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The Song that Saved Your Life

Updated on March 17, 2015

"But don't forget the songs that made you cry

And the songs that saved your life." ~Morrissey

Nora, the Piano Cat.
Nora, the Piano Cat. | Source

More than Entertainment

We often buy into the notion by our society that a song is nothing more than entertainment. It is just something to pass the time. Something to keep us amused and distracted, while ignoring the truth about our True Nature:

We are spiritual beings having a human experience!

We often get seduced by a flashy dance beat, or a catchy string of words, such as “Baby, baby, baby.” But what if I told you that a song has the potential to be much more than that!

In fact, there are songs that inspire, empower, educate, cause us to think and ask questions, as well as to make us more aware. In addition, a song has the ability to transform our life, assist us in the healing process, or even help us create the world of our dreams.

When I was a small child, I was very much fascinated by the power of music. The songs took me to another world. I would try my best to emulate the singers that were playing on my turntable. When I became a teenager, I began to pay attention to the lyrics and music. Bands like U2 and Midnight Oil addressed important issues, while artists like Talking Heads, Paul Simon, and Peter Gabriel introduced me to world music. What I discovered over the years is that many individuals in our society will not make much of an effort to listen to foreign music that is in a different language. However, if we explore other countries around the world, we come to discover that they will happily embrace songs that are not in their native tongue. Just as there are cinemas in this country that will play foreign films, we need radio stations that will share songs from other countries. As Morrissey, the former singer/lyricist from the British pop group, the Smiths, stated that “America is not the world.”

There is a whole world of beautiful and inspirational songs that await our invitation.

Songs Educate and Make Us Aware

If we pay attention to the lyrics, we may be surprised that there are artists that are doing their part to make us aware of important issues. The rock group Midnight Oil wrote many songs about corporate corruption in which these companies put profits above the people. Here are some lines from their song “The Dead Heart”:

“Mining companies, pastoral companies

Uranium companies, collected companies

Got more rights than people

Got more say than people”

Exploiting the Poor

It is truly sad to see how the poor are exploited. They are expected to do backbreaking work and get paid pennies in compensation compared to overpaid CEOs. And when individuals try to voice their frustration, they are often fired, and in worse cases, beaten up. Midnight Oil continues to inform us about this exploitation in their song “Blue Sky Mine”:

“My gut is wrenched out; it is crunched up and broken

A life that is lived is no more than a token

Who’ll strike the flint upon the stone and tell me why?

If I yell at night, there’s a reply of bruised silence

The scream is no comfort; I can’t speak my sentence

They blew the lights at Heaven’s Gate; and I don’t know why?”

Here is the second verse of the song:

“The candy store paupers lie to the share holders

They’re crossing their fingers; they pay the truth makers

The balance sheet is breaking up the sky

So I’m caught at the junction; still waiting for medicine

The sweat of my brow keeps feeding the engine

Hope the crumbs in my pocket can keep me for another night”


Corporate Greed

The British synth-pop group, Depeche Mode, also makes a powerful statement regarding corporate greed in their song entitled “Everything Counts”:

“The grabbing hands grab all they can

All for themselves—after all

The grabbing hands grab all they can

All for themselves—after all

It’s a competitive world

Everything counts in large amounts”

According to a 2013 report, the average CEO made 331 times more than the average worker, and 774 times more than minimum wage workers ( And if that doesn’t make your blood boil, the CEO to Worker Pay Ratio has skyrocketed 1,000 percent since 1950. The former JCPenney CEO, Ron Johnson, topped the charts. He made 1,795 times more than the average worker ( In the 1950s, it was quite common for a household to live on just one income; however, in this day and age, the one income household is a rarity, as more and more families struggle to make ends meet.

Tracy Chapman - "Talkin' 'Bout a Revolution"

Talking About a Revolution

In the late 80s, the singer/songwriter Tracy Chapman was way ahead of her time when she wrote the song “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution.” It wasn’t until the 2000s that we began to see the people across the globe protest in large numbers. Here is what Tracy Chapman sang to the world in 1988:

“Don’t you know they’re talking about a revolution?

