By Maxim Mower
Take your mind on vacation with some Tropical Country and an island-inspired playlist
It’s safe to say this has been a pretty crazy year. Aside from Australia being ravaged by wildfires, fears of a killer hornet invasion, and the apparent death and resurrection of Kim Jong-un, the world as we knew it ground to a halt as the pandemic sent the world into lockdown.
Having to spend an unprecedented amount of time indoors and away from others has been a necessary measure in halting the spread of COVID-19, but it’s meant we’ve all had to make sacrifices. Some miss the little things, like being able to hug people, and not having to know what ‘Zoom’ is. Others miss going to concerts and sports events, and being able to safely travel abroad.
We’ve had to accept social distancing and self-isolation as the new normal. This has led to many of us leaning more heavily on music to maintain some kind of human connection, and to escape from the uncertainty and anxiety of the pandemic.
This is why I want to highlight the music of Kenny Chesney, which I’ve fallen in love with during lockdown. In most of his songs, you’ll find him crooning about chilling on an island and letting the stress of the real world slip away for a while.
I’m a big fan of Hip-Hop and Rap music, but sometimes when life gets chaotic, listening to the clamour of triplet flows and thumping 808s only keeps you in this space of chaos. On most of Chesney’s songs, all that’s needed is a simple noodling guitar combined with his laid-back vocals. If you close your eyes, you can’t help but feel transported to a beach with a cold drink in your hand and a palm tree overhead, creating a tranquil shade as you watch the crystal clear tide ebb and flow rhythmically. With many people’s chances of going on holiday dashed this year, Kenny Chesney provides escapism at its finest.
I’ve found that having so much time at home can make you feel as though you have to be productive 24/7, and this can lead to a sense of battling with the clock and constantly feeling in a rush. It seems like a paradox, but I’ve heard from a few people that working from home can sometimes be more stressful than going out to work, because there’s no-one telling you ‘Ok, you’ve done enough, you can go home now’. So you end up working too much, and when you do take time off, you feel guilty, and this starts a vicious cycle.
This was a feeling I experienced when I started revising for Finals exams, and the main problem I found was that my thoughts always seemed to be moving too fast. Listening to Kenny Chesney’s peaceful odes to island life and sailing calmly along the ocean, with nowhere to go and nowhere to be, was the perfect remedy. It completely slows down your mind, and forces you to just stop and take time to appreciate the beauty of the present moment.
"Getting stuck sure would be easy, in this palm tree paradise.
It just reinforces to me how there’s a difference between simply being lazy, and putting time into recharging your batteries. Part of what makes life worthwhile are the dreams we chase and the aspiration to exceed our grasp. But at the same time, these lyrics remind me that if we’re always striving for something that we don’t have, then we’ll forget to appreciate what we do have.
These lyrics from ‘I’m Alive’ epitomise that sense of gratitude and contentment with where we are in life, wherever that might be. In Buddhism, teachers talk of how we all have a restful ‘spa’ within us that we can access whenever we want, and we can tap into this through meditation. There seems to be so much peaceful energy laced into the melodies and harmonies of Chesney’s music, and coupled with the idyllic tropical imagery, listening to this definitely feels like my own personal retreat.
So next time you’re wishing you could be sunbathing in a hammock above the white sand of the Caribbean, enjoying an ice cream as you wander round the spectacular monuments of Greece, or sipping on some sangria as your sights settle on a Spanish sunset (try saying that after a few!) - embark on a leisurely cruise through this playlist, and take your mind on a well-deserved vacation.
All photos courtesy of KennyChesney.com
Buy print editions of Mindful Melody Issue 6 below!