny, and entirely relatable. I’ve listened to this song about 100 times, because it makes me feel like I’m talking to a really compassionate friend.
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole: Over the Rainbow & What a Wonderful World Medley
When I hear this song, it’s like IZ is singing me a lullaby. And having heard it, I know it will be safe to drift off to sleep. What a wonderful world.
Tomorrow by the UU General Assembly 2020 Virtual Choir
This is a song that I often find myself singing inside my head. There will be better days, indeed. It acknowledges that we can feel overwhelmed, but the wave will wash over us, and move on. When that’s sung by a hundred voices, it’s hard not to believe. And sometimes you just need to be convinced. This song, to me, is like a hug.
Eva Cassidy’s cover of Fields of Gold
Eva has one of those voices that just burrows deep into the heart of you. This song is about having memories. It reminds you that the people you love will remember you long after you’re gone. That means everything to me.
Mister Rogers Remixed: The Garden of Your Mind
I never had a father when I was growing up, and I felt that lack quite a bit. So I pretended that Mr. Rogers was my father. I can’t think of anyone more nurturing and comforting in the whole world. He made me feel safe. He made me think that when my life got chaotic, he’d be there, like a refuge. This song gives me a Mr. Rogers fix when I need one.
Sunshine by Jonathan Edwards
This song is what pops into my head when I’m frustrated, and I want to transition into a defiant, triumphant mood. Yes indeed. “He can’t even run his own life, I’ll be damned if he’ll run mine!”
Smooth by Santana, featuring Rob Thomas
Sometimes I’m just hot and tired and frustrated, you know? But this song reminds me that it’s still possible to muster up some passion. Even if it makes you sweat. That’s good to know.
No Woman, No Cry by Bob Marley
This song makes me realize that some men are actually capable of being comforting. And sometimes you just need to know that “Everything’s gonna be alright.” Thanks, Bob.
Arlo Guthrie’s Version of The Garden Song
I’ve seen Arlo in concert 14 times. He’s a national treasure. And this song is about leaving a legacy. It’s about planting a seed. It’s about making your mark in the world. And I love this particular version of the song because he lapses into one of his hilarious and amazing stories. And we are all about our stories, aren’t we?
Happy by Pharrell Williams
If this song doesn’t get you up on your feet and dancing, you’re beyond help! It is a celebration of joy. Happy just makes me happy.
Iris Dement’s cover of Let the Mystery Be
This song reminds me that I don’t need to have all the answers. In particular, I don’t need to know what happens after I’m gone. What a relief. And Iris Dement… we’d be best friends. I just know it. Sometimes you just need to hang with a friend.
Have It All by Jason Mraz
Truth be told, all songs by Jason Mraz make me happy. He is the most positive, optimistic singer I know. This song, in particular, is all about good wishes for those around you. At my outdoor wedding, we heard Jason rehearsing for a live concert in the distance, and then we danced to this song at the concert itself. So it makes me really smile on a lot of levels. How many people can say Jason Mraz was their wedding singer?
K.D Lang’s cover of Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen
There are dozens of amazing covers of this song, but this is perhaps my favorite. K.D seems to be talking right to me. Hallelujah.
All I Know by Art Garfunkel
This one is super personal to me. The first time someone I deeply loved died, not that many years ago, this song lodged in my head, and did not leave for many, many weeks. I played it as I sat alone and scattered some of his ashes at his favorite place on earth. As the waves took those ashes away, I cried the kind of cry that makes you feel like your rib cage is going to crack open and your heart is going to fall out of your chest. I still listen to this song sometimes, when I need a good, cleansing cry. Rest in peace, Chuck.
It’s OK: NNAMDÏ
This artist may not be as well known as others on this list, but he gets it. There’s no need to pretend you’re okay if you’re not. Take some time for you. Sage advice.
Thanks, Anju, for allowing me to go on this musical journey!
Much love and light to all of you, dear readers!
-Barb, The View from a Drawbridge
As part of my new mixtapes project, I have asked select friends to curate playlists for me. This mixtape is specially curated for us by Barb. We started off as fellow blog enthusiasts. It was sort of inevitable that I would soon turn out to be her #1 fan. We now exchange postcards and soothing words via email, counting down to a future in which we will meet in person! You can find Barb at The View From A Drawbridge and follow her on Facebook for instant updates.