While I was growing up, there were certain songs that I’d listen to for hours on end. But as time carried on, and there came new music, the songs that I had endlessly listened to faded away to the backs of my playlists, replaced by new favorites.

I was sifting through my collection recently and came across all the songs I once played on a loop. I played a couple of them and felt myself slipping into the past. A wistful longing for the old days and feelings of nostalgia rose to the surface. 

These songs healed me when I was hurt. I sang along with them. I felt them. I lived them. They’re glorious reminders of my past. And, most importantly, it turns out they’ll never be too old for me.

1. “What Hurts the Most” by Rascal Flatts

Best lyric: ♪ “I can take a few tears now and then and just let them out / I’m not afraid to cry every once in a while / Even though going on with you gone still upsets me.” ♪

It’s a beautiful song by Rascal Flatts. It’s about pain. It’s about letting go. It’s about loving someone but not being able to tell them what you feel.

Each time I hear this song, my eyes become watery with tears.

2. “No Boundaries” by Adam Lambert 

Best lyric: ♪ “I fought to the limit to stand on the edge / What if today is as good it gets?” ♪

Adam Lambert’s voice is so powerful. It makes you feel so many emotions all at once. The words of the song are beautiful on their own but even better in Lambert’s voice. They give you the courage to keep holding on, to never turn back on your dreams, to simply keep moving on in life.

You almost start believing that your dreams aren’t impossible, that there really are no boundaries.

3. “Someone Like You” by Adele

Best lyric: ♪ “Sometimes it lasts in love / But sometimes it hurts instead.” ♪

Their words are painful. They hurt when you hear them. And the fact that Adele has sung them makes them more meaningful.

Letting go of people who are important to you is probably one of the hardest things that you have to do in life. And this cold realization dawns on you when you hear this song.

4. “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus

Best lyric: ♪ “Ain’t about how fast I get there / Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side / It’s the climb.” ♪

The Climb by Miley Cyrus is my all-time favorite song. The words of this song easily flow through me. They make me feel as if I can make it through any difficult situation as long as I keep moving, keep climbing. They speak to me. They tell me that what matters is what I learn from my struggles – everything else is meaningless. I need to be stronger than what breaks me.

5. “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum

Best lyric: ♪ “Guess I’d rather hurt than feel nothing at all.” ♪

I can’t describe in words what this song means to me. Happy or sad, Need You Now by Lady Antebellum has been my constant companion. With its lyrics whirling in my mind, I feel different things. Sometimes, profound happiness. Sometimes, endless pain. Sometimes, nothing at all.

Its music is calm like the ocean, yet it can brew a storm of feelings inside of you. I’ll never get tired listening to this one song.

6. “Apologize” by Timbaland & OneRepublic

Best lyric: ♪ “They tell me that you mean it / Then you go and cut me down.” ♪

I remember listening to this song over and over again, even before I understood its lyrics and what they meant. I’d lose myself in its composition. There’s something about this song that touches deeply.

When I listen to it, memories from my past stir in my mind. I listened to this song while traveling to faraway places, when I felt alone, and when I was hurting. This song made me feel better each time.

7. “Innocence” by Avril Lavigne

Best lyric: ♪ “Feel calm, I belong I’m so happy here / It’s so strong, and now I let myself be sincere.” ♪

Avril Lavigne’s Innocence reminds me of the years I battled with depression. I used to hear it a lot back then because it made me feel something when I thought I couldn’t ever feel anything again. Being happy felt unreal, but if I did feel happy, I wanted to hold on to the moment, make it last a little longer. Innocence threaded my feelings into words. I could relate to it. I could feel it. Listening to it today makes me feel the same way – it saves me from sinking deeper into depression.

8. “Read All About It” by Emeli Sandé 

Best lyric: ♪ “You’ve spent a lifetime stuck in silence / Afraid you’ll say something wrong / If no one ever hears it how we gonna learn your song?” ♪

This song means different things to different people. For me, it’s about having the courage to openly speak our minds, to fearlessly say what’s in our hearts. It’s about being unafraid. It’s about letting the world know who we are and what we stand for. I return to this song each time I need inspiration.

9. “Teardrops on My Guitar” by Taylor Swift

Best lyric: ♪ “He’s the reason for the teardrops on my guitar / The only one who’s got enough of me to break my heart.” ♪

Taylor Swift was my favorite singer when I was younger, and I knew most of her songs by heart including this one. I’d endlessly listen to this song especially while traveling and sing along with it. And even though it is sad, its music is still very calming.

These songs may have come out years ago but their ability to fill me with emotions is undeniable. Unknowingly, they became a part of me, a part I’ll always hold onto.


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Izza Malik

By Izza Malik

Editorial Fellow