Ever since I began my career as a writer, I’ve often been asked why I do it, even though it doesn’t always provide the most profitable or stable income. While the full answer is complex and can be broken down into several layers, healing has always a huge part of it.
Like most, I have skeletons in the closet and demons within. It’s by manipulating these words, crafting these sentences and formulating these paragraphs that I can begin to make peace and sense of it all.
Music, usually present in the early stages of most writing I do, is another art form that helps mend my wounds and allows me to discover some of the answers I’ve been searching for.
Whether you’re spiritual, religious or neither of the two, we all have our ways of alleviating pain. Some go to church on Sundays. Others drink. I prefer to sit with a view, some music and something to write with to truly begin to heal and feel at peace.
This playlist, in the heart of a time where it seems like no one has the answers, is here to help you begin to heal. Take it wherever you need it to, both physically and emotionally.
1. “One Man Can Change the World (feat. Kanye West & John Legend)” – Big Sean
Big Sean’s 2015 track, “One Man Can Change the World,” begins this healing session, delivering a Herculean message – that despite popular belief, if you believe and work hard enough you can change the world.
His relatable come-up story, written as graceful lyrics, is met by a Kanye West and John Legend harmony. Though the song is slower, it’s soothing to the soul and helped guide me through some sleepless nights.
2. “Same Love (feat. Mary Lambert)” – Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis continue the healing momentum with their song “Same Love (feat. Mary Lambert).”
Originally released in 2012, the song is known as the first of its kind to openly embrace gay marriage. It’s a heartwarming, good-for-the-soul kind of song that fits in nicely here at track number two.
3. “Big Kids (feat. CeeLo Green & Usher)” – B.O.B.
In his 2018 song “Big Kids,” B.O.B. lays down some thought-provoking verses over piano medley, met by vocals from former R&B greats, CeeLo Green & Usher. It’s a beautiful masterpiece, built around themes of never growing up, positivity and individuality.
Although it might not have been the artist’s intention, it’s one that helped me begin to heal, following the loss of a friend and a colleague in an unexpected accident.
4. “B Ok” – Wiz Khalifa
Wiz Khalifa has been known for his meaningful storytelling, as much as he has been for his love for Mary Jane Since his late 2000’s come-up.
And “B OK,” from his 2018 album “Rolling Papers 2” is no exception. The airy and laid-back track is all about remaining positive and healing even if things don’t always go as planned at work, in your relationship or just in life overall.
It’s under the radar and probably won’t be on any Khalifa essentials playlists anytime soon. But it should be, as it carries one of the Pittsburgh legend’s most motivational messages.
5. “Lose Somebody” – Kygo & OneRepublic
Frontman, Ryan Tedder, joined by the rest of his alternative-rock group One Republic recently teamed back up with 28-year-old dance-music DJ, Kygo, to bring listeners “Lose Somebody.”
A unique use of piano notes mixes with Well-crafted EDM and Tedder testing his vocal limits. It has that old OneRepublic sound, mixed with modern base-driven drops that encompass the theme of not taking people and moments in life for granite.
It’s extremely relatable right now and can help bring peace to your days.
6. “Carry On” – Fun.
Although the super-group F.U.N.’s run was shorter than fans would’ve hoped, it brought us some recognizably powerful music. “Carry On” specifically, brings listeners hope. Something we need now more than ever.
The lyrics reading, “If you’re lost and alone. Or you’re sinking like a stone. Carry On. May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground. Carry on.” feel vulnerable and real – something we all are too afraid to be.
7. “Demons” – Imagine Dragons
What’s an incredibly deep and complex song when broken down, Imagine Dragons’ 2012 track “Demons” hits home with anyone honest enough to admit the world’s and their flaws.
While it is darker than others on the playlist, it still holds its own and continues to help the healing process.
8. “Circles” – The Cadillac Three
Covering Post Malone’s recent hit, “Circles,” The Cadillac Three, a lesser-known country music band, creates magic with this one.
Illustrating a couple constantly moving in circles, the group’s rendition brings clarity and calmness to listeners, though there isn’t a clear conclusion other than learning to let go.
9. “Belong” – Chase Rice
Chase Rice’s “Belong” from his recent record “the Album, Pt. II” might be the most real country song in the last decade.
Highlighting several current issues and telling a few different heartwarming stories, throughout, “Belong” makes you feel just that – a sense of belonging.
I found the verse, “They say we’re all lost on a permanent roam, an entire generation raised in a phone. But, hey, this thing takes notes and the notes make me able to remember melodies that put food on my table” particularly powerful and relatable.
It’s a home run of a track that finely rounds out my selections for this healing playlist.
As with every “Powerful Playlist” the last song in the playlist is solely up to you, the reader and listener. May this begin to help heal and mend our broken hearts and weary minds as we head into the back half of 2020.