This year, more than any other year, has been one of much exploration and discovery, both in and out, but also through a universe of music, poetry, meaning. Putting together a new curated playlist each month, with songs that tell a story and shape up a theme, has been nothing short of wonder and creative drive.
I loved every minute of it, but some minutes I kinda loved more :)) Here’s a selection of 20 songs (a very appropriate number for 2020), picked from all the 7 editions of LAUREL Monthly Soundlust I’ve published here. Hope you enjoy (re)listening to them.
20. What the World Needs Now is Love, by Stacey Kent
A relaxing tune, with a sweet and mellow melody, perfect for accompanying the silent nights, with a very clear and simple message: we have enough challenges and troubles in this life, we only need love, more love.
“Lord, we don’t need another mountain / There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb […] What the world needs now is love, sweet love / It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of”.
19. Old Pine, by Ben Howard
One of my favorite road tripping songs, “Old Pine” makes me feel like I’m always indulging in the sweetness of a summer day, as I take the road towards a new adventure.
18. Hello, Dolly, by Louis Armstrong
The jingle-y rhythm and the smile you could sense in Mr. Armstrong’s singing kinda turn you into a playful Sunday homebody, dancing around the house and wearing nothing but an oversized t-shirt and the fluffiest of socks you can sweep the floors with. At least that was my cinematic adaptation of the song when I included it in “Timefulness”, this December’s edition of the LAUREL Monthly Soundlust.
17. Rise Up, by Imagine Dragons
When you feel like you’ve had enough of lingering around and want to get back into your dream-doing vibe, this song might want to meet you karaoking it in the mirror. Let’s go, let’s get it!
16. A Million Dreams, by Ziv Zaifman, Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams
What a beautiful thing, to listen to this boy’s voice singing out “They can say, they can say it all sounds crazy / They can say, they can say I’ve lost my mind / I don’t care, I don’t care, so call me crazy / We can live in a world that we design”.
Cheers to dreaming great dreams and stay truthful to our calling, “however big, however small”.
15. Into the Wild, by Shylah Ray Sunshine
When I hear the percussion opening this song, followed by the intro and then by soft drum beats, suddenly my mind travels to a campsite, surrounded by nature and gathered around the fire with kindred spirited folks. A gang of fellow soulcrafters and changemakers.
14. From the Ground Up, by Wildlight
Beautiful and powerful lyrics, to remind us how we’re the builders, the creators, the tableturners of our lives and, by extension, of the world. “In this life, we see so many things and / Sometimes our heart may start to bleed a bit / I choose this life I’m gonna lead and / I must give my hands / To make it.”
13. Little Wonders, by Rob Thomas
At the end of such a crazy year, this song simply makes me weep with relief. “Let it go, the hardest part is over.” I sure hope so, my goodness, how I hope so.
12. The Whole of the Moon, by The Waterboys
This one was a real mood booster back in the bittersweet summer of 2020, amid days of feeling less bubbly and creative. When I think back, I remember the day I was totally obsessed over this song, with a whole new energy, and thought “my God, this needs its own playlist”. I guess that’s how “Sunflower” was born – out of my own (re)turning towards the sun.
11. Fix You, by Coldplay
An intensely emotional choice, “Fix you” has gone through so many interpretations during the years I’ve listened to it. This time, “Home” was the theme that gave it a sense of redemption, of utter vulnerability, in times when the entire world was hurting inside out.
10. River, by Leon Bridges
My all-time anthem. My remedy and my joy, “River” has been with me through my highs and lows, so including it in the “Rebirth” collection was my homage to everything it has given me through the years.
9. More than We Know, by Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys has a very special way of building you up with amazing energy through meaningful lyrics and some sort of unspoken kinship. This song is such a beautiful ode to our creative spirit and to our human-to-human connection.
8. I’m Still Here, by Femke
When I first heard this song, these verses spoke volumes to me: “I found no rest in all the dreams that I was chasing / And I lost myself in the schemes and expectation / The road ahead is never clear / But there is no way I’ll just disappear / I’m still here”, thinking about what I was leaving behind (my old writing project) and the journey I was newly embarking on.
7. Bluebird, by Alexis Ffrench
An extraordinary instrumental piano tune, so pure and comforting, it rests like a beacon of hope on our tense shoulders and delivers us some kind of reassurance that it’ll all be good again.
6. Learn me Right, by Birdy feat. Mumford & Sons
“Learn me Right” brings together the eerie voice of Birdy and the instrumental sound of the talented Mumford & Sons, at the end of the 2012 animated movie “Brave”. Thank God for movies like this one, to teach little girls and boys everywhere to trust their hearts and find strength within themselves. Even if those little girls and boys aren’t so little anymore.
5. The Power is Here Now, by Alexia Chellun
A song like a prayer, perfect to guide us through our inner journey and well-being practices.
4. Call it Dreaming, by Iron & Wine
Warm and gentle, a true companion of adventures taken slowly and purposefully.
3. 93 Million Miles, by Jason Mraz
The first song from the “Home” collection, this ballad from Jason Mraz is like an evocation for all the people we are missing and calling them home. Soft and full of loving energy, it’s been one of my favorites, especially during these past months.
2. Light of Love, by Florence + The Machine
Light & Love – two of the things I wish our lives would be filled more of. This ode to our spirit, always caught in some sort of struggle and search for “the right thing”, reminds us to stay humble and look for strength in the love that’s inside ourselves.
1. Be Still, by The Killers
Originally from “Rebirth”, #1 LAUREL Monthly Soundlust (June edition) and also included in “Courage” (#6)
One might say I have a special preference for “Rebirth”. It’s because I kinda do. It is, secretly, my personal favorite of all seven collections so far. The reason for that is because the whole process of making the playlist, choosing the songs, was super-charged with the emotions of the beginning that have been stored for a very long time before I launched LAUREL.
However, to this day, there hasn’t been a song (excepting “River”, by L. Bridges) that brought so much… SO MUCH to my soul like “Be still” has. I’ve told this story before, but this one basically holds my breaking out of my shell, my sense of purpose, my victory against doubt, my soundtrack in a moment that I will hardly ever forget. So yeah, this year, “Be Still”, by The Killers, is my number one.
This list ended up being a bit more personal than intended, but I’m actually very grateful to have encountered such inspiring music in my journey so far and extremely happy to have this platform to share it on.
What do you think of the selection? And what other songs stuck with you from 2020 Monthly Soundlusts? Share them in a comment below or on Instagram Stories, using #LaurelMonthlySoundlust and tagging @laureljournal.