After experiencing Splash House festival for the first time in Palm Springs, I felt connected to the festival music culture. People are dressed crazy, flirting everywhere, and dancing in various states of consciousness. They’re pausing to take care of each other, pass a water, and openly meet new people (oh-my-god-my-cousin-is-from-Florida-too!). Hundreds of people have paused their normal programming to experience music and youth and aliveness. 

One of the most powerful moments was hearing the whole crowd sing a deeply heartfelt lyric. And, seeing Louis Futon have more fun on the stage than anyone in the pools near his stage. Straight up celebration in a Hawaiian shirt!

Since then I’ve started collecting lyrics and illustrating certain songs. Here are some of my favorites. 

8. “It is well with my soul” It Is Well // Toulouse //Maths Time Joy Remix

First, “In the calm and chaos of your soul…” what a poignant line. The song is calm during the verses of the song, with only a melody in the background. Then the beat drops, chaos starts, and there’s Jack whoaaaa-ing in the background and just feeling the damn sensation of a soul in a body.

Second, “you know you might surprise yourself” – it’s ironic. Surprises aren’t known. 

The soul is less than knowable… or not knowable in the intellectual sense. 

The song is like a therapy session. If you’re not sure what you’re soul can do, drop everything and dance to it. You’ll be able to hear a lot more than when you’re fine-combing it with mental processing. And then, “you might surprise yourself.”

7. “I don’t need a kind of captain / I live my life a certain way.” Lane 8 // No Captain 

The moving thing about this line is the way she sings it. It’s a love song, as if the singer has been independent for a long time and is caught between the pleasure of loving someone well and the self-assurance to discern co-dependence.

She’s standing for herself with a manifesto of her boundaries. ‘Yes, I do love deeply. I love on purpose. I don’t need to love someone though, and I will not compromise who I am to make someone else happy.’ 

For the person who has a huge capacity to love deeply, the lyric reminds us to source our own love and give it only where we can give freely – without unspoken expectations.  

 

6. “Love takes its time to bloom / When it’s ready to find you.” Tyler Lyle // Lost and Found // The Midnight Remix

I LOVE a good 21st century rendition of an 80s track. This remix is a little on the slow side for an electronic song, but you feel it. The line is a sweet nudge to remember that love and time are entities of their own, who won’t be bossed or forced or rushed by you. 

When there’s enough space for love to find you, time will grow it in ways you’ve never imagined. Yelling at seeds to grow or packing more soil in will not create the magic we wait for.

5. “This blade won’t hurt at all / I’ll cut a melody along your heart strings / Let me be your sabre” The Swoons // Sabre

This song is a beautiful play on the way love heals. The singer acknowledges his lover’s past pain and fear, and understands that it’s a risk to let love cut under her defenses again. 

But his promise is tender – even though his love will cut her open, it will also help her heal.

 

4. “It’s the little things in life / that I feel” Big Gigantic ft. Angela McCluskey // The Little Things Kasbo Remix

Of COURSE there’s a Kasbo song in the list! This song is what it says – when it drops, you feel every beat. 

The lyric is sweet medicine for those of us who get stuck in our heads or too busy building our empire to be happy now.

The ability to feel – to fully experience and savor – the little things is the gateway to living in heaven… now.

 

3. “In the calm and chaos of your soul / you know you might surprise yourself” Surprise Yourself // Jack Garratt // Gryffin & Manila Killa Remix

First, “In the calm and chaos of your soul…” what a poignant line. The song is calm during the verses of the song, with only a melody in the background. Then the beat drops, chaos starts, and there’s Jack whoaaaa-ing in the background and just feeling the damn sensation of a soul in a body.

Second, “you know you might surprise yourself” – it’s ironic. Surprises aren’t known. 

The soul is less than knowable… or not knowable in the intellectual sense. 

The song is like a therapy session. If you’re not sure what you’re soul can do, drop everything and dance to it. You’ll be able to hear a lot more than when you’re fine-combing it with mental processing. And then, “you might surprise yourself.”

2. “I will find my way to your wild heart” Wild Heart // Bleachers

I experienced this song as a message from my first love, many years later. That character in my story was one of the strongest and most devoted people I’ve ever met, everything he set his mind to was like a sculpture that would be tended tirelessly until complete. That’s what this song feels like.

 This song begins with someone who is suicidal but chooses to give life 1 more year of a chance. Then it talks about their transformation – realizing their dark thoughts had been lies, and pulled from the isolated darkness by the lover.  Now, the whole world he came from is astounding and seems far away.

 

“To think everything must die
For anyone to matter

Got to find any way
To your wild heart
Oh, I will find any way to your wild heart”

…wow. As if life’s impermanence makes a romance of the hearts and moments we have. 

1. “My soul / for your atoms” Atoms // RL Grime // Said the Sky Remix, ft. Jeremy Zucker

This remix is transformational to listen to. The comments throughout the soundcloud track read like people popping through normal reality to HD-nirvana. 

Then, the lyrics. In this genre, so much of the feeling comes from the meeting point between soul and body, or spirituality and matter. The music is the matter, you feel it with your body and hear it with physical ears. Then, the sensations are metaphysical. 

This line could mean so many different love notes – sacrifice, giving up your most precious parts for another person. Or loving another person so much that their being rends you. This one doesn’t need interpretation. Just feel it.

Treasure Hunting for Lyrics to Get Out of Your Head

Okay, your turn. What songs just make you feel? No more thinking, just being in the music? Comment below with those songs and lyrics.

And here’s my recent playlist of songs like these on Spotify, for some mental-break jams. 🎧