There's a lot of negativity out there, so use this playlist as a gentle reminder to always be kind to yourself. You deserve it!
10. This Is Me - Keala Settle & The Greatest Showman Ensemble
The Greatest Showman is one of my favourite films of all time, and this is largely due to the incredible soundtrack. ‘This Is Me’ comes at a pivotal point in the plot, where the circus acts rally and take a stand against all those who have been bullying and outcasting them. The aggressive drums combine with the emphatic cri de coeur - “I’m not scared to be seen, I make no apologies, this is me” - to create an anthem for anyone who has ever felt left out, judged or put down for simply being themselves.
9. Young, Wild & Free - Snoop Dogg, Wiz Khalifa & Bruno Mars
This song is a self-love anthem. Firstly, it just sounds so cheerful; Bruno Mars’ vocals, the mischievous piano in the background it just all helps to loosen you up. After listening to this song you can’t help but adopt a chilled out, relaxed and positive spirit. 'Young, Wild & Free' is like a musical middle finger to the haters with the upbeat chorus dismissing critics by saying ‘so what?’. If you don’t feel uplifted and warm after this song then I don’t know what will do it. The attitude in this song is something that we’d all do well to carry from time to time, saying ‘who cares’ and enjoying ourselves; being 'Young, Wild & Free'.
8. Answer: Love Myself - BTS
It’s tricky to tell whether this should be called a ballad or a dance track - the heartfelt vocals are propelled by an effervescent EDM beat, and this proves to be a potent concoction. The message is one of finding a partner who encourages you to be who you want to be, rather than having to put on a facade and cover up your flaws. Most of the lyrics are in Korean, but the emotional power and resonance of the song breaks through the language barrier.
7. Juice - Lizzo
‘Mirror, mirror on the wall don’t say it ‘cause I know I’m cute’. From the very first line this song drives home self-confidence, self-love and positivity. The song is dotted throughout with sentiments like this; ‘I was born like this, don’t even gotta try’, ‘If I’m shining everybody gonna shine (yeah I’m goals)’. This whole song has a swagger about it and you can’t help but get a spring in your step when you listen to it. This ‘I know I’m great’ attitude is something we could all adopt a bit more often and this song demonstrates to us all how we should love ourselves more and acknowledge that we are all pretty damn awesome.
6. Love My Life - Robbie Williams
This song takes on a completely different perspective to the other songs in this Top 10. Here, Robbie Williams is singing to his daughter, and he tells her how he wants to raise her to feel empowered and courageous enough to face any obstacles that come her way. The chorus plays like a series of self-love mantras - “I am powerful, I am beautiful, I am free, I love my life, I am wonderful, I am magical, I am me”. It’s so moving how he ends up with ‘I am me’, implying this is the most important thing anyone can be. Taken out of context, hearing someone say things like ‘I am wonderful’ could be labelled as being hugely egotistical. But why shouldn’t we celebrate ourselves? You’re the only person who sees the world exactly as you do, so you really are one of a kind - and that seems pretty magical to me.
5. Beautiful People - Chris Brown ft. Benny Benassi
So this is self-love in a third person sense. Instead of adopting the perspective of Chris Brown we instead listen to him telling us how great we are. This song is one of my all-time favourites, the combination of Benny Benassi’s masterful EDM production and Chris Brown’s instantly recognisable vocals is perfect for this tune. The message in this song is that everyone is beautiful in their own way, Brown’s vocals tell how everywhere he goes and everywhere he looks he sees beautiful people and that ‘your beauty’s deep inside’, re-assuring us that no matter who we are we all have beauty within us. If you don’t feel a bit of self-love after listening to this song then you need to turn the volume up and repeat!
4. People Like Us - The Shires
Even though The Shires are from the UK, this song puts a clever spin on the title in a way that is typical of Nashville songwriting. The track pivots around the key lyric - “I don’t care if people like us, because I like us, just the way we are”. Similarly to ‘Answer : Love Myself’, the song tells the story of a couple that draw from each other the confidence to stop caring how other people see them. My dad always tells me, ‘You’d be surprised how little people think of you’, and it’s true, because everyone’s way too concerned with themselves to take much notice of whatever flaw it is you think everyone is judging you about. Equally, you can’t control what other people think about you, and why worry about something that’s out of your hands?
3. Beautiful Me - Dappy
Dappy has always been a fairly controversial figure and to anyone who hasn’t listened to much of his music and is more aware of his media persona would be surprised to hear such a beautiful, mature and powerful ballad coming from the former N-Dubz rapper. Whilst Dappy has always showed off a bit of his singing voice in the past this song does it the best with Dappy giving a gripping vocal performance from start to finish, gently supported by strings and piano. The sentiment in this song really drives home the self-love, the artists acknowledges his mistakes in the verses and discusses some of the perceptions of him in the past talking about everything from his career to his personal life, before suggesting that if people really loved him they’d love him in spite of his errors. This song is a reminder to us all that we all make mistakes and that it’s ok, those in our lives who really love us will support us and that’s all we need, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
2. i - Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick’s lightning quick rap-flow is enough to get you feeling pumped up by itself. But when it’s coupled with motivational lyrics about being kind and loving to yourself, it’s even more exhilarating. ‘i’ is on Kendrick’s blockbuster To Pimp A Butterfly album, and its positioning on the track-list only adds to its intensity. The joyful, life-affirming message of ‘i’ follows on from the dejection and suicidal thoughts of ‘u’. This juxtaposition creates a beautiful sense of progression, and underlines how even if you’re at rock bottom and everything feels hopeless, like in ‘u’, it’s still possible to emerge from this and find the happier space that Kendrick finds himself in on ‘i’.
1. Don't Be So Hard On Yourself - Jess Glynne
The title says it all really. Too often in life we push ourselves too hard, demanding far too much from ourselves and punishing ourselves too much when we don’t meet out goals. This song is a beautiful and upbeat reminder that we should cut ourselves some slack. ‘Everyone trips, everyone falls’, ‘we all get there eventually’; these are just a couple of the lines reminding us that actually no one is perfect and that we all make mistakes but we should love ourselves regardless. On top of the lyrical content this song is so upbeat it can’t help but to cheer you up and it serves as a great reminder that we should love ourselves no matter what.
By David & Maxim