Bruno Mars breezes into town next Wednesday and already we’re singing.
When I see your face, there’s not a thing that I would change
Cause you’re amazing, just the way you are …
“Just the Way You Are” came out three years ago and has more than 64 million listens on Spotify. Why? We love to hear songs that affirm we’re beautiful, flaws and all. Bruno does that well. Ever since the dancing machine with the charismatic voice burst onto the mainstream scene singing the hook on B.O.B’s “Nothing on You,” a 2010 radio favorite, he’s been cranking out that kind of song.
His current hit, “Treasure,” is No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
One Direction’s hit song “What Makes You Beautiful” came out two years ago; the girls are still yelling, Don’t need make-up to cover up, being the way that you are is enough.
It’s understandable. Women are more than Photoshopped arm props and hypersexualized video vixens. We’re used to women in music – Beyoncé, Pink, Lady Gaga and the like – echoing that sentiment. But lately, a lot of men have been sending the message that we’re awesome, as Bruno would say, just the way we are.
It’s not just about songs for the ladies, it’s about songs that are uplifting for everyone. Case in point: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Self-acceptance at its finest.
If you’re looking for a feel-good playlist, here are a few happy songs of the year.
“Q.U.E.E.N”: Janelle Monae’s song was the first that came to mind, because this song never fails to make me feel like a boss. It’s a power song. And while it’s refreshing that male artists are doing it, too, we tip our crowns to Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu for lines like Is it peculiar that she twerk in the mirror? And am I weird to dance alone late at night? And is it true we’re all insane? And I just tell ’em, “No we ain’t,” and get down.
“Chloe”: Emblem3 goes for the girl in the shadows and reminds her that the sun shines for her too. If only you could believe in yourself in the way I believe in you. I, I do. If only you could see all of the beautiful things that I see in you. It’s true-ue-ue-ue.
“Crooked Smile”: J. Cole is winning with this song. A sample: We don’t look nothing like the people on the screen, you know them movie stars, picture-perfect beauty queens. But we got dreams and we got the right to chase ’em. Look at the nation, that’s a crooked smile braces couldn’t even straighten.
“Beneath Your Beautiful”: This Labrinth and Emeli Sandé beauty, which came out in late 2012, is about taking off your cool, letting down your guard and not getting caught up in trying to be pretty. Would you let me see beneath your beautiful? Would you let me see beneath your perfect?
“Girl on Fire”: It’s hard to deny Alicia Keys and her flames. This song came out in late 2012 and took over much of this year from the very first verses – She’s just a girl and she’s on fire, hotter than a fantasy, lonely like a highway. She’s living in a world and it’s on fire, filled with catastrophe, but she knows she can fly away.
“Treasure”: Back to Bruno Mars and his most recent chart topper: Give me all, give me all, give me all your attention baby. I got to tell you a little something about yourself. You’re wonderful, flawless, ooh you’re a sexy lady. But you walk around here like you wanna be someone else. I know that you don’t know it, but you’re fine, so fine. Oh girl, I’m gonna show you when you’re mine, oh mine.
“Lighthouse”: Fantasia reminds us why she was such a powerhouse on “American Idol” with this song that always puts me in a good mood. Tryin’ to shut me up, tryin’ to hold me down, never turning off ’cause I’m a light. Shining on a world that’s moving fast, here to guarantee you never crash.
“Butterfly”: Bilal and Robert Glasper deliver one of those haunting Christina Aguilera “Beautiful”-like songs that dig deep into the pain and find the beauty: Butterfly, the struggle makes you beautiful. The struggle makes you fly. Spread your wings and be new again.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: “Same Love” and “Can’t Hold Us” deliver the uplifting vibes. “Can’t Hold Us” does make you feel unstoppable. Can we go back, this is the moment. Tonight is the night, we’ll fight ’til it’s over. So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us. Like the ceiling can’t hold us.
“You Will”: Andy Mineo, like Macklemore, is a motivator. True love is waiting, and you so worth that. I know you heard some bull crap, but if you headed down the wrong path, go ahead and turn back. You’re never too far to be made new. They said you damaged goods – that ain’t true.
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