A year ago I made a playlist for this occasion called “Peace, Love, & Changing The World.”
I wasn’t quite that enterprising this year. I would like to share last year’s list once again so that you may all feel the vibrations of love, peaceful energy, and inspiration that emanate out of these songs.
What a Wonderful World
What I love so much about this song is when Louis Armstrong sings,
“I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world”
I love to think about how our children will know so much more than we will. Gen Z’s depth of knowledge and potential for understanding our world will far exceed all generations who came before, just as we millennials have surpassed the generations before us. It’s the way it is and the way it will always be.
Another song just bursting with lovingkindness. Andy Grammer and LunchMoney Lewis get to the real heart of love in their songwriting. Who truly teaches us love? It is our mother, and our father. Andy’s mother instilled him with a profound love for all humanity, and a desire to share that love unconditionally with the world.
When I first heard the Alternate Routes and Lily Costner harmonizing these verses on the radio, it went through me. I could do nothing but hang on breathlessly to every syllable. My favorite line is “The danger’s in the anger and the hanging on to it.” Anger is the antithesis of love. If there is anything that holds us back from embracing goodness in the world, it is anger. A fake Buddha quote says it poignantly: “Anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Humble and Kind
When I heard this song by Tim McGraw, I was still a megalomaniac, so I had no trouble imagining a future where I had made it big, but still held onto my roots and my humanity. It is a beautiful testament to balancing pride with humility.
This song is more about motivation to persevere through a challenge than the true heart of love, but love is an integral part of everything good in this world. Whether it is the steady climb and inevitable falls of building a small business, or a battle with Lyme’s disease, we can all relate to struggles in our lives and how it takes some hard love to overcome.
I think anyone will agree, Pentatonix is always a pleasure to listen to. This modern a cappella group has paid beautiful homage to John Lennon’s golden oldie. If you haven’t seen their music video, it’s worth checking out.
Ah Bob Marley. Whether you are a reggae fan or not, you’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard One Love. It’s not its lyrics alone that make this song radiate love, peace, and changing the world. It is its sweet, gentle cadence that takes us to a lullaby land of amity, trust, and brotherly love.
Stand By You
Life is hard for all of us at one time or another. Rachel Platten’s song is a powerful reminder that lending a hand (or a pair of wings, apparently), to our sisters and brothers in need is simply part of what it means to be human.
What About Now
Why do I feel like pulling a song from 2006 almost makes it an oldie? Man I feel old. Gold millennials will remember this song from their youth. I was a freshman in college when it came out. This song emulates the pure power of love in both its words and music. Every time I hear it, it washes over me.
Our capacity to love and our will to do good in the world can come from the example of our loving mother, but not all of us have mothers like Andy Grammer. It sounds like Imagine Dragons didn’t. Their conviction comes from pain, and through it they came to understand their power.
Just Like Fire
This song is about being ourselves in a world that values predictability and rewards conformity. I love the metaphor of fire. It is one of the reasons we are gold millennials. Gold is tested in fire. Fire reveals the purity of gold. We may have been through the fire, but we came out pure. Just like fire, we can be strong, powerful, and burn down the forces of injustice and corruption in this world.
A playlist about changing the world would not be complete without this song. Rachel belts out her courage and confidence in a call to action that rises like a phoenix from hardship and pain. We all have this power. A single match can make an explosion.
Someday we’ll have it all figured out, right? Humans are a stubborn species, but we also evolve.
Om Mani Padme Hum
This is my absolute favorite rendition of Om Mani Padme Hum, a mantra of compassion chanted 108 times by Tibetans Buddhist monks. The purpose is to purify negative karma, and metaphysically expand and spread our own goodness out into the world.
I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s blog post in honor of International Peace Day! But I hope you continue to enjoy this playlist for many more years to come. May peace be with you on this day, and all days.