Songs about close friendships / chosen family?
December 14, 2016 5:51 PM   Subscribe

Trying to make a playlist of songs for my Most Important People - any suggestions for songs about ride-or-die friends, chosen family, best friends forever, companions, that kind of thing? (Bonus points if there's something about keeping you safe.)

As part of an upcoming trip I have assembled a Safety Team - basically a group of friends (plus one girlfriend and one sister) who I'll report to every day about my status and who have my personal information & emergency contacts in case things go wrong. Just about everybody in this group are chosen family; they are the closest of friends and companions, across backgrounds, knowing me from anywhere from a month or two to 15 years.

As a thank-you, I want to make a Spotify playlist for them to enjoy. I'd like to keep the songs in theme: protecting each other, grateful for their companionship, chosen family (especially if there's a queer angle to it). Songs about teamwork would be great too. So far the only song I have on there is "Me & You vs The World" by Space, and Savage Garden's "Crash and Burn" would be there if it was on Spotify.

There's artists (of various forms), techies, activists, social worker types, mothers and caretakers. Ages ranging from 21 to 44, from Australia, UK, US, and Malaysia. Differing genders (and expressions thereof), sexualities, interests, backgrounds, passions. Most of them are very different from one another, though there are common threads, and they're all united by the fact that they care about me a lot.

We run the gamut on music tastes - one's a diehard Metallica fan, another is very involved with circus and steampunk, a couple are into swing music, one sends me links to anime music often, another has a thing for Australia Christmas songs (whyyyy), two used to be in choir, a handful are nerds/pop culture fans of various kinds, and there's a general eclectic appreciation for all kinds of music including pop, rock, alternative, dance and so on. So I am really open to suggestion!

Thank you!
posted by divabat to Media & Arts (41 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
There are tons of Dave Matthews songs about this, but I really like You & Me. You could read it as romantic, but I like to read it as being more about familial love and companionship.
posted by guster4lovers at 6:07 PM on December 14, 2016

Simon and Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water

James Taylor: You've Got a Friend
posted by FencingGal at 6:13 PM on December 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

Billie Holiday I'm Pulling Through
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 6:41 PM on December 14, 2016

Also, Judy Garland and Johnny Mercer, Friendship.
posted by FencingGal at 6:50 PM on December 14, 2016

Queen - Friends Will Be Friends
posted by headnsouth at 6:57 PM on December 14, 2016

Eels: Daisies of the Galaxy
posted by Paper rabies at 6:58 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Queen - You're My Best Friend
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 6:59 PM on December 14, 2016

If anyone likes musical theater they might like this song. (I hate this musical but lots of people don't!)

Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth, from Wicked: For Good
posted by Smearcase at 7:05 PM on December 14, 2016 [5 favorites]

Classic: Sister Sledge's We Are Family.

I also like Weezer's My Best Friend.
posted by TwoStride at 7:06 PM on December 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Garbage: Beloved Freak
posted by Paper rabies at 7:08 PM on December 14, 2016

Michelle Shocked, Anchorage
(An old & deep friendship despite some distance & years.)

Stones, Let It Bleed

White Stripes, We're Going to Be Friends

Frogtown Hollow Jubilee Jug Band, Brothers!
(I do have Emmet Otter on the brain, yes, but I'd suggest it anyway)
posted by miles per flower at 7:08 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Randy Newman Feels Like Home. He also did You've Got a Friend in Me for Toy Story but Feels Like Home might be a better fit esp. since this is travel related. It's a beautiful song.
posted by headnsouth at 7:08 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Willie Nelson: "Me and Paul."
posted by spitbull at 7:10 PM on December 14, 2016

Simon and Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water

Also from S&G, The Only Living Boy in New York, although it helps if you know the backstory.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:11 PM on December 14, 2016

Yeasayer - Red Cave
I'm so blessed to have spent the time
With my family and the friends I love
In my short life I have met
So many people I deeply care for
posted by Candleman at 7:12 PM on December 14, 2016

Pink Floyd, Wish You Were Here
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:14 PM on December 14, 2016

Any suggestions for songs that are from the POV of "I'm not even sure why you're such good friends to me but I really appreciate it anyway"? Like from the POV of the recipient of all these "I'll be a friend to you!" songs.
posted by divabat at 7:20 PM on December 14, 2016

Can't help with your latest question, but adding to the list: Busy by Jawbreaker.
When all the consoling places
Lose their charm and change their faces
The world becomes too cruel to bear
And something in you starts to tear
When nothing seems to be quite worth it
And sleep becomes the only sure thing
I'm here to help you out of it
Come and see me for a lift
posted by slidell at 7:23 PM on December 14, 2016

These are a bit free association, I don't know if any of them will be suitable for your purposes...

