11 Amazing Songs That Matter

John Lennon’s “Imagine,” Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE” + more!

BY: Georgia Davis

Music has the ability to reach many people, so artists find ways to say something meaningful in their lyrics. Whether it’s making kissing someone of the same sex the social norm or taking the time to sing about mental health, musicians and lyricists use their platform to talk about the world around them. Here are 11 songs that exemplify that:

HUMBLE. BY KENDRICK LAMAR

Lamar has one of the most recognizable flows in the industry right now. He rose to fame rapidly, and “HUMBLE.” talks about staying humble in the wake of fame. The music video contains a lot of symbolism, including the killing of black men and religion.

Best lyric: “I’m so fuckin’ sick and tired of the Photoshop / Show me somethin’ natural like afro on Richard Pryor / Show me somethin’ natural like ass with some stretch marks”

SAFE BY SAGE FT. KESHA, CHIKA

Mostly known as The Vicious Cycle Song, March For Our Lives used this to highlight the effects of gun violence and school shootings. In a 9-minute version of the video, the song and images replay three times, driving home the point that gun violence and school shootings are recurring.

Best lyric: “When I’m walking through the halls / I don’t wanna be brave, I just wanna be safe”

WE ARE THE WORLD BY MICHAEL JACKSON

Jackson’s “We Are The World” has brought musicians together on two separate occasions: once in 1985 when it was first recorded for Live Aid and again in 2010 for Haiti. This song literally brought people together for a cause bigger than all of us. How amazing is that?!

Best lyric: “We are the world / We are the children / We are the ones who make a brighter day, so let’s start giving”

IF I WERE A BOY BY BEYONCE

Beyonce never shies away from speaking her mind in her songs. In “If I Were A Boy,” the singer presented the stark social differences between men and women. The song has a romantic longing element to it, but the lyrics really highlight the judgement women face.

Best lyric: “I’d kick it with who I wanted / And I’d never get confronted for it / ‘Cause they’d stick up for me”

BORN THIS WAY BY LADY GAGA

Gaga has always stood up for the minority, and her song “Born This Way” really drives home the message of being proud of who you are. When it was released in 2011, Gaga received a lot of backlash from the narrow-minded. And just think: That was only 9 years ago.

Best lyric: “No matter gay, straight, or bi / Lesbian, transgendered life / I’m on the right track baby / I was born to survive”

1-800-273-8255 BY LOGIC FT ALESSIA CARA, KHALID

The title to this song is the suicide hotline. In today’s age, more people are talking about self care and mental health. Rapper Logic was one of the first prominent musicians to outwardly write about that.

Best lyric: “The lane I travel feels alone / But I’m moving ’til my legs give out”

THIS IS AMERICA BY CHILDISH GAMBINO

Childish Gambino, known also as Donald Glover, touched on gun violence in the hit song “This Is America.” The provocative video that accompanies the song is chock full of poignant imagery showing black men, women and children being killed, even in places of worship. The song and video are meant to show this is where America is at in its current state.

Best lyric: “Yeah, this is America / Guns in my area / I got the strap / I gotta carry ’em”

IMAGINE BY JOHN LENNON

Lennon’s lyricism has withstood the tests of time. Many songwriters aim to pack just as much meaning into their songs as the Beatles member did. But Lennon showed that simplicity is beautiful when he wrote “Imagine.” The song echoes in today’s society and calls for people to just live in harmony.

Best lyric: “Imagine there’s no countries / It isn’t hard to do / Nothing to kill or die for /
And no religion too / Imagine all the people living life in peace, you”

PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER BY PATTI SMITH

This anthem reminds all of us that we have the power to enforce change in our world. Though it may not seem like it, we can speak up and ask for things to be better in society.

Best lyric: “The people have the power”

I KISSED A GIRL BY KATY PERRY

Though it doesn’t overtly touch on the world around us, Perry was one of the first artists of this generation to talk about being curious and exploring what it’s like to kiss someone of the same sex. Of course not everyone liked the song, but that didn’t stop Perry from making it a radio hit.

Best lyric: “I kissed a girl and I liked it / The taste of her cherry chapstick”

PRAYING BY KESHA

After Kesha’s long trial with her record label and suing Dr. Luke, the producer who sexually harassed her, everyone waited to see what she would release. The song, “Praying,” did not disappoint and moved everyone who has been in a similar position. Kesha took the high road in writing the song. She doesn’t demean Dr. Luke; instead, she wishes him peace and that he finds solace in his life. I don’t know about you, but it makes me emotional just thinking about it.

Best lyric: “Sometimes, I pray for you at night / Someday, maybe you’ll see the light / Some say, in life, you’re gonna get what you give / But some things only God can forgive”

 


Listen to this playlist on PROVOKR’s Spotify channel.