It sounds like a whisper

Don’t you know they’re talking about a revolution?

It sounds like a whisper

Poor people going to rise up and get their share

Poor people going to rise up and take what’s theirs

‘Cause, finally, the tables are starting to turn

Talking about a revolution”

There is a gifted rock band from Mexico called Maná in which they have an album entitled “Revolución de Amor.” This translates to: Revolution of Love. Both Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. utilized non-violent protesting. They knew that violence would only breed violence.

Money Can't Buy Happiness

There is a myth in our society that money will buy you happiness. It might buy off some politicians or corrupt individuals, but in the end, love only matters. Love is our true state of being. Check out these powerful words from the Irish rock band U2:

“Mister, I ain’t going nothing

But it’s more than you got”

We Work the Black Seam

Sting, the lead singer of the rock band the Police, also addresses worker exploitation, and the dangers of mining and nuclear technology to the environment in his song, “We Work the Black Seam”:

“Our blood has stained the coal

We tunneled deep inside the nation’s soul

We matter more than pounds and pence

Your economic theory makes no sense”

Here is the chorus:

"One day in a nuclear age

They may understand our rage

They build machines that they can’t control

And bury the waste in a great big hole

Power was to become cheap and clean

Grimy faces were never seen

But deadly for 12,000 years is carbon14”

Sting continues:

“The seam lies underground

Three million years of pressure packed it down

We walked through ancient forest lands

And light a thousand cities with our hands

Your dark satanic mills

Have made redundant all our mining skills

You can’t exchange a six inch band

For all the poisoned streams in Cumberland”

Midnight Oil - "The Dead Heart"

Honoring the Indigenous People

The Australian rock band, Midnight Oil, not only stood up for the working class, but was also a voice for the Aboriginal people of Australia. Many may not be aware of the fact that there was attempt to wipe out this people and their culture. This is apparent in the film “Rabbit Proof Fence.” However, those that wanted the Aboriginal people gone were not successful. Midnight Oil shares in their song, “The Dead Heart,” that their message lives on:

“We carry in our heart the true country

And that cannot be stolen

We follow in the steps of our ancestry

And that cannot be broken

…Forty thousand years makes a difference to the state of things,

The Dead Heart lives here.”

It Doesn't Have to Be

Songs also make us aware of the dangers of a Separatism Belief System which creates and “us against them mentality.” The British synth-pop group, Erasure, talks about this in their song “It Doesn’t Have To Be”:

“A heart on the inside

The same as any other

Are we divided?

Someone always has to suffer

We are broken

There’s no one left to change it

Is that the way it has to be?

Why can’t we rearrange it?

It doesn’t have to be like that (one against one)

It doesn’t have to be like that (one against one)”

Separatism Divides the World

It is clear that Separatism thinking can lead to racism and hatred. Take a look at some lyrics from the song “People are People” by Depeche Mode:

“So we’re different colors and we’re different creeds

And different people have different needs

It’s obvious you hate me though I’ve done nothing wrong

I’ve never even met you, so what could I have done?”

In the pre-chorus of the song, Depeche Mode’s songwriter, Martin Gore, tries to understand what drives a human being to hate another human being:

“I can’t understand

What makes a man hate another man?

Help me understand”

The Man in the Mirror

I want to point out that this Separatism thinking will only lead to our destruction if we do not change our ways. In truth we are One. We are all connected. Therefore, what we do to others we do to ourselves. And what we fail to do for others we fail to do for ourselves. Each one of us, as individuals, is affecting the world in unimagined ways. If we want to see more peace and harmony in the world, we must be this in our life! Michael Jackson said it beautifully in one of his songs:

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror.”

