When you need life advice, sometimes you need look no further than to your favorite artist. They just have a way of expressing wisdom so poetically or snappily that your life can’t help but improve a little bit each time they bless you with the power of song. Herein lies a collection of the most helpful song lyrics in Literally, Darling’s collective music library.
Bonnie Rait, “I Can’t Make You Love Me”
I can’t make you love me if you don’t
Simple, but true.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Can’t Stop”
Can’t stop the spirits when they need you,
This life is more than just a read through
Carpe diem, darlings.
Lauryn Hill, “Doo Wop (That Thing)”
Don’t be a hard rock when you really are a gem
Babygirl, respect is just a minimum
Niggas fucked up and you still defending them
Now Lauryn is only human
Don’t think I haven’t been through the same predicament
This whole song is Lauryn laying down some realtalk about respecting yourself, but I particularly like this part where she explains she’s learning from her mistakes.
Lykke Li, “Dance, Dance, Dance”
Having trouble telling how I feel
But I can dance, dance, dance
Couldn’t possibly tell you how I mean
but I can dance, dance, dance
Proof that a dance party can right all wrongs.
Christina Aguilera/Lil Kim, “Can’t Hold Us Down”
Here is something I just can’t understand
If a guy have three girls then he’s the man
He can even give her some head and sex her raw
But if a girl do the same then she’s a whore. (…)
To all my girls with a man that be tryna mack
Do it right back to him and let that be that.
I not-so-secretly love Lil’ Kim because she was one of the first to overtly glorify sex from a female perspective. Have as much sex as you want to have and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Stevie Nicks, “Landslide”
Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changing ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Mmm, mmm, mmm
Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older and I’m getting older too
We’re growing, we’re changing, we are saying goodbyes we never thought we would and with each season of life, things become different: embrace the seasons of your life.
John Mayer, “Stop This Train”
Had a talk with my old man
Said help me understand
He said turn 68, you’ll renegotiate
Don’t stop this train
Don’t for a minute change the place you’re in
Don’t think I couldn’t ever understand
I tried my hand
John, honestly we’ll never stop this train”
Really good advice for control freaks who want to freeze frame life until it all makes a bit more orderly sense.
Nina Simone, “Mississippi Goddam”
You don’t have to live next to me
Just give me my equality
Sad to say that this is as true in 2015 as it was in 1964.
Billy Joel, “Vienna”
Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do and only
So many hours in a day
This song was as pertinent in high school as it is today, I’m constantly running in too many directions, terrified of standing still in fear of getting left behind.
Childish Gambino, “Sweatpants”
Don’t be mad that I’m doing me better than you doing you.
Does this have a taste of sarcasm? Yes. But we need to own what we’ve got and give ourselves the credit we deserve every now and then.
Christina Aguilera, “Fighter”
Makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter
It may suck while you’re going through it, but hardships serve to hone your mettle.
The Avett Brothers, “Murder in the City”
If I get murdered in the city
Don’t go revenging in my name
One person dead from such is plenty
No need to go get locked away
After the last year we’ve seen, we all need a little reminder that responding to hate with hate never resolves anything.
Billy Joel “Only the Good Die Young”
Well they showed you a statue-
Told you to pray.
They built you a temple and locked you away.
Ah! But they never told you the price that you’d pay.
For things that you might have done…
The classic tale for Catholic school girls everywhere, don’t blindly accept all that you’ve been told and let it make you scared to live.
Green Day, “Good Riddance”
So take the photographs and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth, it was worth all the while
Always cherish your memories, the good and the bad, because they make up the story of your life.
Bob Dylan, “The Times They Are A-Changing”
Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who that it’s namin’
For the loser now will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’
All writers, journalists, and politicians everywhere, heed these words before you leap to snap judgements.
The Fray, “Happiness”
Happiness is like an old man told me
Look for it and you’ll never find it all,
But let it go, live your life and leave it
And then one day, you’ll wake up
And she’ll be home
Don’t chase after things—especially people. If they’re meant to be in your life, they’ll come to you. If they’re not, they won’t. Simple as that.
