11 Songs You Should Listen To Right Now

I’m going to confess something.

I am the person who plays that new awesome song twenty times over while zipping down the interstate (or around the 485 not-quite-a-loop) all by myself.  Music has been a part of my family for years, on both sides.  My grandfather was in a bluegrass band.  My brother writes and records.  My dad and mom both play multiple instruments. My grandmother plays piano. I do too but far less than I did when I was younger.  Still, to me, there is nothing quite like being enraptured by a song that can take my mind to other places where a story unfolds and I am a hero.  And that is the beauty of both story and song, they transport us to a place we can identify, a place where we all strive to go, and a place that brings comfort and sustains the soul. The songs that follow are songs that have transported me. So here, we go…

"Sigh No More" - Mumford & Sons
“Sigh No More” – Mumford & Sons

 1)  “The Cave” – Mumford & Sons on Sigh No More

Because: This is by far one of the most heroic, empowering songs I have ever heard.  Beautiful, thoughtful lyrics and soaring music crescendos to the point you think you really might be able to fly or move a mountain. That is the power of hope.

Lonesome Teeth Albumn Cover
“Lonesome Teeth” – Kovacs & the Polar Bear

 2)  “Yellow Bellied Crops” (Parts I & II) – Kovacs & the Polar Bear on Lonesome Teeth

Because: Death comes to us all, and the hero has to learn not to be afraid. This song is particularly interesting because it is very upbeat and bright despite its bleak subject matter.

Soviet Kitsch albumn cover
“Soviet Kitsch” – Regina Spektor

3)  “Us” – Regina Spektor on Soviet Kistch

Because: The hero gets blamed and betrayed. It just happens. Piano heavy and melodic, “Us” soothes the injured soul with truth and the voice of a siren.

Say Anything albumn cover
“Say Anything” – Say Anything

4)  “Do Better” – Say Anything on Say Anything

Because: We can all do better – even the heroes. This band has a reputation for witty, bitingly sarcastic lyrics. This song, while still sarcastic and rough, feels more like a mama dog’s warning snap to an unruly pup than a mouthful of Coast soap. Catchy with driving beats and smirk inducing.

"Continuum" albumn cover
“Continuum” – John Mayer

5)  “Slow Dancing in a Burning Room” – John Mayer on Continuum

Because: Ahhh, love. Ohhh, doomed love and the ability to see its end. This is my favorite Mayer song. Showcasing his often overlooked blues abilities, this song is lyrically driven, but the music so perfectly complements those lyrics, just hearing the lead line communicates the entire emotion and message. Brilliant.

"O" albumn cover
“O” – Damien Rice

6)  “Eskimo Friend” – Damien Rice on O

Because: Helpers come into the hero’s life – people that profoundly impact in ways that are not physical but leave marks even more visible than wound scars. The slow, mournful, final track of O is the experience of all those associated emotions. And there is opera in Finnish…breath-taking opera in Finnish.

"Mignonette" albumn cover
“Mignonette” – The Avett Brothers

7)  “One Line Wonder” – The Avett Brothers on Mignonette

Because: We are all heroes in our own minds. With frank truth and down-home melodies and instrumentation, the song is light, addictive, and sure to cause a smile – primarily because most everyone can relate.

"Some Devil" albumn cover
“Some Devil” – Dave Matthews

8)  “Baby” – Dave Matthews on Some Devil

Because: At some point, we will all be reminded of how small we are and how powerful hope is. This song is a lullaby for grown ups.  Its strength is imagery vivid as the ocean at sunrise.

"The Gladiator Soundtrack" albumn cover
“The Gladiator Soundtrack” – Heitor Pereira, Lisa Gerrard, & Hans Zimmer

9)  “Now We Are Free” – Heitor Pereira, Lisa Gerrard, & Hans Zimmer on The Gladiator Soundtrack

Because: In the end, freedom is what the hero wants – and what everyone else wants as well. This song is a collaboration between many and is not in any known language. Lisa Gerrard does not tend to sing in a known language but rather whatever syllables she feels. Oddly enough, the syllables in this song communicate strength in a profound way.

"The Little Miss Sunshine Soundtrack" albumn cover
“The Little Miss Sunshine Soundtrack” – Devotchka

10)  “How It Ends” – Devotchka on The Little Miss Sunshine Soundtrack

Because: All quests come to an end, and how it ends makes the quest complete.  Heavy with strings, the song captures that moment of clarity and certainty all heroes crave – that moment they know what to do.

"Room Noises" albumn cover
“Room Noises” – Eisley

11)  “Marvelous Things” – Eisley on Room Noises

Because: After all is said and done, tired heroes deserve to be sung to sleep by angels, and these voices will do just that.

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