1. “Dream” by Al Green

If you know me, you know my inclination to listen to an Al Green song, especially “Love and Happiness” or “Tired of Being Alone.” But, trust me, allowing him and his team of soft melodies to lull you to sleep in “Dream” is a soulful experience. Green’s fervent tone begs you to let the dream last a little longer. It is a starry reminiscence of a daydream you aren’t willing to let go of. The fuzzy intermission in the middle of the song truly feels like you have fallen asleep, and are shortly awakened by a mellow, shimmering guitar solo before the song fades to an end. 

  1. “By Your Side” by Sade

Sade sings about a true and unwavering love, effortlessly crafting my future wedding song before I’ve even experienced the feeling she refers to. Best enjoyed on a rainy day, this ballad feels like a warm hug from someone you trust to protect your heart. Sade has perfected the art of creating a unique vibe for each song on her album, “Lovers Rock,” while maintaining the rhythmic tone and acoustics that are true to her. My favorite part of this song, aside from her balmy serenade, is the faint squeak from the strings of her guitar in the background.

  1. “Charlene” by Anthony Hamilton

This song is my childhood — a song that my mom, sister and I have absent-mindedly harmonized in the car since I was too little to appreciate its beauty. It’s the kind of song you wake up to on Sunday morning that lets you know you’re going to spend the next few hours cleaning the house. Hamilton’s smooth falsetto is a well-added bonus to the story he tells. It blends delicately throughout the chorus, as if you’re given an opportunity to hear Hamilton’s pleas with Charlene to come home to him after he neglected her love. Despite his neglect, he knows she’ll return.

  1. “Tears Dry (Original Version)” by Amy Winehouse

The emotional connection I have to the meaning of this song has transformed throughout my life. What began as an addition to my appreciation for the enigma that is Winehouse, ended as a relation to lyrics I never figured I’d be old enough to understand. The only person who loves Winehouse’s music more than me is my mom, who introduced me to the artist at a young age. This song emulates strength in the face of heartbreak. It’s picking yourself up after someone else broke you, or as Winehouse puts it, letting your tears dry on their own. 

  1. “This Feeling” by Alabama Shakes

I’ve grown so fond of the warm and euphonious melodies of Brittany Howard’s unique tone that I have a hard time focusing every time this song plays through my headphones. Something about the emotions she bares to her audience, through a collection of harmonies and poetry-like whispers, feels familiar to me. On my best day, this song glosses my eyes with tears and reminds me of how it feels to try my hand at happiness. It mirrors the reality of struggling with depression or sadness, but knowing that you will eventually come out on the other side.


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