Modern Nostalgia

Music Monday Bonus: Music that Speaks to Your Heart (and Soul)


Since my daughter Zoey was about 2, she’s had a handful of favorite songs, and while they’re all different genres, there are similarities among them: they’re catchy, easy to sing to, they have a good beat, and they make you want to dance. If she could make a playlist of her favorites, it would probably consist of the following songs:

  1. Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker
  2. Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
  3. Roar – Katy Perry
  4. Biscuits – Kacey Musgraves
  5. Brave – Sara Bareilles
  6. Shut Up and Dance – Walk the Moon
  7. Honey, I’m Good – Andy Grammer
  8. Love Never Felt So Good – Michael Jackson (ft. Justin Timberlake)
  9. HandClap – Fitz and the Tantrums
  10. Electric Love –Β BØRNS
  11. Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake
  12. Brand New – Ben Rector

I know I’m biased and all, but that’s actually a pretty darn good mix, don’t you think? Just looking at that list makes me happy.

Because music is such an important part of my life, I want it to play an important role in Zoey’s life, too. As you can tell from the playlist above, I’m constantly exposing her to new music. Right now in the car we have a CD filled with 93 songs on it, and Zoey will often give me her comments from the backseat in the form of either a thumbs up or thumbs down, or a “Play it louder!” or “Skip!” comment.

Tonight as we were driving home, Zoey’s new favorite song came on. It’s a catchy little county song called Jet Black Pontiac by Chase Bryant. Personally, I think it’s a pretty good pick, because every time it comes on, I find myself singing and tapping on the steering wheel, and my feet start getting that twitch, the one that tells me they just want to move.

Since she knows all the words, Zoey belted her little heart out to it, and after the song was over, I turned the volume down so we could talk.

“Zoey, don’t you just love music?” I ask.

“I do. It’s the best.” She sighs, and in the rear-view mirror, I see her smiling. She is gazing out the window at the Christmas lights we are passing as we drive through a quiet neighborhood.

“I mean, I don’t know about you, but it all just speaks to my soul,” I tell her as we stop at a stop sign.

“Mama,” Zoey says very matter-of-factly, “It doesn’t just speak to my soul, it speaks to my HEART.” As I turn to look at her, she moves her little hand to her chest and points to where her little/big heart lives.

“I totally get that, Z. So how does Jet Black Pontiac speak to your heart?” I ask, curious.


“That’s easy,” she answers. “It’s happy, and I like the beat, and it makes me want to dance, and I really like how he sounds out the word ‘Pontiac.’ I bet he probably did really well in Kindergarten, because we’re sounding out words, and that one’s a tough one. Oh, and he says the word baby a lot, which makes me think about you because I’ll always be your baby. And that makes me happy, too.”

A pretty simple explanation, but pretty perfect, too. And it got me thinking about what songs speak to my heart and soul. I have so many of them that it’s difficult to pick only a few. A song can speak to you for many reasons, but the best part is that it speaks to you in the first place. Your experience with that song is your own, and your interpretation of it is yours and yours alone.

So while I take the time to ponder this one, I’ll throw the question out there to you: What piece of music or song speaks to your heart? What lyrics make your soul sing? What is that one song that comes on the radio or that song that you hear after not hearing it for 2o years that makes your heart say, ‘Oh yes, that feels like home’? Or what is the song that you will hear 20 years from now that will make you have nostalgia for this time right now, the song that will make you say, ‘I remember when….’ as a smile spreads across your face?

Share it with us in the comments below, and next week, when I report back on my soul-speaking songs, we’ll include some of your favorites (and comments), too. We can’t wait to hear what moves you.




28 thoughts on “Music Monday Bonus: Music that Speaks to Your Heart (and Soul)

  1. Absolutely LOVE your post. I couldn’t imagine my life without music (and the fact that I’m a musician). Ironically, every song from your playlist is a regular listen on my phone. Music does speak to me. And, like Z, I love happy music…stuff that makes me walk/run with a bounce in my step. However, there are songs that cause me to reflect.

    Recently, Brad Paisley released a song called “Today”. You should check it out!And, being the sappy fool that I am, I actually teared up as I listened to it. Being a single Dad, I thought of my three kids, and some great memories.

    Music, both listening and playing, is my Zen. It washes away pain and heartache for me. I love it. Thanks for sharing this…it made my day.

    1. I heard “Today” on my drive home this afternoon. You are no fool – I think anyone would tear up to this! I thought the song was really perfect for this blog, actually, especially with the lines “I don’t know about tomorrow, But right now the whole world is right, And the memory of a day like today, Could get you through the rest of your life.” Lyrics like that speak to my soul, too. Thank you so much for sharing! We hope you continue to enjoy our Music Monday posts!

