The Power of Music: Song Reviews

By Jane Hamilton

I believe very much in the power of music. I believe that we are what we listen to. Below are reviews of several songs:

My very favorite song, which has been my theme song since high school and a key for my mental health, is “Greatest Love Of All” by Whitney Houston. I have spent most of my life learning to love myself and others. I believe that loving myself has helped me from getting depressed. 

“Centuries” by Fall Out Boy is a great song, but it’s a little angry-sounding in its determination. Its meaning can go two ways: you will remember me for good things or bad things, so either way, you will remember me. I could see this being a theme song for someone doing bad things, as music can influence our behavior for better or for worse. “Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston has definitely influenced me for the better.

A friend recently asked me to give my opinion on a song that he liked, so here is my feedback on “A Symptom Of Being Human” by Shinedown. I don’t like the negative connotation of the words ‘strange’, ‘awkward’, and ‘weird’. How about something like ‘special’, ‘rare’, or ‘unique’?  I like the idea of a ‘lunatic ball’. I have definitely been there a few times in my mania. When I go over the line from hypomania to mania and psychosis, I call it the ‘lunatic fringe’. Also, I don’t like the idea of “hiding your baggage in the attic”.  I am all about unpacking your baggage and making peace with it, not hoping it will disappear, but rather getting in touch with your feelings about it and ultimately trying to make good on it.  Lastly, while I do believe that we are all passengers on a ship or a train, I don’t believe it is a “ship of fools.”  I believe it is more a ship of love, or a ship of fantasy like Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “Fantasy” or The O’Jays’ “Love Train.” 

Flowers Are Red” by Harry Chapin shows the impact of bad leaders who don’t see kids as unique individuals or let them be their own leaders to bring out their best. Instead, they stifle their creativity and unique individuality to the point where it’s permanent. We need to “let the children lead the way” as DMB sings about in “Come Tomorrow” and not put limitations on them based on our own beliefs and restrictions. History repeats itself if we don’t make a conscious effort to break the chain.

I love the song “There Will Come A Day” by Faith Hill, but I don’t believe that we should just sit back and have faith that there will come a day. I believe that we need to take action (more like “Mercy” by DMB) and begin to love ourselves and each other while we are here on earth. Sin does leave a trace: look at all the sadness, betrayal, abuse, and violence in the world. Many times, it manifests itself in the form of a mental illness and I believe that we can do something about it now. We can make the world a better place while we are here by learning to love ourselves and others. I believe the traces of sin come from not loving enough or correctly, which is our biggest sin and a waste of our greatest resource. Let’s not wait for the day to come when we die, let’s make it happen while we are alive.  

I love all songs about world peace. Inner and world peace are common themes in my mania. I like “Imagine” by John Lennon, and I am okay with different religions, countries, and even sports teams. A little friendly competition is healthy and fun. But we need to learn to appreciate differences (like kids that draw flowers that aren’t red with green leaves) and not be mean or violent in healthy competition. For this reason, I prefer “Peace Train” by Cat Stevens as a vision board for world peace, along with Michael Jackson’s “Heal The World” and “We Are The World” with Lionel Richie and many others. We ARE the children: we are kids of all ages. If we were raised to believe that “Flowers Are Red,” we need to try to dig up and cultivate our uniqueness. We should learn to love and bring out the best in ourselves and each other, and certainly in our young children. It’s a little bit harder to teach an old dog new tricks, but I think it can be done with hard work. Other world peace-themed songs I like are: The Steve Miller Band’s “Fly Like An Eagle,” Rush’s “Limelight,” Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “One Love/People Get Ready,” Common/John Legend’s “Glory,” and Three Dog Night “Joy To the World.”

Are there any world peace-themed songs that you like? It sure is sung about in many songs, so it seems like we should find a way to get there!

Jane had her first psychotic break when she was 37 years old and in a marriage that was harmful to her well-being. After a brutal divorce and years of psychotic manic episodes (with a pattern of wanting truth and love and world peace) and hospitalizations, she decided to eliminate the stress of her job and quit. Since then, she has been taking meds and attending groups regularly and has been hospitalization free and plans to remain that way. She hopes to inspire others on their journeys to mental wellness.

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