Effective Living > Music > Heart Songs

Summary. Music empowers people to live more joyfully and effectively. It soothes, entertains, brings healing, inspires, and energizes. This is the purpose of the Heart Songs initiative. This page contains commentary by Gregory Johnson about the Heart Songs selections for 2010 listed below that are available on iTunes.

2010 Title. The title for this year’s Heart Songs selections, Greater Things Have Yet To Come, reflects the belief that greater things are ahead for us as long as we focus on the values and virtues that produce a better life and world for us and others.

This Year’s Selections. This year there are 43 songs in the collection. These are mostly selected from songs discovered and purchased between May 2009 and December 2010 because the 2009 collection was released in the Spring of that year. This year, for the first time, the songs are not limited to what will fit on a single CD. Instead, they are being distributed as a Ping Music List in iTunes. This year’s photo, shown above, is a picture of the sunset viewed while traveling south on highway I 380 South toward Iowa City.

Sequence and Grouping. This year, the songs are grouped in order of genre. In general, the pop music is grouped at the beginning, then world music, then faith music, then techno/trance, and finally some epic movie soundtrack music. If you are bothered by contemporary praise music (religious songs), you can skip those that are toward the end of the collection (songs 27-35). If you are inspired by such music, I’d highly recommend you check these songs out. They are some of the most powerful praise songs I’ve heard from a musical and lyrical standpoint.

The Songs. Below is the list of songs with commentary by Gregory Johnson. Songs are in groups and listed in the order they appear in this year’s Heart Songs collection.

Hope. The collection this year begins with three songs of hope and inspiration.

  • Nella fantasia by Summer from the album Summer. Another rendition of this song was featured as the lead song for the 2006 Heart Songs annual CD. I like this version, and leading with this song helps emphasize the message of this year’s collection. The song is in Italian. The English translation of the lyrics is found here.
  • If Today Was Your Last Day by Nickelback from the album Dark Horse. I first heard this song while watching the amazing music video that was created for it. You can watch the video and learn more here.
  • What About Now by Daughtry from the album Daughtry (Deluxe Edition). This is a motivational song that inspires people to make a positive change in the world. You can watch the video and learn more here.

The Beatles. In 2010, the entire collection of music from The Beatles became available for download on the Apple iTunes store.

  • Across the Universe by The Beatles from the album Let It Be. There’s a category of music from The Beatles that have poetic and mystical lyrics that seem difficult to make sense of. This song is an example.
  • Blackbird by The Beatles from the album The Beatles (White Album). Blackbird is an acoustic guitar song from The Beatles that is different than their 1960s British Invasion rock style.

Pop Music. These are three upbeat pop songs selected for this year’s collection.

  • It’s Amazing by Jem from the album Down to Earth. This is a song that reflects on how amazing our abilities are if we set our mind to something.
  • Hey, Soul Sister (Glee Cast Version) by Glee Cast from the album Hey, Soul Sister (Glee Cast Version) – Single. I’ve enjoyed watching some episodes of the show Glee this past year. This song, in particular, really impressed me with the vocals.
  • Animal by Ke$ha from the album Animal. Ke$ha made a recent rise to popularity and has  come out with a few very popular songs. This is one of them. A complete article about her, and some of her music videos, can be viewed here.

Foreign. I’ve always enjoyed learning about and listening to other languages. In music, it seems that languages are the most poetic.

  • Allein Allein by Polarkreis 18 from the album Deutsche Chartbusters 2008, Vol. 1. I first heard this song after I stumbled upon the amazing music video version. Learn more here.
  • Voyage Voyage by Kate Ryan from the album Free. This is one of three songs by Kate Ryan this year. I like Kate’s vocal style and the upbeat sound of her music.
  • Désenchantée (Radio Mix) by Kate Ryan from the album Désenchantée / U R (My Love) – EP. This is the second of three songs by Kate Ryan this year. I like Kate’s vocal style and the upbeat sound of her music.
  • Ella Elle L A (Radio Version) by Kate Ryan from the album Free. This is the third of three songs by Kate Ryan this year. I like Kate’s vocal style and the upbeat sound of her music.

Decades Past. Usually the Heart Songs selections are songs that I discovered during the year. This year I wanted to choose a few songs from decades past.

  • The Way It Is by Bruce Hornsby from the album The Way It Is. In 2010, in addition to purchasing some new music, I purchased some older songs as well. This song was one of my favorites of its era.
  • The Times They Are A-Changin’ by Bob Dylan from the album The Essential Bob Dylan. In 2010, in addition to purchasing some new music, I purchased some older songs as well. This song was one of my favorites of its era. I think it is appropriate for the age we are living in as well.
  • Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin from the album Mothership (Remastered). In 2010, in addition to purchasing some new music, I purchased some older songs as well. This song was one of my favorites of its era.

Secular Faith. I’m interested in secular songs that speak about God and hopeful transcendence. Here are some that fit that category.

  • One of Us by Joan Osborne from the album Relish. I’d not head this song when it first came out. I only recently was introduced to it while watching the movie Dear God.
  • My Immortal by Evanescence from the album Fallen. I don’t know how I missed this song previously. It’s on the same album as the song Bring Me to Life, which I really like.
  • One Love (People Get Ready) [Glee Cast Version] by Glee Cast from the album Glee: The Music, Vol. 4. This is a classic song of hope and inspiration for global unity. This Glee Cast version is quite nice.
  • Wavin’ Flag (Coca-Cola Celebration Mix) by K’naan from the album Troubadour. I’m impressed with some of the efforts big businesses and corporations are making to advertise while at the same time supporting the arts. This song is an example of social activism and inspiration. I first heard this song when watching the video version. You can learn more here.

