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In a life full of complications sometimes it feels like we don't take enough time to enjoy nature, so we put together our top ten songs to reignite your love for the planet and all its wonders! David & Maxim
10. Truth to Power - OneRepublic
It can be so easy to take little notice of the condition of the planet, and in fact as individuals it can be quite frustrating. After all, we can make small changes in our day to day lives but the power really lies with the corporations who use plastic by the ton and pour oil into the oceans. Realistically we all need to be aiming to change for the better and protect the planet, and this song is a harrowing reminder of this. Personifying the Earth as a frail and elderly person dear to your heart really hits home for a lot of people and puts a relatable twist on a topic that we can often feel so separated from. It serves as a hard-hitting warning that our planet won’t last forever and we need to do everything we can to help it. Beautiful.
9. Where The Green Grass Grows - Tim McGraw
This has become a staple Country anthem, with McGraw even referencing it himself in one of his more recent songs. Thematically, it centres around escapism and the classic Country aspiration of pulling out of the rat-race’s traffic-jam and heading down a backroad towards a slower, more simplified way of life. While McGraw sings quite literally that “I'm gonna live where the green grass grows, watch my corn pop up in rows”, for me the appeal of this song lies in the message of going at your own pace and not living by someone else’s standards - especially when that might involve running yourself into the ground. This symbolic place ‘where the green grass grows’ will vary from person to person, depending on your personal dreams. Personally, I see it more as a mentality than anything, where you have your sights set on what’s important, rather than on all the noise and hurry that can sometimes crowd out the things that matter.
8. Earth - Lil Dicky
An epic song with an all star cast – this 2019 release by Lil Dicky took on a more serious tone than his usual music; although there are still a few jokes slipped in there. With inclusions ranging from Zac Brown to Justin Bieber this song actually didn’t gain as much traction as you would expect and that is a great shame because the message is so vitally important. Accompanied by a blockbuster music video the song calls to remind us that this is our planet and we need to do what we can to protect it. There is also a slightly tongue and cheek call to arms for all the nations across the world to come together in order to make a real difference.
7. What Would I Change It To - Avicii ft. AlunaGeorge
This is a prime example of a great message coming together with a great melody, without either having to be sacrificed. This song revolves around the theme of someone getting repeatedly knocked down by the trials and tribulations of life, before delivering the optimistic hook, “Losing is only a sign/It’s only a sign that you really tried”. Then AlunaGeorge underlines that, even though things often seem to go against us, at the end of the day they always find a way of working themselves out, and we often look back and see that the tough experiences helped to make us who we are. Last issue, I wrote about adopting the mentality that the universe is rigged in your favour and that it’s all fine-tuned to help you; a similar idea is conveyed through the natural imagery in this song - “Why would I replace the sky? Why would I recreate that perfect blue? What would I change it to?”
6. Sun is Shining - Bob Marley and The Wailers
Although not as deep or powerful as some of my other inclusions this for me is still definitely an anthem of nature – and what it means to us. In typical reggae style the song is about simplicity and happiness. The chorus ‘sun is shining, the weather is sweet, makes you wanna move, your dancing feet’ is all about the good vibes we get when the sun is out. Whilst it’s easy to reminisce with rose coloured spectacles now that it is winter, there is something magical about a bright summer’s day and what it does to us. Spirits are lifted and life feels good. In the verse there are lyrics about new days and rising which just underline that message that life is sweet and we have to appreciate each day. This song tells us that there is a lot to be thankful for, and that sometimes the key to happiness can be just to enjoy some of the simple things, like when the sun is shining.
5. Wildflowers - Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris
Country has a history of its stars aligning and forming Avengers-style supergroups, with The Highwaymen, The Pistol Annies and The Highwomen all comprising icons of the genre. The trio of Parton, Ronstadt and Harris is a contender for the best of them all, with their intricate harmonies weaving together beautifully, not to mention the lyrical mastery that they consistently showcase. ‘Wildflowers’ epitomises this, as the three artists tell a metaphorical story of a flower being destined to grow in the wild, rather than in the familiar comfort of the garden (“I hitched a ride with the wind and since he was my friend/I just let him decide where we’d go/When a flower grows wild it can always survive/Wildflowers don’t care where they grow”). An inspirational message delivered with that trademark Dolly twinkle.
4. Take Me Home, Country Roads - John Denver
Whilst not as deep rooted in nature as the others I’ll make an exception due to the fact that it is an absolute classic. A song we can’t help but sing along to, this tune is Denver’s love song to his home out in the countryside. Reminiscing of memories made and being in awe of the beautiful scenery this tune is another one of those reminders to be appreciative of the simple things in life. Singing about blue water, sunshine and a clear night’s sky it is apparent that Denver doesn’t feel home unless he’s amongst nature! This song, although already a classic, is certainly memorable for fans of the US version of ‘The Office’ in which Dwight and Andy begin trying to impress Erin and outdo each other with their performances of the song before finding friendship and common ground in the music. Iconic.
3. Beautiful World - Kenny Chesney
In classic Kenny Chesney fashion, this is an ode to all of the beauty and wonder we can experience from simply kicking back in the wonderful outdoors. It’s a celebration of the little joys in life, and whether you’re strolling round a city park, sitting beside a campfire in the woods, or out on a boat in the middle of an ocean (and if you are, just know I’m envious!), this song emphasises that we can all experience the healing power of nature wherever we are. Particularly during the winter, I’ve found that making an effort to spend some time outdoors each day, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes, has had a really positive effect on my state of mind - otherwise, if I’ve just been indoors all day, I feel more agitated and cooped up. My favourite lines are - “To see a full moon rise and a sunset fall/Being out here in the middle of it all/Sometimes it feels good to feel so small/ In this big old beautiful world”).
2. What A Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
Life moves so quickly these days, especially in the age of the internet. Information and bad news dominate our days and sometimes it can feel like too much. We often get so consumed by stresses; work, money, a lack of time, we never really get a chance to appreciate some of the amazing things around us. This song is a perfect reminder to take a second and enjoy what we have. The simple nature around us, whether by design or accident, is an absolute miracle. Louis’ growling voice on this iconic tune can be the reminder that we all need to just pause for a second and be thankful, and that even though it may not always seem it, it really can be a wonderful world.
1. Magic Hour - Jhené Aiko
I’ve made no secret of how much I love Jhene Aiko’s ethereal, haunting voice, and on ‘Magic Hour’ these are used to maximum effect. The whole song is dedicated to the moments in the day that arrive just after sunrise and just before sunset, when magnificent oranges and purples and reds are scattered across the sky. I always think there’s something spiritual about these periods of time, and Aiko captures the transience and fleeting beauty of this. The track never sits still, and it flits through the refrain and verses without any clear structure, but that just adds to the freedom of it all. There’s a cacophonous burst of sound and energy near the beginning, which to me represents the sunrise, before finishing with the delicacy and stillness of an almost a cappella vocal, epitomising the soothing effect of the sunset.
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