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2020 has been a challenging year for us all to say the least. Our realities have been turned upside down. The world feels unsettled. And this can make us all feel rattled, stressed out, and powerless.

Change is without a doubt messy and uncomfortable, and it is tempting to tune out the noise and pretend as if it’s not happening. However, for the sake of our own mental health, we have to confront change head on – and the first step in that process involves some self-reflection.

Some of the questions I have been asking myself lately are:

  • Am I doing okay?
  • How am I coping with the changes around me?
  • Is there anything I can do better?
  • Am I listening to the voices and needs of those around me?
  • Am I doing enough to respond?


I have also turned to music to help find answers to some of these questions. Here is a lighthearted playlist featuring 20 songs with profound messages about self-evaluation, change, and transformation.

The Lily-Jo Project’s Playlist for Inspiring Change


#20. “Backup” – Ripe


Change is not just uncomfortable – it can be scary. And we all need to lean on our pals for ‘backup’ from time to time. That’s why this newly released song from Ripe called “Backup” has made the 20th spot on this playlist.


If you are struggling with a negative inner voice that is holding you back – give this mellow tune a listen!


Lyrics we love:


Back-up is on the way

To fight the enemy

The fear in me

When I’m not sure about most anything

I’m not afraid to call

Backup is on the way


#19. “What’s Going On” – Marvin Gaye


“What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye is a social justice song released in 1971 in response to a police brutality incident in the United States.


This song made our list because it is not only astonishingly relevant to the current political situation, but because it promotes love and understanding as the way to conquer hate in our world.


Lyrics we love:


We don’t need to escalate

You see, war is not the answer

For only love can conquer hate

You know we’ve got to find a way

To bring some lovin’ here today, oh oh oh


Picket lines and picket signs

Don’t punish me with brutality

Talk to me, so you can see

Oh, what’s going on


#18. With My Own Two Hands – Ben Harper


“With My Own Two Hands” by Ben Harper is a reggae-inspired, folk song all about how each individual has the power to change the world. This song is a great reminder that, though they may seem small, our own individual actions can actually make a massive difference.


Lyrics we love:


I can change the world, with my own two hands

Make a better place, with my own two hands

Make a kinder place, oh with my, with my own two hands


#17. “Change” – Christina Aguilera


“Change”, a mellow pop song by Christina Aguilera, takes the 17th spot on our list. This song is a reminder about why change in our world is necessary. It is too easy to turn inward, become complacent, and ignore the immense difficulties that others face. However, by staying tuned in to what’s going on and practicing empathy, we can be more proactive individuals and change the world.


Lyrics we love:


Who you love or the colour of your skin

Or the place that you were born and grew up in

Shouldn’t decide how you will be treated

‘Cause we’re all the same when everybody’s breathing


#16. “Love Is Still the Answer” – Jason Mraz


The title of this song, “Love is Still the Answer” by Jason Mraz says it all. By listening to this song, we are reminded of how beautiful our world actually is. No matter how frustrated, down, or angry we are, the only way that we can move forward together as a society is to treat others with love, respect, and empathy.


Lyrics we love:


There’s only one answer that matters

Even if your heart has been shattered

Whatever you want, whatever you are after

Love is still the answer


#15. “Living for the City” – Stevie Wonder


“Living for the City” is a cry for change by the incredible musician, Stevie Wonder. Through his lyrics, he sheds light on the real challenges that people of colour face daily. This song teaches us that if we want the world to be a better place, we have to be honest with ourselves. We have to make an effort to recognize the faults in our own neighborhoods and communities – and most importantly, we have to listen to those who are struggling.


Lyrics we love:


I hope you hear inside my voice of sorrow

And that it motivates you to make a better tomorrow

This place is cruel nowhere could be much colder

If we don’t change the world will soon be over

Living just enough, stop giving just enough for the city


#14. “11:59” – Michael Franti and Spearhead


If you only had a few moments or days left to live, what would you do? Who would you spend it with? This song by Michael Franti and Spearhead makes us think about what’s really important, and that’s the health and wellbeing of the people of this world. It’s our collective common thread that should drive our actions and decisions – especially during times of change.


Lyrics we love:


One love, one blood, one heart, one soul and one drum and only one rhythm.

One child and all of them singin.

One life, one time, one child and only one mind and one voice,

still just one moment, six billion people and all of them singing.


#13. “Burning Gold” – Christina Perry


Burning Gold by Christina Perry is an anthem for anyone looking for a change in their own life. Whether you are coping with an addiction, toxic people, or you just simply want a better future for yourself and your family, this song is for you.


Lyrics we love:


Honey you won’t get there if you don’t believe…

I’ve had enough

I’m standing up

I need, I need a change

I’ve had enough




#12. Changes – Justin Bieber


We don’t always turn to Justin Bieber for inspiration, but “Changes” takes a raw and honest look at what it’s like to experience change and transformation in our lives. Change can make us feel vulnerable, exhausted, and overwhelmed, and sometimes we just need to take a breather. We also need to let the ones that we love know that even though we are going through changes, we still care about them.


Lyrics we love:


I just wanna be the best of me

Even though sometimes, we might disagree

So that I can be the best for you

That’s all I wanna do

I’m going through changes

I’m going through changes

Though I’m going through changes

Don’t mean that I changed


#11. “Where is the Love” – The Black Eyed Peas


“Where is the Love” by The Black Eyed Peas was a massive hit when it came out in 2003, and the message still rings true today. We are reminded through this powerful ballad that we should still look for love, positivity, and humanity even in the most difficult times. We can all do better, we just need to embrace love.


Lyrics we love:


People killin’, people dyin’

Children hurt and you hear them cryin’

Can you practice what you preach?

And would you turn the other cheek?

