In response to today’s Discover Prompt, I’m going to outline a music playlist which helps to keep me sane and grounded during lockdown. I know lots of people have been making and sharing playlists with friends and family in an effort to keep cheerful and stay connected. This playlist is for my WordPress family, and anyone who might be in need of a little inspiration… (I’m sharing song details from Amazon Music, but if you’re not a member, you may be able to find alternative versions on YouTube.)
- ‘Homeless’ – Paul Simon feat. Ladysmith Black Mambazo. As my family and I have moved 6 times in the last five years, I don’t really feel I have a special place to call home. Except maybe the Lake District, a place where I like to go in my head to find peace, hence ‘the moonlight sleeping on the midnight lake.’ A lovely, calming composition oozing harmony, which helps me appreciate my spiritual home.
- ‘I think It’s Going to Rain Today’ – Randy Newman. This one’s just a little bit sarcastic. I think this lockdown brings out the best and worst in people. When the neighbours complained about the noise the kids were making after having endured six weeks of total lockdown, I played this one full volume for their benefit: ‘Human kindness is overflowing/And I think it’s going to rain today.’ Indeed.
- ‘Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing’ – Stevie Wonder. It’s easy to do some excessive worrying during this crisis. But this song always cheers me up and reminds me that worrying doesn’t really solve anything, it only blocks out happiness and peace of mind: ‘you’re the only one to see/the changes you put yourself through.’ Sometimes we put ourselves through much unnecessary pain.
- ‘Make Me a Channel of Your Peace.’ – Westminster Abbey Choir. Sometimes, I get angry. Sometimes, I get very angry. I have a bad temper, I’ll admit it. This song helps me calm down, and remember how I ought to behave. More to the point, it’s absolutely beautiful: the final verse is like listening to a choir of angels singing: I challenge you to listen and not be moved.
- Blackbird – the Beatles. This is one I like to play on the guitar. I learned it when I was 16, and used to drive my friends crazy spending hours trying to master the slide in the introduction. After a 20-something year break, I picked up my son’s guitar during lockdown and found that I could still play it. It’s about unrealised potential finally being set free: ‘all your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise…’ Maybe now’s the time for everyone to unleash their hidden potential.
- Hi-De-Ho Carole King. This has always been something of an anthem for me. It’s about not taking other people’s shit and setting yourself free. I think it’s also about the triumph of recovering from any damaging addiction or obsession.
- Border Song (Holy Moses) – Aretha Franklin. Written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, Aretha’s version is truly electrifying. And it speaks to me now in particular because of the lines: ‘Holy Moses, can we live in peace?/Let us try to find a way/To make all hatred cease.’ If ever there were a time to try to do that, it would be now.
- Folsom Prison Blues – Johnny Cash. Another great song for strumming along to on the guitar of an evening, though I’ll never be able to replicate The Man in Black’s bass baritone. We’re all probably feeling a bit like we’re in prison now, but hopefully we don’t need to drink water from a tin cup…
- I Want To Break Free – Queen. This is a favourite of mine to play in the car when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed with lockdown and I need to break away: ‘I want to break free…and go to Lidl!’ Any port in a storm, as they say…
- I Wish I Knew How it Would Feel to Be Free – Nina Simone. This is another electrifying blues/gospel number. It’s always resonated with me because I find it difficult to break down the barriers of my own inhibitions and reach out to people. So I’ll let Nina Simone speak for me: ‘I wish I could share/All the love that’s in my heart:/Remove all the bars/That keep us apart.’ Amen and happy listening!
What’s your favourite lockdown anthem? Have you made any quarantine playlists? Please feel free to comment and share below 🙂