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What songs will make me want to be a better human?
January 11, 2013 12:47 PM   Subscribe

I am making a "peace and love" playlist filled with songs that urge social consciousness and positive action. So far I have songs like "Man in the Mirror," "He Aint Heavy (He's My Brother)," "Get Together," "Imagine," etc. What are some good songs in that vein?

Ideally the song would (a) have a messaage of loving and/or caring for others and/or working to improve the world, (b) NOT be a religious song (though I do love the message of a song like "The Prayer of St. Francis"), and (c) actually be a good song. All genres are good, and because I suspect there will be a lot of stuff from the 60s any later songs would be most welcome.
posted by AgentRocket to Media & Arts (62 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
Imagine (on edit, sorry, didn't see you already mentioned it)
posted by empath at 12:48 PM on January 11, 2013


Lean on Me?
posted by Area Man at 12:48 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Lots of stuff by U2, but Beautiful Day is very uplifting.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:53 PM on January 11, 2013


The worldwide version of Stand By Me is just brilliant. I am also perhaps irrationally fond of Alanis Morisette's Still. (It's... sort of religious? As in written from the perspective of God?)
posted by restless_nomad at 12:54 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


One Love - Bob Marley

And while a particular song isn't leaping to mind right now, looking at The Clash's catalogue would probably prove fruitful.
posted by dry white toast at 12:54 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


People Get Ready by The Impressions
posted by jabes at 12:57 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Timmy Thomas' Why Can't We Live Together

(one of the best songs ever, imho)
posted by gyusan at 12:57 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oooh and Sam Cooke's A Change is Gonna Come
posted by jabes at 12:59 PM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


how about the Neil Young/Pearl Jam song Peace & Love
posted by mannequito at 1:03 PM on January 11, 2013


What's Going On, Marvin Gaye.
posted by jamaro at 1:06 PM on January 11, 2013 [5 favorites]


Where is the love? Black Eyed Peas

Wavin Flag, Knaan
posted by rhythm_queen at 1:09 PM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Move On Up by Curtis Mayfield
posted by The World Famous at 1:10 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Hammer and a Nail" by the Indigo Girls.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:11 PM on January 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Love Invincible by Michael Franti
posted by workerant at 1:12 PM on January 11, 2013


Love Train by the O'Jays
posted by imalaowai at 1:12 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I'll Be Your Shelter (Just Like a Shelter)," The Housemartins
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:17 PM on January 11, 2013


Matisyahu - One Day
Dave Matthews Band - Mercy
Jewel - Stand
Bob Marley - One Love/People Get Ready
Bob Dylan - The Times They Are A-Changin'
posted by Falwless at 1:19 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Weight by either The Band or The Staple Singers.
posted by dawkins_7 at 1:20 PM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


Shambala by Three Dog Night
Peace Train by Cat Stevens
posted by Boogiechild at 1:23 PM on January 11, 2013


"People Have the Power" by Patti Smith
posted by 2or3things at 1:24 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Simon & Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water
posted by *s at 1:24 PM on January 11, 2013


I don't know if it's too seasonal for your purposes, but I love Dar Williams' The Christians and The Pagans. Despite the title, it is not a religious song; it's about understanding and finding commonalities with others.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:25 PM on January 11, 2013


Seconding Wavin' Flag. Can't believe I forgot it.
posted by dry white toast at 1:27 PM on January 11, 2013


Not sure this fits all the criteria, but What is Life by George Harrison seriously lifts me up.
posted by zombiebunny at 1:27 PM on January 11, 2013


Sly and the Family Stone -- Stand
posted by shibori at 1:29 PM on January 11, 2013


Sly and the Family Stone was one of the first bands I thought of. Everyday People, or Stand!.
posted by RabbleRabble at 1:31 PM on January 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


Funkadelic's "Everybody's Going To Make It This Time."
posted by klangklangston at 1:37 PM on January 11, 2013


Cocteau Twins, "Summer-Blink". Rare is it to hear a song that just brims with such honest, heartfelt joy and positivity. lyrics

A close second is Blackalicious' "First in Flight", a fantastic cut from one of the best socially conscious lit-hop albums around. lyrics
posted by FatherDagon at 1:41 PM on January 11, 2013


Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes Wake Up Everybody.
posted by southof40 at 1:42 PM on January 11, 2013


Elvis Costello - "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding"
Swamp Dogg - "Do You Believe" or "Remember That I Said Tomorrow"
posted by stompadour at 1:43 PM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Beatles: Give Peace A Chance
posted by 4ster at 1:44 PM on January 11, 2013


