A Music Playlist for These Troubled Times

Curated playlists on music streaming services are all the rage today. Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play Music and Amazon Music have hundreds of millions of active monthly users and together boast hundreds of expert curators and thousands of curated playlists (collections of songs). With the plethora of music out there, who better to proffer suggestions on what to listen to than these authoritative digital custodians? But given the disarray in the world today and the powerful effect of music maybe we should take a cue from a higher steward, the Spirit in the Sky. Now, I’m no expert on God, but if I were to imagine God’s playlist it would go something like this (with Divine explanations):

  1. “I Get a Kick Out of You.” Some of you really rock and make me think it was worth it to start things off with a Big Bang. So keep up the antics—shake, rattle and roll!—they’re needed in these troubled times.
  2. “Beautiful Dreamer.” Humans are something special and they’re my partner in building the world, so unleash your imagination and soar beyond your wildest dreams. There’s no limit to what you can achieve.
  3. “Help!” I like it when songs ooze pure wisdom. In the brevity of this single-word song title is the Eleventh Commandment, so don’t forget to render aid and succor to the poor, the downtrodden, the afflicted and the sick. Those four British lads sure got it right. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
  4. “I’m a Believer.” No, I’m not asking for you to accept me but rather for you to believe in yourself. You can be as strong as you want if you have faith in your own being.
  5. “Come Together.” War, hatred, crime–enough is enough already! You’re all cut from the same cloth so unite and you’ll find out what a wonderful world this could be.
  6. “The Twist.” Now this might strike you as an odd choice (oops, did I say I said strike you?), but all I’m saying is don’t be afraid to fail because you can learn from your mistakes and find a way to turn them around into successes.
  7. “Baby Workout.” This is a tuneful reminder to stay healthy, practice good habits, and not to neglect yourself. Be active and you should find everything coming up roses.
  8. “Cupid.” When the gilded arrow of the cherub’s bow blissfully inflames the human heart, lightning bolts and thunder joyously reverberate in the heavens. Colorful beams of starlight sparkle in the cosmos gloriously reflecting the ecstasy below. The singer’s cry for that ineffable feeling of love is brilliantly captured in this captivating ditty.
  9. You’ve Got a Friend.” I’ll always be there for you but you’ve got to do your part also. Heed the caring, loving, judicious advice here and I think you’ll find I’m there for you.
  10. “Over There.” Happy to tell you it’s not over when it’s over (if you know what I mean). No, no, no. When the time comes you’ll find there’s a stairway to heaven waiting for you resplendently, boundlessly, majestically…just over there.
About the Author
Harvey Rachlin is an award-winning author of 14 books including Lucy's Bones, Sacred Stones, and Einstein's Brain, which was adapted for the History Channel series History's Lost and Found. His Encyclopedia of the Music Business won the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award for excellence in music journalism, was named Outstanding Music Reference Book of the Year by the American Library Association, and was recommended by composer Henry Mancini on the 1984 internationally-televised Grammy Awards. His music books have been praised by Elton John, Aaron Copland, Johnny Mathis, Pat Boone, and the Academy Award-winning songwriters Burt Bacharach, Sammy Cahn, Marvin Hamlisch, Henry Mancini, Richard Rodgers, and Jule Styne. Other luminaries who have praised his books include President Gerald Ford, actresses Barbara Eden and Estelle Getty, author Nicholas Pileggi, movie producer Samuel Z. Arkoff, "French Connection" detective Sonny Grosso, and Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy, Dave Powers. He has written more than 200 newspaper and magazine articles, with publication credits such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The London Times, The Jerusalem Post, Law and Order and Publishers Weekly. He has published interviews with the composers of numerous perennially popular Broadway shows and songs including Stephen Schwartz (“Wicked,” “Pippin,” “Godspell”), Charles Strouse (“Annie,” “Bye, Bye Birdie”), Johnny Marks (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”), Larry Weiss (“Rhinestone Cowboy”), Sandy Linzer (“Let’ Hang On!”), Ron Miller (“For Once In My Life”), and Chip Taylor (“Wild Thing”). His next book, Song and System: The Making of American Pop Music, will be published in the spring of 2020 by Rowman & Littlefield. He runs the Music Business program at Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York.
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