Several weeks into this COVID-19 crisis, we need some tension-relieving music. And Michigan artists — new and old — supply the perfect soundtrack to lift spirits, courtesy of this week’s Local Spins playlist.
At this point, we all just want this to be over, right?
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
Spring has sprung, warm weather is on the horizon and the world needs a sunnier disposition.
So, this week’s Local Spins playlist boasts songs aimed at getting us through this COVID-19 pandemic and eyeing happier days ahead — and what better way than with an uplifting, tension-relieving batch of songs by Michigan-bred artists? Check out the songs and why we picked them, and scroll down for a Spotify playlist.
And as always, stay safe.
COVID-19 RELIEF: The Local Spins Playlist
1. “Tired of Being Alone,” Al Green – One of the greatest soul singers of all time, Al Green grew up (as Albert Greene) in Grand Rapids. He also told me in an interview that he wrote most of this 1971 single in Grand Rapids, and it turned out to be one of his first really big national hits. Anyway, so many people are “tired of being alone” during this stay-at-home pandemic, right?
2. “Turn the Page,” Bob Seger – A Michigander through and through who is a must for this list. Sure, “Rock and Roll Never Forgets” and “Against the Wind” might have some merit amid this crisis, but isn’t “Turn the Page” what we really want to do to so desperately to get past all of this? It’s a fan favorite that sends chills down the spine when performed live.
3. “Healing Tide,” The War & Treaty – The title track from the Albion band’s official 2018 debut album is full of the fire, spirit and soulfulness that makes Tanya and Michael Trotter a rare, special combination. And don’t we all want to be “part of the healing tide”?
4. “Good as Hell,” Lizzo – Lizzo was born in Detroit, so I figure Michiganders can claim her as their own. As for track choices, I could have gone with “Stayin’ Alive” (from “Happy Death Day 2U”) but I opted for something more upbeat under the circumstances. Instead, I chose to look at “Good as Hell” as a song about leaving a bad pandemic behind — as opposed to a bad relationship: “Go on, dust your shoulders off, keep it moving … just walk your fine ass out the door.” Someday.
5. “All Summer Long,” Kid Rock – Love him, hate him or just put up with him, you can’t deny the catchiness and sunny-days vibe of this global hit (which borrowed heavily from the Lynyrd Skynyrd school of rock) courtesy of Robert James Ritchie who grew up in Romeo, north of Detroit. The song refers to “smoking funny things” and “making love out by the lake” during “summertime in northern Michigan” — which many folks are dreaming of doing once again. (Unfortunately, the video was actually shot in Nashville.)
6. “Shine On,” May Erlewine — Talk about inspiring. This longstanding gem by northern Michigan’s May Erlewine has long been a staple in her concert catalog and it later became an instant iTunes hit when Sawyer Fredericks performed a rendition of it on “The Voice” in 2015. The lyrics are perfect for a nation jolted by the coronavirus: “Knocked me off of my feet but I think it’s time for me to start walking again. … In hard times, I know it’s weighing on your mind, next time you see me I’ll be uplifting … Oh just to be alive, we are learning to shine, shine on.”
7. “A Change is Gonna Come,” Aretha Franklin — The Detroit legend’s cover of this Sam Cooke song written about the Civil Rights Movement could also apply to the post-Covid future: “It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.”
8. “Bus Life,” Nicholas James & The Bandwagon — Inspired by his beloved VW bus, Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Nicholas James Thomasma wrote the perfect ditty for hitting the road in summer. Which is what we all hope we’ll be doing at some point.
9. “Not Afraid,” Eminem — Not that I consider Eminem an inspiring fellow, but his Detroit roots are strong and while this 2010 song from “Recovery” probably has more to do with Eminem than anything else, the refrain is a hopeful one: “I’m not afraid … everybody, come take my hand come, we’ll walk this road together through the storm. … just letting you know that you’re not alone.”
10. “Connected by Love,” Jack White — The irrepressible and creative Jack White has tons of songs that could apply in this pandemic: “Alone in My Home,” “Another Way to Die,” “Love Interruption.” But let’s look on the bright side with a 2018 song that proclaims, “Yes, I’m infected, I need to be protected by your love, we’re connected … we’re connected by love.”
THE TOP 10 PLUS ONE: “The Accidentals, “Michigan and Again” – Could any other song be more appropriate to close out a Michigan-propelled playlist in time of crisis? Michigan and its music (and The Accidentals) will be back “and again and again and again and again.”
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground,” Luke Winslow-King’s “I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always,” Seth Bernard’s “Reconciliation,” The Supremes’ “Someday We’ll Be Together,” Hannah Rose Graves’ “Breath to Sing,” Alice Cooper, “School’s Out” (school actually got out REALLY early this year), “The Crane Wives’ “Sleeping Giants,” Greta Van Fleet’s “Brave New World,” Troll for Trout’s “Wishuwell.”
COVID-19 RELIEF: The Local Spins Playlist on Spotify
Copyright 2020, Spins on Music LLC