The Inner World and Outer World

It is also important to note that there is an Inner World and an Outer World. What we demonstrate in the Outer World is a reflection of our Inner World. However, many either ignore this, or are simply not aware of it. But once a person begins to really pay attention to their actions and starts asking questions, such as “Why am I behaving this way?” that answers began to surface. Check out a phrase from Sting’s song, “Consider Me Gone”:

“I’ve spent too many years at war with myself

The doctor has told me it’s no good for my health”

Transformational Power of Music

Songs can also provide clues and insights regarding our true nature; assist us in our emotional and spiritual growth; and provide the platform for healing. In our fast paced society, we often forget that we have a soul. Our soul is our connection to the Infinite. It is our true compass. Sting said it beautifully in one of his songs:

“Let your soul be your pilot.”

If we follow our ego, we will see the world through the eyes of division. As I already pointed out, this is not our true nature. We are all connected. In order to realize this truth, you have to get away from the noise and discover the silence. Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore was very wise when he said “Enjoy the silence.” In this place, you will discover your true nature; you will discover that the kingdom of God is within you and all around you; you will discover that all of life is connected; and you will also discover that love is the force that connects us all. In the late 80s and early 90s, I had the great privilege to work with my friend, Will Phelps. His songwriting skills and spirit have influenced my own songs, writings, and emotional and spiritual growth. Will’s song “Look Up” that he co-wrote with John Kopko is a perfect example of Transformational Music. I would like to share some powerful words from the song:

“Look up…look up…

Rise to see a brand new day

Be free…be free…

Be what you want to be today

Look up…look up…

Trust feelings let them guide your way

Be free…be free…

Break the chains that bind you

And you will seize your day”

Here are some words from one of the verses about finding our true nature and the importance of self love:

“If you could see what’s deep inside,

And stop wasting all your time with hate

If you could love yourself,

People will love you too”

The bridge of the song reveals a great truth: We can break free from prison that we created from own our mind:

“But everything can change in time…

Open your heart

Release your mind

You build your own prison

Let it go…let it go…”

Creating a Beautiful World

Just as it takes effort to create a beautiful garden, the same is true in creating a beautiful world.

It is not going to happen by standing on the sidelines. This requires group participation. Each one of us is affecting the planet as individuals and as a collective. We just have to remind one another that we are powerful co-creators. In my personal journey, I have discovered that Nature is a beautiful teacher with tremendous wisdom. The British pop group, New Order, in their inspirational song “Krafty,” reveals to us that there is more to life than violent television programming. In fact, there is a better world to be found in Nature:

“You’ve got to look at life the way it oughta be

Looking at the stars from underneath the trees

There’s a world inside and a world out there

With that TV you just don’t care

They’ve got violence, wars, and killing too

All shrunk down in a two-foot tube

But out there, the world is a beautiful place

With mountains, lakes, and the human race

And this is where I wanna be

And this is what I wanna do”

10,000 Maniacs - "Candy Everybody Wants"

Television Viewing Lacks Participation

We often forget that watching television, for the most part, is a passive experience. There is no interaction between the viewer and the television program. You don’t engage in an intelligent conversation with the actors on the screen. All that is required for you, the viewer, is to watch the images that appear on the screen with your eyes, while your ears listen to the sounds coming out of the speakers. And, if you watch TV just to be entertained, you will notice that your mind is not being exercised. The program is not inviting you to think or ask questions. In fact, it has been said that television viewing can make us dumb and lazy. Check the words from the song, “Candy Everybody Wants,” by the pop group 10,000 Maniacs:

“So their eyes are growing hazy

‘Cause they want to turn it on

So their minds are soft and lazy


Do you wanna play?”

The song questions humanity’s desire to overindulge in things that are not good for us, such as consuming too much candy. It is quite clear that this can only lead to cavities. However, we don’t make the same connection as to why we live in such a violent world. I believe this overflow of violent programming is not helping the cause. Just as a responsible parent will encourage their child to eat fruit rather than candy, I believe the television companies should put out healthier programs that nourish the soul, instead of giving us cheap entertainment that causes cavities to grow in our hearts and minds, creating a divided world. Check out more words from the song “Candy Everybody Wants,” as the television companies give us the so-called candy that they claim we want:

“If lust and hate is the candy

If blood and love taste so sweet

Then, we, give them what they want

Hey, hey, give ‘em what they want”

I believe television programming should be used as a tool, inspiring us to create a better world.

