It goes without saying – life right now is not ideal. Classes are online for the rest of the semester, the world has been thrown into a pandemic, and the end does not seem anywhere in sight. However, it’s important to persevere, to continue practicing social distancing, and to promote positivity in our actions, posts, and thoughts. To reorient yourself in these difficult times, listen to these feel-good tunes.
“Golden Hour”, Kacey Musgraves
When Kacey Musgraves came out with 2018’s Golden Hour, people began to say “I still hate country music – but I make an exception for Kacey Musgraves.” Her music is just that powerful. With songs as laidback and open as her personality, it’s easy to fall in love with Musgraves. “Golden Hour” is no exception.
Lyrical Gem: “You’re my golden hour / The color of my sky”
“Nobody to Love”, Alex Newell
Best known for his role as Unique Adams on Glee, Alex Newell maintained his star power with his debut single “Nobody to Love.” The song is a cover of British duo Sigma’s single of the same name, but with a peppy, dance-ready flair. Newell’s high-powered vocals on an equally charged production will get you out of your seat and ready to love.
Lyrical Gem: “No leavin’ this party / With nobody to love”
“Get Free”, Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey has been known for her glamorous yet sad musical styling, but “Get Free” marks a more optimistic turn in her music. She addresses the depression and darkness from her past, but in this cut from 2017’s optimistically titled Lust for Life, she makes a move towards the better. However, she acknowledges that things do not go straight from black to white instantly; instead, she is gradually changing, going first from black to blue.
Lyrical Gem: “Sometimes it feels like I’ve got a war in my mind / I want to get off, but I keep ridin’ the ride”
“Moonlight”, Ariana Grande
Serving as the opener for Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman album, this doo wop throwback tune draws its listeners into its lush, 1950s-tinged production and romantically sweet lyrics. Grande’s refined vocals cascade through this blossoming song as she croons for her magical man, straight from her dreams.
Lyrical Gem: “I kiss his fingertips as I’m wishing he’s all mine”
“I Like Me Better”, Lauv
Starting as a voice recording on his iPhone, Lauv’s “I Like Me Better” skyrocketed to fame with its catchy chorus and commemoration of a nascent love. Inspired by his move to New York City and the love story that entailed afterwards, “I Like Me Better” is a refreshing reminder of the absolute admiration that comes in the first stages of a romance in the big city.
Lyrical Gem: “If we lay, let the day just pass us by / I might get to too much talking, I might have to tell you something”
“Lovin’ Is Bible”, The Aces
Dripping in religious themes, “Lovin’ Is Bible” is a reverent look into an all-encompassing kind of love. The four ladies of The Aces draw from their religious backgrounds growing up in Utah to construct an alternative pop jam that celebrates the universality of love. “Lovin’ Is Bible” is a call back to a coming-of-age like vibe to indie pop, fit with an addiction to love.
Lyrical Gem: “Laughing in your car, you’re out shining like the stars”
“A letter to my younger self”, Ambar Lucid
With a profound sense of wisdom, a 17-year-old Ambar Lucid treated the world to “A letter to my younger self” in 2017. The dreamy tune welcomes the listener to Lucid’s mind as she reflects, in both English and Spanish, on her past and looks towards her dreams. This bedroom-produced track emphasizes a need for self-awareness balanced with optimism for a better future.
Lyrical Gem: “All of the wishes that you begged from the star / They will come true”
“After the Storm”, Kali Uchis feat. Tyler the Creator and Bootsy Collins
Colombian-American songstress Kali Uchis glides across the funkadelic production of “After the Storm” with the help of rapper, Tyler the Creator and funk legend, Bootsy Collins. This empowering anthem showcases Uchi’s strength as she pushes positivity in the face of adversity and difficult times. Fitting!
Lyrical Gem: “No one’s gonna save you now / So you better save yourself”
The innocent genuineness of “Softly” is apparent from the first few notes of the song. Singer-songwriter Clairo confesses her newfound love for a girl while battling her own insecurity as a bisexual teen in this purehearted cut from her debut album Immunity. She describes the unbottled fascination that comes with fresh, teenage love alongside a desire to be close. Clairo found herself irrevocably falling in love with this mystery girl while we find ourselves falling in love with this gem of a love song.
Lyrical Gem: “Know that it isn’t right, but you could be my one and only”
“Girl”, Maren Morris
A year after 2018’s “The Middle,” Maren Morris returned to the limelight with the country pop “Girl.” “Girl” sees Morris at her most powerful as she confidently reassures girls around the world of their strength and power in an equally confident chorus. In a world of constant comparison and competition, “Girl” transcends beyond its target audience and touches the hearts of many more (especially myself). For a cathartic release, sing along with the last chorus – your heart will thank you later.
Lyrical Gem: “If vanity’s my vitamin, well, I don’t feel the difference”
“Night Changes”, One Direction
In one of the most innovative music videos ever (source: me – a diehard Directioner), One Direction takes out their fans on personal dates that unfortunately go awry. Despite the unfortunate events that occur (cut to Harry Styles losing his balance on the ice), the soothing pop tune reminds us that everything will be okay, especially their relationship with you (the viewer). “Night Changes” sees One Direction at one of their most mature points, contemplating about the troublesome present and the need for an optimistic future.
Lyrical Gem: “Even when the night changes, it will never change me and you”