Father, father, father, help us

Send some guidance from above

These people got me, got me questionin’

Where is the love?


#10. “Something’s Got to Give” – Labrinth


Change doesn’t just happen overnight, it takes a lot of time and an immense amount of effort. That’s why we love this song “Something’s Got to Give” by Labrinth. It’s an upbeat song that can provide motivation when you feel like throwing in the towel.


Lyrics we love:


Gotta give a little more

Woah, yes

When the going gets tough

Gotta give a little more


#9. “Stand by You” – Rachel Platten


“Stand by You” is another powerful ballad that we love by Rachel Platten. Through these lyrics, we are reminded that it is important to stand up and stand by those who are hurting. Even if we are not personally struggling, we should listen, understand, and empathize with others – no matter how different they are from us.


Lyrics we love:


If your wings are broken

Borrow mine so yours can open too

‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you


#8. “Count on Me” – Bruno Mars


“Count on Me” by Bruno Mars is a happy, mellow tune all about the importance of reminding our friends that we are there for them when they are experiencing periods of darkness. Even if we don’t completely understand what they are going through, simply saying “I’m here for you and I support you” can make a huge difference.


Lyrics we love:


If you ever find yourself stuck in the middle of the sea,

I’ll sail the world to find you

If you ever find yourself lost in the dark and you can’t see,

I’ll be the light to guide you

Find out what we’re made of

When we are called to help our friends in need


#7. “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” – Jackie DeShannon


“Put a Little Love in Your Heart” by Jackie DeShannon is an upbeat, retro song all about the importance of simply showing love to others. We believe that living life with love and compassion is the best way to ignite real change in the world – and that’s why we’ve listed this song in our number seven spot.


Lyrics we love:


If you want the world to know

We won’t let hatred grow

Put a little love in your heart


#6. “Treat People With Kindness” – Harry Styles


“Treat People With Kindness” – found on Harry Styles’ latest album, is a simple reminder of the importance of being kind. Tensions are high in the world right now, but it is so important that we do not lose our sense of humanity. Be kind to one another, both online and in-person, and the world will be a better place.


Lyrics we love:


Maybe we can

Find a place to feel good

And we can treat people with kindness


#5. “Stand Tall” – Childish Gambino


“Stand Tall” by Childish Gambino offers us an encouraging message about standing tall and being strong in the face of adversity. We are all guilty of feeling pessimistic about the world, and this song is a great reminder that it’s okay to have dreams and to want something better for ourselves and our communities.


Lyrics we love:


Keep all your dreams, keep standing tall

If you are strong you cannot fall

There is a voice inside us all

So smile when you can


#4. “You Never Let Go” – Guvna B, Travis Greene


This upbeat anthem from Guvna B and Travis Greene reminds us that no matter what we are going through, there is always someone there supporting us and cheering us along. Oftentimes change can be stressful and isolating. Never forget that there are others out there who are on our side.


Lyrics we love:


Oh no, You never let go

Through the calm and through the storm

Oh no, You never let go

In every high and every low

Oh no, You never let go


#3. Be the Change – Lily-Jo


We couldn’t forget our own Lily-Jo for this list! Lily-Jo’s latest single, Be The Change, is an encouraging song that celebrates the power we have within ourselves to drive change. We can all feel powerless sometimes, especially when it feels like the world is spiraling out of control. However, through Lily-Jo’s lyrics, we are reminded that we can all do our part to ‘be the change’ that we want to see in the world.


Lyrics we love:


If we can stand together

then we can make it right

If we can fight the battle

Love will win it every time


#2. “Man in the Mirror” – Michael Jackson


“Man in the Mirror” is no doubt a timeless classic from pop singer/songwriter Michael Jackson. This song has a very powerful message of the importance of personal reflection. If we want to make a real difference in the world, we have to be honest with ourselves – even when it makes us feel uncomfortable.


Lyrics we love:


If you want to make the world a better place

Take a look at yourself, and then make a change


#1. “Change For Me” – Brasstracks with Samm Henshaw


“Change For Me” takes the number one spot on our list because it’s upbeat, funky, and has a super inspiring message about how we all have to cope with change in our lives. We learn from the song’s lyrics that change is inevitable, and we have to be in tune with ourselves if we want to make a real difference in our lives and in our communities.


Lyrics we love:


Maybe I’m stuck

Maybe I’m doing too much

Could have been luck

But maybe I ain’t doing enough

So safe to stay in season

As time flies so do my reasons to change for me


Follow This Playlist on Spotify!


If you’d like to listen to this full playlist, you can find it on Spotify here.

That’s a Wrap: What We’ve Learned


Through music, here are five things we’ve learned about mental health and coping with change:


  1. We should approach change from a place of love and compassion for ourselves and our communities.
  2. Taking the time to listen to other people’s stories is a crucial part of the change-making process.
  3. We must be honest with ourselves and others if we want to see real change.
  4. Small acts of kindness often make a huge difference in the lives of others, and this can have a profound impact on the world.
  5. It’s okay to lean on friends, family, and other support services when you feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.


If you would like to explore more of our resources on mental health, visit www.thelilyjoproject.com/#help for self-advice on depression, anxiety, childhood trauma, eating disorders, and so much more.


You may also enjoy our playlist on bravery! Find it on Spotify here or catch the full article on our website.


About the Author: Shelby Hale

Shelby has been with The Lily-Jo Project since October of 2018, serving as the platform’s PR and Communications Manager. Having lived in four different countries throughout her young adulthood, Shelby is passionate about the positive impact new experiences can have on mental health.


When she’s not working with The Lily-Jo Project, she supports other projects through her creative agency, Hale Marketing and Communications. If you’d like to stay updated with Shelby’s story, you can find her on Instagram and Twitter.


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