Jacob's Ladder by Huey Lewis.

or

Jacob's Ladder by Bruce Springsteen
posted by chocolatepeanutbuttercup at 1:47 PM on January 11, 2013


No Time at All from Pippin
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:54 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Onion Song
posted by essexjan at 1:55 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


People Get Ready by The Frames (not a cover of the Impressions song linked above)
posted by yasaman at 2:01 PM on January 11, 2013


Redemption Song (my favourite version)
posted by peagood at 2:04 PM on January 11, 2013


To Win Just Once - The Saw Doctors
posted by Sk4n at 2:06 PM on January 11, 2013


Heartlite, Ruby Velle & Soulphonics
posted by trunk muffins at 2:06 PM on January 11, 2013


Would OK Go! + Pilobolus's collaboration All Is Not Lost fit in?
posted by Queen of Spreadable Fats at 2:34 PM on January 11, 2013


2nding stompadour's recommendation of "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding", but linking my favorite version by the song's writer Nick Lowe.
posted by EKStickland at 2:40 PM on January 11, 2013


kind of a mixed bag...
Michael Jackson - Black or White
Michael Jackson - Heal the World
Beatles - Come Together
Kermit the Frog - Rainbow Connection
The Five Stairsteps - Ooh child
U2 - Peace On Earth
Josh Rouse - Love vibration
Superchick - One Girl Revolution
Bad Religion - Kyoto Now
Pink - Dear Mr. President
We Are The World
Whitney Houson - Greatest Love of All
posted by raztaj at 2:47 PM on January 11, 2013


"Change Myself" by Todd Rundgren
posted by kristi at 3:21 PM on January 11, 2013


Michael Franti & Spearhead - Never Too Late
posted by knile at 3:39 PM on January 11, 2013


This Land is Your Land, the inclusive national anthem of the United States.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:41 PM on January 11, 2013


John Lennon - Instant Karma
and maybe a little on the edge of what you want, but Three Dog Night - Joy to the World
posted by dilettante at 3:55 PM on January 11, 2013


The Billy Bragg version of The Internationale.
posted by pont at 3:59 PM on January 11, 2013


Messages - Xavier Rudd
posted by iamkimiam at 4:17 PM on January 11, 2013


I am not a fan in general, but Micheal Jackson's Man in the Mirror is very inspirational for me.
posted by bartonlong at 5:10 PM on January 11, 2013


Anything by Mike Park. He's made so much amazing music over the years & has done a lot for several great causes.
posted by toddst at 5:46 PM on January 11, 2013


Morning Has Broken - Cat Stevens

He was a friend of mine - Willie Nelson

Guantanamera - Pete Seeger

All You Need is Love
posted by mermily at 5:46 PM on January 11, 2013


Straight from my "Don't Be a Bitch" playlist (which says more about me than I'd like...)
posted by smirkette at 7:05 PM on January 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I May Know the Word by Natalie Merchant.
posted by Bruce H. at 7:48 PM on January 11, 2013


War: Why Can't We be Friends?
Sly and the Family Stone: Everyday People
Peter Gabriel: Biko, for the final verse.
Peter Gabriel: this is less-well-known - Fourteen Black Paintings.

I'll probably come up with more....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:18 PM on January 11, 2013


Moxy Fruvous-Gulf War Song
The Klezmatics-Gonna Get Through This World
posted by ActionPopulated at 8:34 PM on January 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Better Way," Ben Harper
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:37 PM on January 11, 2013


If you find that you like Michael Franti, the Stay Human album is basically entirely devoted to what you're looking for. Check it out.
posted by Brak at 8:49 PM on January 11, 2013


Change by Tracy Chapman

Through Heaven's Eyes from the Prince of Egypt Movie

You Gotta Be by Des'ree
posted by BusyBusyBusy at 11:33 PM on January 11, 2013


Annie Lennox and Al Green Put a litle love in your heart
posted by charles kaapjes at 1:31 AM on January 12, 2013


Ani DiFranco has a lot that would qualify. Check out her album To the Teeth to start. "Freakshow" and "The Arrivals Gate" are a couple of my favorites.
posted by wondermouse at 10:20 AM on January 12, 2013 [1 favorite]


Canned Heat - Let's Work Together
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:15 PM on January 12, 2013


James Taylor's Shower the People
posted by Gathering Rosebuds at 1:42 PM on January 12, 2013


The Dears - Ballad of Humankindness
posted by black8 at 4:36 PM on January 28, 2013


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