Appreciating Nature.
Appreciating Nature. | Source

The Power of Appreciation

We also create a beautiful world through our appreciation. That beautiful flower that mesmerizes us with its beauty is a reflection of the beauty within us. In the song “But Not Tonight” by Depeche Mode, we can feel Martin Gore’s appreciation for life. We also feel a greater awareness, aliveness, and a connectedness to the world in his words. Check out some phrases from the song:

“Oh God it’s raining but I’m not complaining

It’s filling me up with new life

The stars in the sky bring tears to my eyes

They’re lighting my way tonight

And I haven’t felt so alive in years”

Here’s the second verse and chorus:

“Just for a day on a day like today

I’ll get away from this constant debauchery

The wind in my hair makes me so aware

How good it is to live tonight

And I haven’t felt so alive in years

The moon is shining in the sky

Reminding me of so many other nights

But there not like tonight”

The Beauty of Love

Songs also have the ability to share the beauty of love. We are told from many of our spiritual traditions that love is the answer. It is our true nature. It is the great connector. The German pop group, Camouflage, paints some beautiful scenes of love in their song “Love Is a Shield:

“Love is a shield to hide behind

Love is a field to grow inside

And when I sometimes close my eyes

My mind starts spinning ‘round

Love is a baby in a mother’s arms

Love is your breath which makes me warm

And when I sometimes close my eyes

My mind starts spinning ‘round”

I want to close this article with some lines from a Talking Heads song entitled “This Must Be the Place.” It is a song about the beautiful connection between two souls. You can feel the unconditional love that the mother has for her child:

“And you’re standing here beside me

I love the passing of time

Never for money; always for love

Cover up and say goodnight (Say goodnight)”

“Home is where I want to be

But I guess I’m already there

I come home; she lifted up her wings

I guess that this must be the place

I can’t tell one from another

Did I find you, or you find me?

There was a time before we were born

If someone asks, this is where I’ll be (Where I’ll be)”

Closing Thoughts

As you have just witnessed, songs can be more than entertainment. They have the potential to save lives and transform our world. Give thanks to the songs that touch your heart and light your path with inspiration.


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    • Terry27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terry Fatland 

      4 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts, FlourishAnyway.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      To be truly open to one's message is to really hear it, mull it over a bit, and make an informed judgement. We often skip some parts.

    • Terry27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terry Fatland 

      4 years ago from Southern California

      Marie, thank you for sharing your thoughts. "Man in the Mirror" is a very powerful song. I know that song has touch a lot of hearts. Radio stations need to play more songs like that. I enjoy doing my part to help others. Your posts and writings have been very inspirational. I know they have made a huge difference in people's lives.

      I also wish I could see Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. I love the people that you have mentioned. We have the basic family plan. It mainly has the basic channels plus some family channels. I will have to check out Hulu.

      Thanks for voting it up and sharing. I greatly appreciate that. :)

    • VioletSun profile image


      4 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      One of my favorite songs is "Man in the Mirror," it still gives me goosebumps. The combination of music and words can move even the hardest of hearts and get a message through that will affect the consciousness of the listener. I enjoyed reading your hub and the lyrics. I like you want to also serve.

      I wish you could watch Oprah Super Soul Sunday but understand you don't have cable. It is the perfect example of conscious programming, and it would inspire you. She has had Jack Kornfield, Thich Nhat Hahn, Don Miguel Ruiz, etc on her show. Her network has won awards for her Super Soul Sunday program. Perhaps you can catch it in Hulu or an online service.

      Voted up and shared in Pinterest!

    • Terry27 profile imageAUTHOR

      Terry Fatland 

      4 years ago from Southern California

      Thank you very much, Jodah. I'm glad you enjoyed this hub. I've been wanting to write it for awhile, as music is a very powerful part of my life. Depeche Mode has contributed a lot of thought provoking music as has Midnight Oil.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      4 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I enjoyed this hub terry. You brought back memories of some very thought provoking songs. I wasn't very familiar with Depeche Mode until now, but you made me want to check out their music. I already know Midnight Oil well. Well done.


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