The divisiveness in the world, in our country, and even at family gatherings can sometimes make everything feel hopeless. But if your thoughts start to spiral down that dark hole, keep in mind what makes the world a magnificent place. For me and many others, music is toward the top of that list. If you’re in need of some healing, here are 7 songs that remind us the world is beautiful.
1. What a Wonderful World
The iconic song made famous by Louis Armstrong offers a sweet and simple picture of the many things that make the world beautiful: the green trees, the blue sky, the faces of children, and the love between friends.
2. Across the Universe
This dream-like Beatles classic takes the good with the bad (“Pools of sorrow waves of joy”) and weaves them all into a stunning tapestry of sensations that make up the world we try to remain grounded in. We may be bombarded with “images of broken light,” but we’re also hit with “sounds of laughter, shade of life,” and “limitless undying love.” Because of copyright issues, I can’t find a good-quality Beatles version on YouTube, but Fiona Apple’s is gorgeous as well.
To switch genres completely, let’s listen to this little gem from the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. It’s from the perspective of children and recites what happiness is for each of them–everything from telling the time, to learning to whistle, to climbing a tree, to “anyone and anything at all that’s loved by you.”
4. Heal the World
Michael Jackson was a pro at writing inspirational, healing lyrics. “Heal the World” focuses on caring enough for the living to make the world a better place and calls on us to “stop existing” and “start living.”
5. Folding Chair
Regina Spektor’s quirky little ditty joyfully notes that her feet are buried in the sand, that there’s a breeze, and that the sea is just “a wetter version of the skies.” The song has one of my favorite celebratory lines in it: “I’ve got a perfect body, though sometimes I forget/I’ve got a perfect body, cause my eyelashes catch my sweat.”
I used this Jewel song to get me through a breakup when I was 18, and now I hope you can all use it to get through your social media feed. Jewel reminds us that our hands may be small, but they’re our own, and that “where there’s a man who has no voice/There ours shall go singing.”
7. We Are the World
You can’t really put up a list like this without including “We Are the World.” It’s another Michael Jackson song, but it’s most famous for the “USA For Africa” performance recorded by a large group of legendary musicians, including Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Diana Ross, Bob Dylan, and others. How many can you name?