I love music. Most days I spend several hours listening to something, even if it’s just in the background. I’ve written about how I use it to inspire me when I write. I’ve even shared a playlist of music that has inspired me to dream big.
Right now we’re in the midst of a pandemic. An outbreak. A crisis of historical proportions. In many parts of the world hospitals have become war zones and commercial centers have become apocalyptic wastelands. The center cannot hold and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned, as Yeats put it.
When every day is Groundhog Day
For many of us, and I include myself in this group, life has turned into The Long Wait For A Train That Never Comes. We’re stuck at home. On a permanent staycation that we never asked for.
We’re told that the best thing we can do is stay home. “Save a life. Be an Introvert,” would be a great bumper sticker if bumper stickers made any sense right now. Never have couch potatoes been more revered and honored in our society.
For those of you, like me, stuck at home, I’d like to offer you a few songs I’ve found encouraging during this time. Maybe they could become part of the soundtrack of your long wait for the end of this crisis.
Ready to spin a few red hot trax of wax? I present to you the Stay Home Playlist.
1. 6 ft Apart by Alec Benjamin
This song literally just came out last week. This artist is rather young and quite prolific. His songs usually have a strong narrative element. In fact, I’ve seen him in interviews and photos wearing a shirt that says “narrator”.
This is not his best song, but it is quite beautiful and poignant. It literally is about the quarantine and everything I’ve wrote in the lead up to this list and is the song that inspired me to make this playlist. So it seemed only appropriate to begin with this one.
2. Welcome to Wonderland by Anson Seabra
This is one for all the writers and readers out there, for all the whimsical children at heart whose minds will drift to other realms at the drop of a mad hatter’s chapeau.
Best enjoyed with a large cup of tea. At a tea party. (of no more than 10 people)
3. I’m Still here by John Rzeznik
This is one probably some of you might have heard. It’s from the soundtrack of one of the most overlooked gems in Disney’s treasure (ahem) trove. Not only is this a great movie (which I’ve reviewed), but this is one of my favorite songs of all time.
And it literally could be your theme song for this quarantine.
4. Meet Me On The Battlefield by Svrcina
This one may be about relationships, but the metaphors are so rich, it could be about actual battle. It makes me think about the front line warriors in this fight. The doctors, nurses, firefighters, policemen, delivery truck drivers, and grocery store workers, who are going to work, putting themselves at risk to keep the nation running and its most vulnerable citizens from dying. This one’s for them.
5. The Search by NF
This one is unlike any other song on this list. I was actually surprised when I first heard it that I liked it. Because it’s rap. I don’t write off genres of music, but rap is often so much more like spoken word poetry that it often doesn’t measure up.
Not this song. This one is a lyrical tour de force sung over a backdrop of a haunting, almost cinematic melody.
This song is about dealing with doubt and uncertainty and the search for hope and purpose in our lives which everyone goes through. It might take a few listens to track with all the words behind that message, but if you do, it’s worth it.
6. There She Stands by Michael W. Smith
This was released after 9/11 and it’s a stirring reminder that no matter how much our enemies rage, no matter how divided we may seem, our country will pull together when it counts. No matter if that enemy is a physical foe or an invisible virus, there is a common grace which picks us up and binds us close when tragedy strikes. Sometimes all it takes to remind us of that, is something as simple as the raising of the flag. Or hearing a song.
7. Cactus in the Valley by Lights
Another of my favorite songs. It is essentially a prayer. It’s contemplative, lilting, a little brooding, but ultimately hopeful.
When you’re in a valley, when the world seems to crumble around you, remember this song and be comforted.
8. Floodplain by Sara Groves
This one is so rich. It’s a meditation on suffering and hard circumstances. It reminds me a little of Psalm 42 with the imagery of being overwhelmed by the floods of life.
All Your waves and billows have gone over me.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me—
A prayer to the God of my life.
And yet this turbulent earth, this fallen Eden, this floodplain, is the veil of soul-making. This is where we are hearts are tested and mercy flows in to wash away the dross we would hold onto.
Let that truth and this song wash over you.
9. Back Home by Owl City
Owl City is probably my favorite artist. This song is about going home after being away, which, in many ways is the opposite of what most of us are experiencing just now. And yet, what the singer is longing for is really the restoration of peace and simplicity of his younger days.
When I listen to it in light of the current situation, it’s more of a longing for a walk downtown or in the park, a return to the common, everyday sorts of events we all took for granted. Having friends over. Taking a vacation somewhere. Going to the library.
All that is gone now. But some day we’ll go back “home” and find it all again.
10. Raining Sunshine by Miranda Cosgrove
Lots of these songs have been a little heavy. So we’ll end on a lighter note. Much lighter. Okay, it’s a little bit silly. But sometimes we need to paint with pastels and bright colors, especially in times like these. We could all us a few “hurricanes of happiness” in our lives.
This one is from the soundtrack to “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” a pretty silly movie in and of itself, but one I enjoyed.
So kick off your slippers and do a little jig in your pajamas. Fun and laughter don’t have to be under quarantine.
So there you have it, my “stay home playlist”. Ten eclectic songs to get you through this quarantine. Country, rap, pop, and a whole bunch of songs that I’m unsure where they fit.
What do you think? Were any of these new to you? Did some of your own favorites make the list. Give some of them a listen and let me know what you think. And let me know what music would you add to the list.
Steady as she goes. By God’s grace we’ll get through.