June 23, 2024

I was recently reminded that I am never alone in my strafes, no matter how thick of a torment I wrap myself up into. That thought sets me free, whether I am beside a trusted friend or have my headphones sitting comfortably in my ears. Here are five songs, new and old, that help me feel like a newly free woman.

“Dancing in the Dark”—Lucy Dacus

For the person that introduced me to Dacus, I thank you. I am now hypnotized by her soft yet strong voice. Dacus’ cover of Bruce Springsteen’s popular 80’s hit really speaks to the inner depressed voice. While the song itself is about depression, Dacus’ new modern take on the song really allows me to not feel down, but like I’m going up right along with the tempo of the beats. The spark is within me, and I can admit that I did dance in the dark to this beautiful rendition.

“I Always Knew”—The Vaccines

The wonders of love rip at me. When I hear the chugging of the bass, I am drawn into the words. Most would say that it’s a love song, and I can see it with how all the words are directed towards a special someone. However, I see it as a love that didn’t work out. It seems more delicate then, more beautiful in a hopeless, devastating way. The upbeat instrumentation pairs wonderfully with the sorrowful words, altogether lifting me into a fleeting spirit. I take the song as advice more than anything, really. When it goes, “I’m hanging on to what I don’t know, so let’s go to bed, before you say something real”, I let go. I let go of what I don’t know, and I sleep, free of unanswered questions.

“Gotta Get Away”—The Black Keys

I have to admit, this one just gets me up and moving. I mean, most songs from The Black Keys do, and maybe that’s the Akron girl in me talking, but they do. And the lyrics match my mood so perfectly because “now I can’t stay”. Gosh, the song seems so classic at times for the band, yet it breaks barriers on the guitar side of things. The sad tones of an ended relationship hang in the air, yet again, the upbeat riffs of that guitar echo for longer than a few seconds, drawing me to hit replay. This song pairs perfectly with my mindset: driving down the highway toward a new experience away from toxic auras, completely and truly free.

“Box Full of Letters”—Wilco

Delving now deep into my Spotify and going back years, I pull out this hell of a song once again just to appreciate Jeff Tweedy’s writing and his angsty voice that just is so relatable. The words seem to describe a relationship of some sort, but in reality, it’s more of a self-versus-self scenario. From its record, “A.M.”, one of the most quoted lyrics really drives into mindfulness: “Just can’t find the time to write my mind the way I want it to read”. And truly, other than this song being an absolute bop and jam, this whole year has caused my mind has felt like that. But just this past week, it’s cleared up, and this song really reminds me of the personal growth I’ve done and how strong I’ve had to be.

“Try Everything”—Shakira

Well, my love for Disney songs never fails me at any moment. They always lift me up and make me feel better than I did three minutes and 16 seconds ago. I interpret the lyrics as if they’re just for me, telling me to take a deep breath, not beat myself up and that I did my best. I feel like I can fly when I hear Shakira’s voice bounce up and up. That lift is exactly what keeps me going to start again “even though I could fall”. Confidence blooms and I see myself stronger than ever despite the deep pains I’ve endured these past few months. I’ve always told myself that I persevere, and with this song pumping through my soul, I know that I can try and accomplish everything.

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