Each one of us has our own unique way of dealing with the current pandemic. Some folks are catching up on home projects, reading all those long-lost books on their nightstand, cleaning out the cracks in the sidewalks, eating, and then eating again, and repeating as necessary! And especially right now, many are experiencing all the various emotions, whether it’s happiness for being able to spend time with family, or loneliness, feeling disconnected from family and friends far away. Some might feel a sense of loss, since our lives have changed so much in the past month, and some might be angry, feeling a lack of control in being in able to undo the current situation.
But one thing that can bring us all together in times like this is the music. Music is the antidote for all that ails us. Because there are so many emotions right now, I have assembled a list of ten songs that I believe really speak to all these various emotions. These are songs I highly recommend you check out; if one of them doesn’t resonate with you, perhaps the next one will. The times are definitely changing, and these songs will help you manage that change and maybe even put a little music in your heart!
This list of songs is arranged chronologically based on when each song was originally released. It’s not a ranking, since all the songs on this list are superb, in my humble opinion.
Lay Down (Candles in the Wind) by Melanie with the Edwin Hawkins Singers: Released in early 1970, this song addressed a time period when the turbulence and uncertainty in the world seemed to mirror a lot of what is currently happening 50 years later in 2020. This song is really a call to action, with Melanie’s optimistic vocals and positive energy, along with the gospel sounds of the Edwin Hawkins Singers, providing the perfect complement and encouragement for continuing to move forward in times of chaos and uncertainty. Billboard Hot 100 #6, 1970
Fire and Rain by James Taylor: James Taylor’s major 1970 breakthrough hit, this song is as powerful today as I imagine it was it was when it was first released 50 years ago. The lyrics are moving, substantive, and introspective. Many songs in the early 1970s might have been classified as “easy listening,” but there’s no easy listening with this song! Fire and Rain gently demands attention, and the rewards for doing so are very worthwhile. Billboard Hot 100 #3, Adult Contemporary #7, 1970
Superstar by Carpenters: Whether you are sheltering in place by yourself, or have others with you, most of us are experiencing at least occasional loneliness. This classic featuring brother and sister duo, Richard and Karen, will resonate with anyone who’s ever experienced loneliness, sadness, depression or any of those other feelings that we sometimes prefer to sweep under the rug. Karen’s vocals are warm, honest, raw, and so very heart-felt. Powerful stuff! Billboard Hot 100 #2, Adult Contemporary #1, 1971
Somewhere by Barbra Streisand: Right now, a lot of us can probably relate to the lyrics of this classic from West Side Story, looking for somewhere to escape from the current global concerns. Although this song has been covered by multiple artists, my favorite is this version by Barbra Streisand that was released in late 1985. The production of this song has an ethereal feel to it, and with Barbara’s soaring vocal range, makes the song seem otherworldly, and a good escape, at least for 4 1/2 minutes! Billboard Hot 100 100 #43, Adult Contemporary #5, 1986
Coming Around Again by Carly Simon: There’s something about Carly Simon’s music that is instantly recognizable and comforting. In these times of so much change, happening at warp speed, this song is really very apropos. Things are always changing, but at the same time this too shall pass. Everything old is new again, and everything new is old again. Carly’s warm vocals, along with a fantastic mid 1980s production quality, make this a gem for many of us Gen Xers, but it’s a great song for everyone, especially while trying to deal with so many changes at once. Billboard Hot 100 #18, Adult Contemporary #5, 1986
The Finer Things by Steve Winwood: “While there is time, let’s go out and feel everything.” This is just one of the many fantastic lyrics in this classic from Steve Winwood about experiencing all that life has to offer. Right now, it may feel like we are not able to experience everything, but perhaps it’s a good time to reflect and express gratitude for all the finer things in life that we have experienced. Listen to the song, as you write in a gratitude journal, and tell someone how much they mean to you. And, be sure you listen to the long (non-radio edit) version of the song for full effect. Billboard Hot 100 #8, Adult Contemporary #1, 1987
Show Me The Way by Styx: For many, this might be a time of spiritual reflection and introspection. This classic by Styx, nearly 30 years old, and sung by the very talented Dennis DeYoung, is a song that can take one to a higher spiritual plane. The lyrics discuss the uncertainty felt by many of us, and how many of us are constantly praying to find the way. Whether one is religious or not, this song seems to provide some much needed spiritual comfort. Billboard Hot 100 #3, Adult Contemporary #3, 1991
Cry For Help by Rick Astley: It sometimes seems there is a stigma in asking for help. In times like these, it really should be seen as a sign of bravery. This song really emphasizes that point, and makes it clear that crying for help is often the most responsible thing to do. It’s such a beautiful song, with a fantastic gospel choir providing back up vocals. Highly recommended for all of us, whether we are young or old, rich or poor, we can all use a little help now and then. Billboard Hot 100 #7, Adult Contemporary #1, 1991
Can’t Cry Hard Enough by The Williams Brothers: I would recommend having the Kleenex ready, but since the stores are out of all paper products, you may have to resort to a shirt sleeve or bath towel! This song is a real tearjerker; I still have a hard time listening to it without getting misty-eyed. Sometimes, however, a good cry is just what the doctor ordered, and can be a cathartic release...and who couldn’t use that these days? This song features beautiful harmony vocals and lyrics regarding loss and grieving over that loss...feelings that many are currently experiencing. Billboard Hot 100 #42, Adult Contemporary #11, 1992
Hope of Deliverance by Paul McCartney: Hope is something we could all use more of these days, and Sir Paul McCartney certainly delivers it in this infectiously groovy, danceable, and singable number from the early 1990s. This song will get in your head, and not easily escape, but that’s a good thing in times like these. Turn it up and enjoy! Billboard Hot 100 #83, Adult Contemporary #9, 1993
And there you have it! Ten songs, featuring a variety of different emotions, but all songs from the heart, that will help you continue to navigate through the rapidly evolving landscape of our current situation. Hang in there, everyone.