Like most people, my favorite music provides the soundtrack to my life. Whether in times of joy and celebration, heartbreak and sadness, or, in this case, of uncertainty and fear, there are songs to comforts us through any moment. One of my favorite artists, Michelle Williams, has dedicated her career to lifting spirits and inspiring her listeners. She boasts a catalogue of music that is inspirational, cathartic and yes, fun. I’ve compiled a playlist of twelve songs that, in just under one hour, can lift your spirit.
1. “Purpose in Your Storm”
This uptempo kicks off the playlist with “Purpose in Your Storm” from Michelle’s 2004 sophomore album, Do You Know. This bop acknowledges life’s challenges, but motivates the listener to press on and push through it all.
“It’s temporary, it’s gonna get better
Yes it will…
There is a light that’s shinin’
And soon the dawn will come
You’ll find purpose
Purpose in your storm”
2. “If We Had Your Eyes”
Similar to “Purpose,” the lead single from her 2014 album Journey to Freedom, “If We Had Your Eyes” tells about the clarity that would come if we had the foresight to understand the purpose behind our hard times. In these times of panic and confusion, stuck staying at home with no end in sight, patience is key. The duet version with Fantasia also adds a certain strength in numbers to its message.
“God, if I had Your eyes
I could love better and
Have more compassion and
I could understand what I’m going through
While I’m going through
I’d be more patient
God help me to see things the way that you see things
Did I already say help me to be patient?
Say that again…”
3. “Everything” (2002)
This encouraging song from Michelle’s debut solo album, Heart to Yours, delivers a message to reassure the listener that no matter what you are going through, you just need a little faith to remain strong and persevere through it all.
“‘Cause everbody’s done passed you by and,
You’re left alone to thing about it.
Well I just wanted to encourage you,
And let you know that He will bring you through”
Michelle’s most recent single, “Fearless,” is an anthemic celebration of self. The song finds Michelle reaffirming that she herself is “fearless,” and has the strength to overcome her fears. It is a powerful song for a time when many of us feel so helpless.
Standin’ side by side
That don’t mind givin’
Givin’ the best of life
‘Cause I’m fearless”
5. “The Greatest”
While sometimes we feel like we are going through hard times alone, most of us have someone to turn to for comfort and reassurance, whether it’s God or a loved one. “The Greatest,” from her 2008 pop album, Unexpected, is a purposefully ambiguous love song that exudes gratitude.
“Thought everything had changed
Until the day you came
And took away the pain
Baby you’re the greatest
I always wore a frown
I never used to smile
Until you showed me how
Baby you’re the greatest”
6. “Sun Will Shine Again”
Another anthem of encouragement from her debut album, “Sun Will Shine Again” serves as a reminder that the darkness we are facing will not last forever, and we, like the sun, will rise again.
“The situation don’t look good
I know you’d change it if you could
The sun will shine again
The trouble’s all in your mind
Don’t run away, give it time
The sun will shine again…
This is not the way it will end.”
7. “In the Morning”
Echoing the sentiments of the previous song, “In the Morning” is a metaphoric song from 2014’s Journey to Freedom that lets the listener know they are not alone. Michelle makes it personal, letting us know that she’s been through hard times, but knows you’ll make it through, because she has.
“It’s all in your face
I see you think that I’m crazy
There’s no way I could know
But I only talk about what I know about
I’ve been there before
When you know you’re alive
Because it kills inside
And you wish you could go numb
And even my day dreams were a bad scene
Please God wake me up”
8. “Heard a Word”
With her debut solo single “Heard a Word,” Michelle let the world know that her mission was to lift us all up and inspire the world with her words and her voice. “Heard a Word” was the first of many healing hymns that she’s delivered throughout her career.
“I heard a word
Saying, Girl you’ll be fine
I heard a word
That would ease my troubled mind
Took all the hurt away
Warmed me up inside like a summer day
So glad You said You’d never break your promises”
9. “Do You Know” (Live in Atlanta, 2005)
For anyone who was previously unaware, Michelle let it be known with her 2005 performance of “Do You Know” that she could move the masses with her phenomenal voice. On Destiny’s Child’s 2005 tour, Michelle used her solo spot to shine the light on her inspirational anthem, “Do You Know,” from her 2004 album of the same title. Night after night, she tore the house down with her powerful voice and, thankfully, the performance was recorded to be relived again and again by fans.
“I hate to see you cry,
It’s like your world is torn apart
Just know that God is faithful
He’ll heal your wounded heart”
10. “Say Yes,” featuring Kelly Rowland & Beyoncé (Live at the Stellar Awards, 2015)
Reunited with her sisters in song, Kelly and Beyoncé, Michelle took the world by storm with her 2014 hit single, “Say Yes.” This infectious anthem of praise was heard around the world, and the world rejoiced along with their favorite trio, with Michelle at the helm. Their 2015 live performance of the song at the Stellar Awards further elevated its greatness. Watch below.
“I’m not worried ‘bout a thing
Cause I know you are guiding me
Where you lead me, Lord I will go
I have no fear cause I know who’s in control”
11. “It’s Good to Be Here”
Another uplifting uptempo, “It’s Good to Be Here” is perhaps the song that feels most appropriate in these troubled times. A song of gratitude, “It’s Good to Be Here” finds Michelle giving thanks for life, for health, for friends and family. It’s a message we all could use reminding of in the face of a pandemic.
“Just another day’s journey
And I’m glad about it
I got my health and my strenght
I can shout about it
Somebody didn’t make it
They can’t testify the day
That’s why I’m so grateful
And I’m mighty glad to say
It’s good to be here”
12. “We Break the Dawn”
While we all may be confined to our homes right now (hopefully), soon enough we will be able to go out, get together, and dance the night away once more. Whether that be at a club, bar, or your own backyard house party, this dance floor ready groove from Michelle’s 2008 dance pop album, Unexpected, is sure to move you to, well, “break the dawn”.
“Oh there’s somethin’ bout the skylight tonight
Something that makes me know everythin’s gon’ be alright
There’s somethin’ in the way that the stars align
There’s not a single moment I’m a pass by
The hour’s now, the bass is loud
The disco lights, shinin’ through the crowd
We’re holdin’ time in our hands
And it stops when we say, we say
And we ain’t stoppin’ ’til the morning light”