I don’t know,
Only God knows where the story ends for me
But I know where the story begins
It’s up to us to choose whether we win or lose
And I choose to win
These lines are from Mary J. Blige’s 2001 smash, “No More Drama” and to me they’re true words of wisdom. It’s one of those songs that I always find inspirational whenever I listen to it, which is another reason why I love music so much. Some of my favorite types of songs are the ones that motivate me with insightful or encouraging lyrics.
Over the years I’ve come to know many such songs that always lift my spirits when I listen to them. One of the first pieces I ever published was about how Heather Small’s “Proud” worked to motivate a whole classroom of students (check it out here). Herein is a collection of tunes that always lift me up whenever I hear them. They each carry powerful messages of life, love and the pursuit of happiness. To me, they’re the best types of songs out there.
No More Drama – Mary J. Blige
Mary J. Blige has come a long way since her early days of hip hop soul. Through the years, she’s lived through a lot of heartache and pain and taken us for the ride. As she matured, she started to take those experiences and learn from them, sharing her newfound knowledge with some fantastic pieces of music. This song, off of her 2001 album of the same name, came out when the singer was just beginning to share what she’d learned through her experiences. The message in the song is strong and its clear, and fans responded with great appreciation.
The song is set to the piano accompaniment of “Nadia’s Theme” and puts away the painful experiences of failed relationships once and for all. It’s a new awakening for her, and a new found awareness that it’s all about one’s attitude toward life and the lyrics are indeed words to live by! Check out the video for “No More Drama” here.
Just Fine – Mary J. Blige
This up tempo song off of Mary’s 2007 album “Growing Pains” is a feel-good song about being positive and happy in your own life:
So I like what I see when I’m looking at me
When I’m walking past the mirror
No stress through the night, at a time in my life
Ain’t worried about if you feel it
Got my head on straight, I got my mind right
I ain’t gonna let you kill it
You see I wouldn’t change my life, my life’s just fine
Check out the uplifting video for “Just Fine” here .
Don’t Stop Believin – Journey
This classic song from rock band Journey enjoyed immense popularity three times, first as a top ten hit off of their 1981 album “Escape”, then twice more in the late 2000’s when it was featured in the closing scene to the hit HBO series “The Sopranos” and then performed by the cast of Glee. Though the story in the song itself doesn’t invoke shiny happy feelings, the simple tag of the chorus makes anybody want to believe! Check out the original video for “Don’t Stop Believin” here.
Beautiful – Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera’s fifth #1 hit is also one of the most motivational songs ever recorded. The song is tender and very uplifting, celebrating the beauty that lies within all of us:
You are beautiful no matter what they say
Words can’t bring you down
You are beautiful in every single way
Yes, words can’t bring you down
Don’t you bring me down today
Enjoy “Beautiful” here.
True Colors – Cyndi Lauper
This beautiful song came off of Cyndi Lauper’s sophomore album of the same name and became a worldwide smash for its moving lyrics and tender melody. The theme of the song is much like Christina’s “Beautiful”, celebrating that which makes each of us special in the world.
I see your true colors
I see your true colors
and that’s why I love you
so don’t be afraid to let them show
your true colors
true colors are beautiful
like a rainbow
It doesn’t get more tender than that! Check out the video for “True Colors” here.
Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten
These words inspire the individuality and power that’s within all of us to create the lives we lead. The lyrics encourage us all to experience life to the fullest as we write our own stories. It’s the very embodiment of the American Dream; the ideal that we have the freedom and the liberty to control our own destiny. The words and the music compel us to sing along, whether out loud or in our heads, but it never ceases to inspire! Watch the video for “Unwritten” here.
Beauty in the World – Macy Gray
I first heard this song during the closing credits to the series “Ugly Betty” and immediately recognized that familiar raspy voice. Once the song got to the chorus I found myself tapping my feet and by the time it had finished I was already singing along. It’s simply a feel-good song! Check it out here.
Proud – Heather Small
Heather Small is the former lead singer of the band MPeople, and this song was the first single off her first solo album of the same name. It was this song that I had written about earlier that motivated a classroom full of students during what is still one of my most moving moments as an educator. The song’s simple tag gives listeners all the motivation they need:
What have you done today to make you feel proud?
Check out this uplifting song right here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed a look at some of the songs that work the magic that only music can. The songs contained herein have all work to inspire, motivate and move me into action for the betterment of my life; so that I can appreciate the world I live in and try to live my life to the fullest. Take a listen to some of them. They just might do the same for you! Stay tuned for more.