Songs for Sound Minds are our picks of the best music that uplifts, inspires and boosts mental health. Songs written as an anthem to overcoming the storms of life. The songs that give hope in those times when we are struggling.
There are times when we just want to find a place to switch off, take time out and chill. At the end of a hard day we crave the comfort of curling up on the sofa with a box set. Or soaking in a hot bath and letting our mind escape the hectic pace of modern life. Relaxing and unwinding is important for our wellbeing and so this week’s pick is ‘Swim’ by Madonna
‘Swim’ by Madonna
Music to unwind to
‘Swim’ by Madonna is a track that can take us to a place of relaxation. The lyrics encourage us to turn away from the bad things of the world and seek a safer space.
‘Swim to the ocean floor. So that we can begin again. Wash away all our sins. Crash to the other shore.’
More than just this, the vocals and electronically synthesised backing have the ability to transport us to somewhere more tranquil. Swim even has the sound of waves lapping on the beach; surely a certain pacifier of a troubled state of mind. Music can have that effect speaking directly to our emotions and bypassing the sort of thinking which sometimes contributes to our frantic feelings.
Ray of Light by Madonna
The song comes from Madonna’s critically acclaimed and multi-platinum selling album, ‘Ray of Light’. This was a record which helped to bring electronica to the mainstream when it was released in 1998. Electronica was a driving force behind chill out music recognised as the safe haven for clubbers relaxing after a hard night’s dancing in the 1990s.
Ray of Light was produced by William Orbit and most of the songs were co-written by Madonna and Orbit. Orbit was a pioneer of the sort of ambient music that could only be produced in the studio. His most famous track is probably his version of Barber’s ‘Adagio for Strings’ which you might recognise from the movie ‘Platoon’. Often heard at solemn occasions this classical piece can do much to calm us down despite its melancholic strains.
The health benefits of classical music
Extensive research has confirmed that listening to classical music can enhance feelings of joy, reduce stress and fight depression. When you next want to step off life’s treadmill why not explore some classical pieces instead of whatever disposable pop is flavour the month?
Try Edward Elgar’s ‘Enigma Variations, Op 36, Nimrod’ or Satie’s ‘Gymnopedie for Piano No. 1’. Dust down (or download) that long-forgotten chill out compilation from the 1990s and listen to ‘Little Fluffy Clouds’ by The Orb or ‘Come to Me’ by Bjork.
You might be surprised at the positive benefits.