Tim Finn - Walk You Home (I have heard better recordings of this but couldn't find any on Youtube)

Paul Kelly - Would You Be My Friend?
Paul Kelly - Careless (the video clip implies this is about a marriage, but I don't think that's explicit in the song itself - and it seems to me like a candidate for "I'm not even sure why you're such good friends to me but I really appreciate it anyway", on preview )

Ben Lee - We're All In This Together (maybe apart from the chorus?)
Ben Lee - Grammercy Park Hotel

Denison Witmer - Carry the Weight
posted by Cheese Monster at 7:31 PM on December 14, 2016

The Finn Brothers - Won't Give In
posted by Candleman at 7:39 PM on December 14, 2016

You've Got A Friend In Me - Toy Story
posted by Sassyfras at 8:14 PM on December 14, 2016

Lean On Me
posted by Sassyfras at 8:17 PM on December 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Tim O'Brien, "Walk Beside Me"
posted by brennen at 8:19 PM on December 14, 2016

Dessa - "Crew"
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:25 PM on December 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Maybe Rancid's Fall Back Down?
posted by Phobos the Space Potato at 8:59 PM on December 14, 2016

Dropkick Murphys - Forever and The Outcast
"Never take your loved ones for granted: they could be gone tomorrow.
All of my dreams seem to fall by the side like a discarded thought or the day's fading light,
But I know that if I could just see you tonight, forever.
At times we may fall, Like we all tend to do, but I'll reach out and find that I've run into you,
Your strength is the power that carried me through forever"
"Time after time
I still seem to find
You're looking out for me
So wrap your arms around me
Hold me close and don't let go
Let me lean on you as I think things through
If I don't we'll never know"
posted by Candleman at 9:34 PM on December 14, 2016

Time After Time by Cundi Lauper.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 10:38 PM on December 14, 2016

"The Reasons," the Weakerthans
"Lantern," Josh Ritter
"Old Friends," from Merrily We Roll Along, by Steven Sondheim
posted by fairlynearlyready at 10:43 PM on December 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

"We're All Dudes" from the Good Burger soundtrack. Totally not joking.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:48 PM on December 14, 2016

Guy Clark -- Old Friends
Old friends / they shine like diamonds
Old friends / you can always call
Old friend / lord, you can't buy them
You know it's old friends, after all

posted by dancestoblue at 11:18 PM on December 14, 2016

"In Cythera"- Killing Joke
I'm grateful,
For all the times we've shared.
Through struggles, and madness,
You're there...
posted by JulesER at 5:50 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Carole King:
"Where You Lead, I Will Follow"
and "You've Got a Friend"
These are especially relevant if your friend likes The Gilmore Girls.
posted by areaperson at 6:02 AM on December 15, 2016

I've always loved Simon and Garfunkel's Old Friends - the lyrics are an impressionistic sketch/vignette, but to me they've always evoked the sort of deep, lifelong friendship you describe.
posted by usonian at 7:19 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Speaking to the "keeping you safe" angle, I really like this Jamie Cullum cover of "Not While I'm Around" from Sweeney Todd.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 7:36 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Led Zeppelin - Friends
posted by saladin at 7:59 AM on December 15, 2016

Jimmie Rodgers - My Old Pal
posted by saladin at 8:09 AM on December 15, 2016

Clearly you need The Rembrandts' I'll Be There For You!

I also really want this playlist to include Dar Williams' Christians and Pagans though I can't quite put my finger on why.

Those are both sort of silly/bouncy, so I'll add this very sincere and accessible ballad: Ani DiFranco's Everest.

I love the idea of your security team. I am sure they appreciate it, too. Safe travels!
posted by juliplease at 8:18 AM on December 15, 2016

Carbon Leaf - "Comfort"
"My life is open wide
The more you live the less you will die
Outside, floating free
I'm finally open to see
Could you be any more comfort to me?"

Also from Carbon Leaf - "Changeless"
"Take a while, take a while
Take care and
Fly away and see the world.
Take a while, take a while,
Take time and
If you need rest I'll keep your nest

posted by dnash at 10:10 AM on December 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Samantha by the Unlovables, for your tiny tough femme friend who's been there for you forever and always will be.

and samantha loves being a girl and wearing pink
but you know she’s strong in her own way
she’s carried me through the worst of times
she’s been the light in my darkest days

posted by nicebookrack at 12:12 PM on December 15, 2016

Florence + The Machine's amazing new cover of Stand By Me
posted by nicebookrack at 12:36 PM on December 15, 2016

I love "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" because "faithful friends who are dear to us," etc. I always think of my chosen family around the world when I hear it.

Lots of versions, no one does it sadder than Judy.
posted by cyndigo at 9:37 PM on December 15, 2016

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