10 Songs To Help Survivors Find Hope
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Content Warning: If you have experienced sexual assault, the following article could be potentially triggering. You can contact the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
Music is therapeutic. It can heal us when we feel broken and when we are at our lowest points. It’s a powerful force capable of influencing our emotions. Music can make us feel happy even when we feel sad. It can make us want to dance even when we don’t want to, moving the immovable. Music can make us want to sing along, belting out our favorite tunes and giving us a voice when we feel voiceless. But most importantly, music can inspire hope when it feels like there is none. As April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it feels more pertinent than ever to share a list of songs that inspire hope and healing. The healing process after a sexual assault is a complex journey and is different for every individual experiencing it. While music cannot "cure" the pain from a traumatic event, it can still be a comfort in recovery. Without further ado, here are 10 songs to help survivors find hope.
10. "Scars To Your Beautiful" - Alessia Cara
Alessia Cara's "Scars To Your Beautiful" fuels a culture of self-love. The track is full of lyrics that let listeners know they are beautiful the way they are. Cara's voice is powerful and gorgeous as it soars over anthemic beats. She delivers lines like "But there's a hope that's waiting for you in the dark/You should know you're beautiful just the way you are," showing listeners that they can love themselves. As a survivor, it can be hard to feel self-love, but Alessia Cara provides hope and reminds us that everyone is beautiful and worthy of self-love.
9. "Shake It Out" - Florence and the Machine
An epic energy radiates off "Shake It Out" by Florence and the Machine. This song sends a positive message about letting go of your troubles, shaking them out for a new beginning. Florence Welch's mystical, commanding voice soars powerfully over a massive, organ-laden soundscape. "Shake It Out" features pounding, adrenaline-inducing drums, giving a great backdrop to dance along to. Lyrically, the song conjures images of literally shaking devils off your back, dancing your woes away.
8. "Warrior" - Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato delivers an emotionally charged ballad with "Warrior." The song features a minimalistic arrangement, comprised of cello, piano, and Lovato's expressive voice. She captivates listeners as she transitions from singing delicate verses to belting fierce choruses. Lyrically, Lovato expresses her experiences with hardship and coming out on the other side stronger, rising from the ashes like a phoenix. "Warrior" is an inspirational track, focusing on inner-strength.
7. "Brave" - Josh Groban
Josh Groban is usually an acquired taste, but "Brave" is full of uplifting melodies that are bound to linger in your mind for a while. The track has a cinematic quality to it with Groban's huge vocals being supported by a lively orchestra and chorus. Lyrically, the song conveys a positive message. Groban encourages listeners to be brave facing the day, no matter what it brings. "Brave" inspires listeners to smile through fear and to be strong.
6. "Girl (Acoustic)" - SYML
"Girl" by SYML gives an honest, emotional look at life. Opposed to other songs on this list, this track is more laid-back and is relaxing to listen to. The track features acoustic guitar and Brian Fennell's mellow vocals. "Girl" was originally written for Fennell's daughter, but it features a positive message many can resonate with. It conveys a message of loving yourself and finding positives in every experience. "Girl" gives hopes to anyone going through tough times or who have gone through something difficult.
5. "F**kin' Perfect" - P!nk
This song is a self-esteem anthem. It features P!nk's powerful vocals, belting out a message that no one should ever feel less than perfect. The song features edgy guitar licks, buoyant pop beats, and P!nk's distinctive, raspy voice. "F**ckin' Perfect" is a power ballad full of optimistic energy. No matter what you're going through, this song provides an important reminder that everyone is perfect as they are.
4. "Praying" - Kesha
Kesha tugs at our heartstrings with "Praying." She begins the song with vulnerable vocals over piano chords, later building in intensity. Towards the end of the song, she lets loose into a massive sound, belting over a chorus and orchestra. Kesha reflects on her experiences with sexual abuse and faces her abuser in "Praying." An emotionally charged ballad, "Praying" conveys a message of empowerment, forgiveness, and resilience.
3. "Til It Happens To You" - Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga delivers a vulnerable and empowering track with "Til It Happens To You." The song was written for the documentary, The Hunting Ground, which focuses on sexual assault on college campuses. "Til It Happens To You" starts soft and exposed, building in intensity to feel more defiant. This song is more of a cathartic listen, expressing the frustration that comes with people viewing support as synonymous with understanding. It also reminds us of the reality millions of survivors face on a daily basis and gives a feeling of solidarity. The video that accompanies "Til It Happens To You" contains imagery that may be sensitive to some viewers. If you want to listen to the song but not see the video, here's a link to Spotify.
2. "Forest" - Twenty One Pilots
One of the lighter songs on this list, "Forest" by Twenty One Pilots is an upbeat anthem that'll put you in a fantastic mood. The track is full of catchy melodies and infectious pop beats, creating something anyone can dance and feel good listening to. "Forest" features a message about healing through music and community. The song tackles emotions like feeling out of control when life doesn't go according to plan and being terrified of what's around the corner. "Forest" conquers those fears and anxieties with cheerful melodies and a positive, uplifting chorus.
1. "I Believe You" - FLETCHER
"I Believe You" is FLETCHER's response to the #MeToo movement. Through this song, FLETCHER delivers a passionate open letter to survivors, letting everyone know that she's listening and cares. This song is her way of telling survivors their feelings are valid, and they're not alone. "I Believe You" begins with FLETCHER's voice floating over contemplative piano chords, later building to booming pop beats that support impassioned vocals. It's a beautiful tribute to survivors, addressing some of the many issues survivors face such as trauma, mental illness, and not being believed.
What do you think of this list? Were there any songs we missed? Follow us on our socials below, and let us know what you think!
Written By Cheyenne Johnson
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