Music is a universal language with the ability to inspire us and instantly change our mood. HandsOn Suburban Chicago will be publishing playlists to help people get through this uniquely challenging time.
Disclaimer: This blog post contains quoted profanity. The songs on this playlist that contain explicit language, which may not be suitable for all listeners, are noted as such.
At 6:45 AM, the daily reminder to grab my coffee before I leave the house still buzzes on my phone. These days I’m more concerned with remembering something to cover my face in the event I even make it outside. Adjusting to this new normal isn’t easy, and that’s okay. Our lives changed instantly, upending many habits that took years to build. If you’re struggling, like me, to establish a new routine and adapt to lockdown life, here’s a playlist to get your day started off on the right note.
1. The Beatles, “Here Comes the Sun”
Sometimes the hardest part of being cooped up is pulling the covers off and taking that first step out of bed. This George Harrison-penned classic has everything I want when I wake up: a gentle, plucky guitar; pleasant harmonies; and hopeful lyrics. No song does a better job of capturing the sense of renewal that spring brings with it—recent snowfall notwithstanding. Let go of what you didn’t get done yesterday. Move on from the depressing headlines you read. We are one day closer to getting through this mess. The sun is shining. Get up, open the curtains, and take a look. You might even feel inspired to make your bed.
2. OutKast, “So Fresh, So Clean” [Explicit Language]
When I roll out of bed and immediately sit down at my laptop, I feel like crap the rest of the day. Resist the urge to do this; there’s a good chance you won’t accomplish half of what you set out to do. Instead, blast this suave duet from Big Boi and Andre 3000. Then, hop in the shower, brush your teeth, and get dressed. When you look good, you feel good. You’ll be ready to tackle the day with the confidence of someone who can rock this furry bowler hat to the Grammys.
3. Chance the Rapper & The Social Experiment, “Wonderful Everyday: Arthur”
Yes, I was searching for a Chance song to include some local flavor. But his uniquely jubilant voice really does animate the earnest lyrics of the Arthur theme song, making it the perfect track to pair with your morning coffee. Take a sip and write down one thing you’re grateful for. Remember: “Believe in yourself, as that’s the place to start.”
Shout-out to the Lunch Buddies I work with at Plainfield Elementary School who are big fans of the Arthur books!
4. Bee Gees, “Stayin’ Alive”
“Everybody struggles against the world, fighting all the bullshit and things that can drag you down. And it really is a victory just to survive.” Whether you remember the Bee Gees, or are more familiar with SNL’s The Barry Gibb Talk Show, “You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.” As the Brothers Gibb question “The New York Times’ effect on man,” be wary of overconsuming the news these days. It certainly isn’t going to lift your spirits. Instead, start moving to get your blood flowing. “I’m a dancing man,” as you’ll see from the rest of songs on this playlist.
5. Kygo & Whitney Houston, “Higher Love”
This soulful Whitney Houston cover of Steve Winwood’s 1986 Billboard No. 1 describes the Sisyphean task of trying to make sense of all the things happening in the world right now. Thankfully, you don’t have to look any further than your fellow citizens to reinvigorate your faith in humanity. The new production done by Norwegian dance-pop wunderkind Kygo transforms the track into a modern hit by chopping up Houston’s vocals and layering them over bouncy synths. This song is so addictive that it will have your head bobbing while you read your emails.
6. Fleetwood Mac, “Don’t Stop”
When every task starts to seem monumental and every challenge insurmountable, having an idea of where you want to be in the future might give you a sense of purpose. Purpose can help propel you to get through this slump. Once you can envision where you want to be, jot down the steps necessary to realize your future self, and take things one at a time, a day at a time.
7. Duck Sauce, “Smiley Face”
You thought there was going to be only one disco song? Wrong! “Make someone feel happy today”! By helping others, we help ourselves. The hook on this track complements our tagline at HandsOn Suburban Chicago: Connecting people with purpose. Small acts, like texting a friend you haven’t talked to in a while or calling your parents, can have a major impact. If you’re feeling up to it, volunteer and take action to solve some of the social issues highlighted by the pandemic. By the way, have you filled out the census yet?
8. Avicii, “Levels”
I know, it’s a fratty college anthem. But its combination of an Etta James sample with a simple, upbeat melody makes “Levels” the catchiest dance track of this past decade. It even works backwards! If this doesn’t get stuck in your head, I don’t know what will. I’ve got a “good feeling” about today, and I think you will too after listening to this one.
9. Lizzo, “Good as Hell Ft. Ariana Grande” [Explicit Language]
A certified anthem, this song isn’t just for spurned lovers. It’s about taking on the world with moxie, armed with self-love. “Go on, dust your shoulders off, keep it moving.” It may be hard, but “you have to try.” If you’ve made it this far, you must be “Feelin’ good as hell.”
I hope this playlist gets you excited to get out of bed and seize the day. Share this blog, and let everyone know which songs you would add to make it your own.
If you enjoyed what you read, please leave us a $5 tip. Your donation is essential to the survival of HOSC, which amplifies the reach of local disaster volunteerism efforts while providing long-term K-12 education and aging-at-home services to those most in need.
- Playlists with Purpose: Songs to Help You Establish a Morning Routine during COVID-19 - April 17, 2020
- 6 Easy Service Learning Lessons to Do with Middle School Kids While at Home - March 18, 2020
- Wheeling Middle School Students Advocate for Social Change - February 13, 2020