A few years ago, back when the Code Switch podcast was a wee baby, we started a segment called "Songs Giving Us Life." The idea was that when things get a little heavy (which is often — we are talking about race, after all) music can help us sort through our feelings.
The very first song we chose was Kendrick Lamar's "Alright." Soon after its release, it became an anthem for black protest and resistance. The refrain, "We gon' be alright" was a defiant promise — that no matter what happened, black people would lean on each other to make it through. And as Andrew Limbong wrote for NPR Music, its role as both a party song and a protest song represented "the sound of black life's duality."
Well, things are plenty heavy right now. And even though we can't go to the club and rage our feelings away, listening to music can still be a healing experience. So on this episode, we asked our audience for the songs that are helping them make it through. One listener pointed us to a song that makes her feel less lonely while she's self-isolating; another shared one that keeps her hopeful when she's thinking about some of the immense challenges she's about to face.
We also got recommendations from some of our favorite podcast guests of the past: Yara Shahidi, Flor de Toloache, and Amara La Negra.
You can follow the full "Songs Giving Us Life" playlist on Spotify. And while you're at it, check out NPR Music's "Isle of Calm" playlist. It's got more than six hours of music "to help settle your jangled nerves, slow your heart rate and string up a little hammock for your soul."
And if there's a song that's giving you life in this lifeless time, email us at CodeSwitch@npr.org or tweet at us using #SongsGivingUsLife. Tell us what song you're listening to and why — we'll be featuring your picks on the podcast throughout the summer.