To some, this may be a romantic love song, while to others, it's about finding the joy in life again. Songs with opportunities for interpretation like this one are some of the best. I also had to add this song, because it's so different and so much more upbeat than most of Coldplay's singles, so it just fit with the rest on the list.
After The Fire by Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
After breaking away from the Jack's Mannequin project, Andrew McMahon released an EP called The Pop Underground. This song is about new beginnings (like a lot of the songs on this playlist), and specifically aligns with his starting a new chapter of life after going into remission, settling down with his wife, and creating a new musical project that became Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness.
This song is kind of part of a trilogy—the other two songs being One Less Heart To Break (which I included on my Songs About Mental Illness playlist, also for Shattering Stigmas) and Second Family. If you listen to them in the order they came out, it's a story of being in a terrible place, finding friends who feel like family, and finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and knowing you're going to be okay.
Change by Taylor Swift
Yes, this song dates back to 2008, aka country-Taylor. Bear with me. She wrote this song to illustrate the trust she put into Big Machine Records, which was a tiny label of only about a dozen employees when she joined it at age 16. Not many people took her music or her career seriously, but she kept pushing and eventually things changed. I mean, no matter what your opinion of her is, you have to admit, she's found a whole heck of a lot of fame since 2006, when her career officially began.
Do Or Die by Thirty Seconds To Mars
Jared Leto has explained in interviews that this song is somewhat of a sequel to Closer To The Edge, a single from an earlier album. The music video for the song features interviews with people all over Europe explaining why music is important to them and how it saves lives.
Her first single ever, Florence says about this song, "[I]t was the first thing that I'd composed myself. There was no motive, or ego. And when I heard it without any guitar, and it was the right sound. It became this big kind of layered opus. And it sounded exciting."
Emperor's New Clothes by Panic! at the Disco
In a sense, this song is marking a new beginning for Brendon Urie. After all, the first line is "Welcome to the end of eras." In this song and the album that comes with it, he's redefining himself and Panic! at the Disco (which even he admits is pretty much the same thing at this point.)
Here I Go by Jesse & Joy
This song is actually a translation (or a dub?) of Aquí Voy by the same artist. This was released on their self-titled album which is their self-introduction to the English-speaking music industry. The song is about one of those days when nothing's going right, but you still keep going.
The first single off their most recent album, One Foot is about taking the first step, taking a chance. On Genius.com, WALK THE MOON posted, "The image of the desert is huge for us on this record. The desert is this empty space where you have nothing, this place of desolation, or you can see it as the start: it’s a blank canvas, the birthplace of everything. It’s the idea of putting one foot in front of the other and seeing that expanse of unknown, of nothingness, of total uncertainty, and moving [forward] anyway, making that choice," about the song.
Swim by Jack's Mannequin
This song's not as upbeat as most of the others on the list, but I added it more because of the message anyway. Reportedly, McMahon once said about this song at a concert, "During the middle of writing The Glass Passenger, he got really lost, stuck and had no idea how he was going to finish it. He said he was sitting down and then saw a piece of paper with 'Swim' written on it, which gave him the kickstart he needed."
"“The Greatest” is an uplifting song of support for the LGBT community in the wake of the 2016 Pulse nightclub mass shooting... It’s about the Orlando Shooting, but also about how anyone can be “the greatest” with dedication. That your value, as seen by others, should be rooted in your existence, not your gender, race, sexual identity, etc." (from Genius.com)
Work This Body by WALK THE MOON
"Lead singer Nick Petricca explains in a track-by-track commentary of the album on Spotify that the song is about following one’s passions and sticking with it, despite feeling lost. The ecstatic and clamorous beat, as he explains, is caused by the band’s addition of more than a dozen different percussion instruments into the song." (From Genius.com)
Check out the Spotify playlist here
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Want to see a complete list of the Shattering Stigmas event posts? Check out Ben's blog!