We’ve all done it. Turned the volume up as high as it will go and sing with the gusto and bravado of an Italian tenor even if we sound like a squalling hog when that favorite song came on the radio. Music has the power to do that. It will make you over. Music can soothe a broken heart, encourage a downtrodden spirit, make a man love a woman, or make a girl want to be a woman. Music is language that is universal; it uncovers what is already there inside of you and wakes up those feelings that you’ve chosen to ignore.
Songs that empower are songs that pass the test of time because they basically say to you if you can sing about it you’ll make it. Empowerment songs are not limited to any particular musical genre. If the song reaches way down into your soul and pulls you out alive, it has a message that will empower you.
An all-time favorite that must be on any list of songs that empower you has to be the old hymn Amazing Grace. The message of having been lost but now found, having been blind but now able to see makes the hearer believe in the power of forgiveness and the reality of salvation empowering the listener to receive the love of God.
Aretha Franklin told us all what we needed, Respect. This anthem has been the theme song for civil rights activist, heartbroken and abused women, men who have been ignored and disrespected, and just about anyone who has been made to feel less than a neighbor or friend.
Roar by Katy Perry is a quintessential anthem that tells you that you can get up after being knocked down. “Hear me roar,” says it all.
Another oldie-goldie that never ceases to inspire and empower is I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor. This anthem set women free when it declared that “you can’t break me with good-bye,” and encouraged the man “to go, walk out the door.” Women really believed that they could make it without him, and every time they heard the song they got that much stronger.
Born this Way by Lady Gaga is a love letter to the LGBTQ community, but it is also an anthem to anyone who feels different. Born this Way justifies a person’s right to live and the song’s unapologetic message of acceptance and self-love motivates us all.