  2. First thing…Zoey is utterly adorable!!! πŸ™‚ As for a song that makes me feel nostalgic, there is a long list. However, going back to when I first started to make a point of seeking comfort and connection in pop music, I think back to the tiny Christian school I attended in grade 7 and 8….someone had donated music and one of the albums was a Johnny Horton one…of the many songs I loved, I loved “Whispering Pines” best…I was so drawn to sad songs for years and decades….I still am, but not overwhelming so, anymore. A more contemporary/old school song I will always love is “Time After Time” by Cyndi Lauper πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

      1. Another time, I will tell you about driving in my car, last week, singing “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” at the top of my lungs, while tears rolled down my cheeks….actually, I will probably mention it in my next, or an upcoming post, and include mention of your blog πŸ™‚

  3. I know this sounds horrible, but I’m not really a music person. i didn’t get to much music growing up. It wasn’t until I was in college that I even really got to listen to any and it never really became a thing for me. I do try and sing songs to my little boys and we dance to toddler radio.

  4. She seems to have a wonderful and eclectic taste in music, I love it! I also love her answer for why the song speaks to her heart. I feel the same way about music, I think that it can be so powerful and it often gives me shivers or brings me to tears.

  5. She sounds like such a fabulous little girl! Ya know, I’m lucky that my son is really in love with music, too! I hoped it would be a passion we could share!

  6. Oh my goodness! This is the best! Music speaks to my soul (and heart) too! I may or may not be listening to Wagon Wheel now πŸ™‚ “Heeeeyyyyy, mama rock me!”

  7. I love this! My son is 10months and I can already tell that he really likes certain songs. I can’t wait for him to love songs like this!

  8. When I hear Roar I am reminded of my son Jake. When he was younger he loved singing that song. It brings me back to that time when he was so little. I miss that.

  9. I worked in an office that played no music once. Longest three months of my life. (They even banned us from listening to Pandora through ear buds, because they thought it might be a detriment to our work.)

    I’ll always love “Feeling Good,” especially Nina Simone’s cover. So much sass. I don’t know … sometimes my life leaves me feeling sassy (or the male equivalent to sassy, which escapes me.) It’s a quiet confidence, a kinship with all the happy stuff that surrounds us because in that moment, we’re FEELING IT.

    Z’s got the right attitude toward music, and maybe she was born decades too late. She could have been on American Bandstand. Heck, you too, Corey.

  10. My son and I jam out to music every day. On our car rides out to his hockey camps which are way out in the country, we’ve been listening to AC/DC and Lady Gaga.
    A song that sings to my heart currently is Wonderwall by Oasis – it’s the song I sang to my son when he was born and would lull him to sleep when he had colic. He turns 9 on August 14. Feeling nostalgic

  11. I love music – and I tend to still love the things I was a fan of in the past, with a few exceptions. They remind me of things, or just make me feel happy. I’ve always loved Garth Brooks so almost all of his singles make me think of childhood.


  12. That’s such a sweet little story. I love how music has so much power. How you can often feel so much of the emotion that the musician was feeling when they wrote it (especially the good ones.) A song that speaks to my soul is ‘she used to be mine’ by Sara Barielles. Beautiful!

  13. As a music teacher, reading this post really warmed my heart. I love that you are exposing Zoey to so many different types of music. One of the songs that will forever warm my heart is Cat Stevens’s “If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out”. It has such a beautiful message. Growing up my family listened to the Cat Stevens Greatest Hits album on repeat, and my dad and I danced to “If you Want to Sing Out, Sing Out” at my wedding. It will always hold a special place in my heart.

  14. I remember the first time that an adult (a babysitter) asked me why I liked the songs that I liked so much. At the time, in sixth grade, my favorite albums were Michelle Branch’s “The Spirit Room” and Jewel’s “Spirit.” It was the same time that I began writing my first full-length songs, inspired by the acoustic singer-songwriters and heartfelt lyrics that I was hearing. We listened to “Goodbye to You”–my favorite song–and she asked me which lyrics I liked best, and what I thought they meant. My favorite was, “It hurts to want everything and nothing at the same time/I want what’s yours and I want what’s mine/I want you, but I’m not giving in this time.” I couldn’t empathize with that at the time, but I could hear the poignance of what she was expressing, and how carefully she’d chosen her words. I carried that approach to songwriting with me forever!

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