Since this pandemic started heating up, I’ve leaned on music to help me feel better and get to a place where I can write. Turns out there’s a scientific basis to my practice. Listening to music releases the happy chemical dopamine in our brains. It may even help reduce depression, control blood pressure, and regulate heart rate. I reached out via social media to see if other people had pandemic music suggestions. As I read and listened, several themes emerged.
Music which acknowledges the world as it is such as “Ain’t it Fun” by Paramore or “This Year” by the Mountain Goats.
Songs which acknowledge the world as it was such as “Remember When” by Alan Jackson or “Some Things Never Change” from Frozen 2.
Songs which cultivates gratitude and/or hope such as “We Shall Overcome” by Pete Seeger, or “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.
Music which acknowledges the importance of human connection such as “All You Need is Love” by the Beatles, and “People Need People” by Maddie and Tae.
Songs which encourages relaxation such as “Forever Rain” by RM or “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/ What a wonderful World” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.
Religious music such as childhood hymns or “Oceans” by Hillsong.
Below I’ve listed many of suggestions I got along with comments if made. I’ve anonymized the suggestions with one notable exception. Mike Jack Stoumbos recorded his own version of the song “From Now On” from The Greatest Showman. I enjoyed listening to his work so much I asked special permission to de-anonymize him so I could give proper credit.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this list. Reading and listening made me feel less alone and more hopeful in this new sideways reality. I hope it does the same for you.
- Let Go– Frou Frou. “I’ve been listening to this song on repeat…. I googled the lyrics, and they don’t say much lol Other than finding “beauty in the breakdown,” finding something good in the shit storm…”
- Oceans– Hillsong
- Desperado– Eagles
- Lyin’ Eyes– Eagles
- Hotel California -Eagles
- Remember When– Alan Jackson
- Dreamer– Elizaveta. ” I listen to a lot of Elizaveta when I’m looking for inspiration or just need to breathe. This is one of my favorites”
- From Now On- Greatest Showman. Mike Jack Stombous wrote “I feel so uplifted by this song that I went ahead and recorded it myself.” His version is linked to the song title.
- What a Wonderful World-Louis Armstrong
- Count Your Blessings– White Christmas
- We Shall Overcome -Pete Seeger
- Some Things Never Change– Frozen 2. “The message of the song, right there in the title, is something I really need to hear right now. I wonder if things like movie theaters and live music and dance venues will ever return, or if they are gone forever in our new reality”
- Kansas– Dust in the Wind
- We Didn’t Start the Fire– Billy Joel
- The Story Ain’t Over– Avantasia. “Listen to those strings! And, man, that refrain is powerful.”
- Antidote– Faith Marie
- People Need People– Maddie and Tae
- Always Look on the Bright Side of Life– Monty Python
- All You Need is Love– The Beatles
- With a Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles
- This Year– The Mountain Goats
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow/ What a Wonderful World– Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
- Ain’t It Fun– Paramore
- I Write Sins Not Tragedies– Panic! At the Disco
- Forever Rain– RM. “Also heavily into BTS’ discography, and their leader, RM’s mixtape, Mono, is exceptional. Moonchild and Forever Rain are soothing”
- ON-BTS. “Upbeat, empowering, defiant lyrics…plus, the dance break is FIRE!”
- Let It Go– Frozen. “Oh I’m sorry, I have children…I don’t know any of my own songs at this point because I’ve watched Frozen no less than 12 times in the past week. It’s all “Let it go!!! Let it gooooooo!!!” in my brain…”
- Bullet with Butterfly Wings– Smashing Pumpkins
- Blackbird-Sarah McLaughlin
- Naive Melody– Talking Heads
- Hide and Seek– Imogen Heap. This is my (Suzanne’s) contribution. The first lyrics are “Where are we? What the hell is going on?” If that doesn’t describe this new sideways world I don’t know what does. The song also has this great moment of harmony in the middle that makes my brain very happy.