As “stay-at-homers,” most of us find ourselves trying to cope with overwhelming and challenging circumstances. I can’t think of one friend, colleague or client who isn’t suffering in some way. One positive remedy, though, is to take in the words of comfort, inspiration and wisdom from the songs on your playlist—the ones you’ve kept on it—that offer lyrics that speak to you and lift you. Sing them out loud or pick your favorite lyric(s) and post them where they will catch your eye every day (refrigerator, bathroom mirror…) to be reminded of their powerful messages.
George Harrison (my favorite, and in my opinion, the most soulful member of the Beatles) chanted melodically in many of his compositions as he went about examining the meaning of his life and what was important. He sang about the proverbial “Rising Sun,” which he referred to as a connection with a Supreme Power. For instance, in his songs “Here Comes the Sun” and “Awaiting on You All,” he talks about his Supreme Being both metaphorically and directly. His messages work for me, but how about you?
All songwriters have a message to impart.
I have listed (below) some of my favorite songs with lyrics that have spoken to me when I needed hope and optimism. I’m listening to them again now, and often find myself singing along. I’m also pulling certain lyric(s) from them and focusing on their meanings. I make it a practice to read them every day.
I am now on a crusade to ask others to send me their favorite lyric(s). Once I receive them, my goal is to make a mural of this collection and paper a wall with them. Make sure you find songs that comfort and inspire you; ones that give you hope.
For now, I’d like to share some songs where I have found “pearls of wisdom”:
1. “Let it Be”: When I find myself in times of trouble/Mother Mary comes to Me/Speaking words of wisdom, let it be…there will be an answer, let it be. Sir Paul McCartney let the hook in the song “Let It Be,” continue on repetitively. While many people probably feel inspired by the song as a prayer and a tribute to the Blessed Virgin Mary, McCartney says the song was about his mother (whose name was Mary) who had already passed, but came to him in a dream. He says she relayed the message to him in so many words: There will be an answer, let it be as he was navigating some troubled times.
2. “I Will Survive”: Written by Dino Fekaris and Freddie Perren, this was a chart-topping hit for Gloria Gaynor in 1978. Fekaris writes about being fired from Motown as a staff writer after seven years. He said the song, used in an earlier film that no one remembers, was really a female empowerment anthem about moving on after a bad relationship. He took that as an omen and a personal message that he would survive as a songwriter! The words to the chorus go: Do you think I’d crumble/ Did you think I would lay down and die?/ Oh no, not I/ I will survive/ Oh as long as I know how to love/ I know I’ll stay alive/ I’ve got all my life to live…I will survive.
3. “Imagine”: Every line of the lyric of this John Lennon solo classic should resonate heavily with all of us, remind us that we are one in fighting Covid-19 as everyone around the world strives for a positive outcome. This passage is my favorite: You may say I’m a dreamer/ but I’m not the only one /I hope someday you will join us/ And the world will live as one. As we all know, this song is universal. Its message, evergreen.
4. “Happy”: This global smash was written by Pharrell Williams for Gru, the grumpy character in the animated film Despicable Me (2). The lyrics are a statement by Gru shortly after he finds love. I think we all can sing this loudly. I think most of us find it nearly impossible not to tap a foot or jump up and dance to it. Here are his words: Here come bad news, talking this and that/ (Yeah) Well, give me all you got, and don't hold it back/ (Yeah) Well, I should probably warn you I'll be just fine/ (Yeah) No offense to you, don't waste your time/ Here's why…Because I'm happy/ Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof/ Because I'm happy/ Clap along…, etc. The 2014 smash hit embodies an upbeat and unstoppable vibe, one that I think can change any downtrodden mood in an instant. We all need that now.
5. “Bridge Over Troubled Water”: When you’re weary/ Feeling small/ When tears are in your eyes/ I will dry them all. Those poignant words written by Paul Simon in 1969 were a result of his angst over the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, as well as his sadness over the ongoing Vietnam War. Simon was looking to provide solace to many with the chorus: Like a bridge over troubled waters/ I will lay me down. I think each of us has a “bridge” in our lives—a “go-to” person to help us deal with and get beyond a difficult time. Who is your “bridge” person? Celebrate him/her and let him/her know they are appreciated. If feeling super-isolated, connect with them every day. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” remains a staple in many people’s musical libraries. It is definitely a choice pick when times are tough.
6. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”: Written in 1939 by Harold Arlen (music) and Yip Harburg (lyrics) for the film The Wizard of Oz. This 81- year-old ballad never goes out of style. It is one of the most recognized songs of all time. Here is what Judy Garland said about it. “‘Over the Rainbow’” has become part of my life. It's so symbolic of everybody's dreams and wishes that I'm sure that's why some people get tears in their eyes when they hear it." My favorite lyrics in that song are: Somewhere over the rainbow…/ Bluebirds fly/ And the dreams that you dare to/ Why, oh why can’t I?
Shoot me an email with one or more of your favorites, with your name and the city you live in, along with your connection to the music industry. I’m interested in learning about your choices; what inspires you. I will add them to my wall and also post them on my social media platforms. You can send your selections to: MGreen@fmbklaw.com.
Megan Green is a Certified Family Law Specialist* and Partner at Feinberg, Mindel, Brandt and Klein, LLP. Megan has been practicing family law for 16 years. Megan earned recognition by Southern California Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” from 2010-2018, and Super Lawyers from 2019-2020. She has also been selected for inclusion in the “Top 100 Up and Coming attorneys” in Southern California and the “Top 50 Up And Coming Women Attorneys” in Southern California. See fmbklaw.com.