Hindi. I’ve been studying Hindi and enjoy listening to Hindi in songs. Here are a few Hindi songs that I like.

  • Pee Loon Hoto Ki Sargam by Pritam & Mohit Chauhan from the album Once Upon a Time In Mumbaai (Music from the Motion Picture). I’ve enjoyed being introduced to Hindi music, much of which comes from Bollywood films. This is one I really like. I first heard this song while visiting a store in India.
  • Main Kya Hoon by Pritam from the album Love Aaj Kal. I’ve enjoyed being introduced to Hindi music, much of which comes from Bollywood films. This is one I really like.
  • Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny) [feat. Nicole Scherzinger] by A. R. Rahman & The Pussycat Dolls from the album Jai Ho! (You Are My Destiny) [feat. Nicole Scherzinger] – Single. I’ve enjoyed being introduced to Hindi music, much of which comes from Bollywood films. This is one I really like.

World Music. Each year, I try to include world music in the Heart Songs collection.

  • Nyoka Musango (Lora Chiorah-Dye & Sukutai) by Various Artists from the album Safarini In Transit – Music of African Immigrants. This is an amazing instrumental world music song that I first heard while watching a Steve Nash video.
  • Alturas by Tinku from the album Instrumental Andean Music. I like Andean music. This song is a favorite.

Faith Songs. This year, I wanted to share some of the faith music I’ve been inspired by over the past year. I learned about some of these through my uncle and his family in Wisconsin who perform in a contemporary Christian praise band. Other songs I first heard on KNWS Life 101.9 FM radio in the Iowa City area. Most of these songs are like prayers set to music.

  • Sinnerman by Nina Simone from the album The Thomas Crown Affair (Music from the MGM Motion Picture). This is an interesting song from a very good movie.
  • Down to the River to Pray by Alison Krauss from the album O Brother, Where Art Thou? (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture). I really like the vocals in this old hymn-style song.
  • I Then Shall Live by The Gaither Vocal Band from the album Together. This song contains an amazing hymn/prayer that, I think, really defines what Christianity is about.
  • From the Inside Out by Hillsong United from the album United We Stand. I like live worship songs because I think they convey an authenticity that sometimes gets lost in studio recordings.
  • Alive Again by Matt Maher from the album Alive Again. This is a passionate song about how faith can transform and bring new life.
  • Desert Song by Hillsong from the album This Is Our God. This song is a message about calling out to God in all circumstances, and being thankful regardless of what we’re going through. I really like the percussion in this song. This is a song that my uncle and his band performed (click here for music video).
  • City On Our Knees by tobyMac from the album Tonight (Deluxe Edition). I really like the hopeful proclamation from this song, “If you’ve gotta start somewhere, why not here? If you’ve gotta start sometime, why not now? If we’ve gotta start somewhere, I say here. If we’ve gotta start sometime, I say now. Through the fog there is hope in the distance. From cathedrals to third world missions. Love will fall to the earth like a crashing wave. Tonight’s the night. For the sinners and the saints. Two worlds collide in a beautiful display. It’s all love tonight, when we step across the line, we can sail across the sea, to a city with one king. A city on our knees.”
  • God of This City by Chris Tomlin from the album Hello Love. This is a song that I first heard my uncle and his band perform (click here for video). The statement, “Greater Things Have Yet to Come” is from this song. The statement refers to great things happening in our cities, but it could also be interpreted to proclaim the great things that are yet to come from each person who desires to climb higher in life.
  • Our God by Chris Tomlin from the album Passion: Awakening (Deluxe Edition). I like a lot of Chris Tomlin’s music. This song is a nice song about God that proclaims, “Into the darkness you shine. Out of the ashes we rise.”
  • We Will Embrace Your Move by Darrell Evans from the album Dove Award Worship. This song contains the hopeful proclamation, “The music of heaven will soon overtake the earth.” I’ve referred to it often and thought I should include it this year.
  • Rescue by Desperation Band from the album Desperation. This is a subcategory of faith songs I like. It’s a slow passionate worship ballad.

Techno Trance. This category of music is often referred to as dance, electronic, trance, rave, techno, or house music. I like the fast energizing rhythms and amazing vocals.

  • Bright Morningstar by Tiësto from the album Elements of Life. I like much of the music by Tiësto. Here’s a new one.
  • Silence (DJ Tiësto’s In Search of Sunrise Edit) by Delerium & Sarah McLachlan from the album The Best of Delerium. I was inspired to discover this joint effort by Tiësto and Sarah McLachlan.
  • Kiss the Sky (Mike Rizzo Global Radio Edit) by Danielle Bollinger from the album Kiss the Sky.
  • Black Ice (Club Mix) by Transit One from the album Vocal Trance Club Hits Vol. 2.
  • By the Way (Al B Rich Radio Mix) by Jenna Drey from the album By the Way – EP.

Epic Soundtracks. I like epic movie soundtrack music. These are three songs selected from this genre for the 2010 collection.

  • Ben by Trevor Rabin from the album National Treasure (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture).
  • Chevaliers de Sangreal by Hans Zimmer from the album The Da Vinci Code (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack).
  • Now We Are Free by Hans Zimmer & Lisa Gerrard from the album Gladiator (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture).
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