Miranda Lambert, “Mama’s Broken Heart”
Go and fix your make up, girl, it’s just a break up
Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady
‘Cause I raised you better, gotta keep it together
Even when you fall apart
Never let’em see you bleed, ladies.
Garth Brooks, “Unanswered Prayers”
Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers
Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs
That just because he may not answer doesn’t mean he don’t care
In the moment it’s easy to be bogged down with disappointment when the things we so desperately wanted don’t come to fruition, but in hindsight, there might be a reason, there might be something better down the line just waiting for us.
Fiona Apple, “Extraordinary Machine”
Be kind to me or treat me mean
I’ll make the most of it I’m an extraordinary machine
Self-confidence should have nothing to do with anyone else.
Belle & Sebastian, “Ease Your Feet In The Sea”
Ease your feet off in the sea
My darling it’s the place to be
Take your shoes off curl your toes
And I will frame this moment in time
Simple yet lovely, this song reminds me to appreciate every moment, and let the revel in the small things.
Jason Isbell, “In a Razor Town”
Say your last goodbyes
Make them short and sweet
There ain’t no way for you to fly
With her hangin’ on your feet
Sometimes you have to let go of heavy things that are keeping you from moving forward. It could be a person, a mentality, a habit, a job. Whatever it is, don’t let it keep you from flying.
AWOLNATION, “Kill Your Heroes”
“One thing, before I graduate
Never let your fear decide your fate.”
Listen up, young graduates.
UGK, “International Players Anthem”
“Spaceships don’t come equipped with rearview mirrors”
If you’re making a big leap (in this case, getting married), just fucking do it with everything you’ve got.
Beyoncé, “Schoolin’ Life”
“You know it costs to be the boss
One day you’ll run the town
For now make your life what you decide
Baby, party til the fire marshalls shut this sucker down”
Really, this whole song feels like positive encouragement straight from the mouth of Goddess Bey herself. Regardless of age or success level or social status, Beyoncé just wants us all to be the bosses we are inside, to “raise up your glass and laugh like a mothafucka,” and enjoy the hell out of life.
Kate Nash, “Navy Taxi”
“Take your time, love ’cause you don’t have to rush
‘Cause it’s your life and it’s no one else’s, sweetheart
Don’t let someone put you in a box”
We all need to remember to not let anyone else define our lives.
Spill Canvas, “The Tide”
“And he can’t understand
How everyone goes on breathing when true love ends
His mother whispers quietly…
Heaven’s not a place that you go when you die
It’s that moment in life when you actually feel alive
So live for the moment
And take this advice, live by every word”
Because we’re all just trying to feel alive.
John Mayer, “Gravity”
“Keep me where the light is”
A reminder to not let yourself live in the darkness and despair, no matter how much the world is wearing on you.
Billy Joel, “Just The Way You Are”
“Don’t go changing, to try and please me
You never let me down before
Don’t imagine you’re too familiar
And I don’t see you anymore
I would not leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I’ll take the bad times
I’ll take you just the way you are”
You never need to change for love, you’re perfect just the way you are.
Modest Mouse, “Float On”
I backed my car into a cop car the other day
Well he just drove off sometimes life’s OK
I ran my mouth off a bit too much oh what did I say
Well you just laughed it off it was all OK
And we’ll all float on OK
And we’ll all float on anyway
Just float on ya’ll, as life goes on.
Yeasayer, “Ambling Alp”
Now kid, I know I haven’t been a perfect man
And I’ve avoided doing things I know I can
But if I’ve learned one thing to tattoo on my arm
Or burn into my thumb
It would be that
You must stick up for yourself, son
Never mind what anybody else done
Stick up for yourself, son
Never mind what anybody else done
Even after high school these words stay with me because no one outgrows the need to stand up against bullies.
Missy Elliott, “Work It”
Girls, girls, get that cash
If it’s 9-to-5 or shakin’ your ass
Ain’t no shame, ladies, do your thing
Just make sure you ahead of the game
Everybody has their own perspective and way of approaching life. As long as you’re moving forward and progressing toward being a better person and having a fuller life, it doesn’t matter how you’re doing it.
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