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The 10 Best Songs About Hope of All Time

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

If you are anything like me, you can't fully wrap your head around the fact that the year is already coming to a close. It seems like just the other day, we were writing aboutNew Year's affirmationsandPisces season, and now it is almost time for the holidays.

As marveled as I am by the rapid passing of time, I am grateful for everything I have learned this year — and I hope you are too. We have seen some incredible triumphs for women in theentertainment industry, art, politics, technology,fashion, and so many other fields and careers. While the news cycle has not always been the most positive place, these ladies have helped us keep hope alive.

Hope is that thing we all bank on to help us make it through the next minute or hour, month or year — it fills us with enough energy to get through our toughest time. Songs about hope, then, are great to listen to whenever you need an extra burst of motivation.

At I Am & Co, we do not stray away fromthe power of music. Not only can songs help get us through troubling situations, but they can alsoinspire us to pushpast them. These 10 songs about hope, all sung by female artists, do just that. Their genres range from poppy and eclectic to somber and harrowing. Still, they are all marked by encouraging lyrics and inspirational storytelling. Anyone looking for a boost should add them to the playlist immediately.

So here they are — the best songs about hope, old and new, to carry you through the rest of this year and all the incredible years to come after.

"Feeling Good" - Nina Simone

Sleep in peace when day is done, that's what I mean
And this old world is a new world
And a bold world for me

Sleep in peace when day is done, that's what I mean
And this old world, is a new world
And a bold world for me

Sometimes, artists make it easy for us. When they are gearing up to sing a song about hope, they make sure to put the inspiration right in the title. "Feeling Good" is one of those songs. It is also a bonafide classic. Nina Simone's beautiful, haunting voice crooning over these somber lyrics is what has kept "Feeling Good" in circulation on my playlist for years.

Nina Simone is one of this country's greatest treasures. She was and still is, a gargantuan force in the music industry. Unfortunately, however, her success did not always seem promised. As a child, Simone's family had to withstand poverty, discrimination, and a slew of other oppressive factors. It makes sense, then, why her repertoire is so stacked with songs about hope and overcoming.

One of the most beautiful things about music is that it withstands the test of time.So the next time your current situation has got you feeling down, try re-visiting this old classic. I bet it will actually have you feeling great.

"Rise Up" - Andra Day

And I'll rise up
I'll rise like the day
I'll rise up
I'll rise unafraid
I'll rise up
And I'll do it a thousand times again
And I'll rise up
High like the waves
I'll rise up
In spite of the ache
I'll rise up
And I'll do it a thousand times again

Andra Day may have taken a page directly out of Nina Simone's notebook when it comes to putting the inspirational message of a song right in the title. "Rise up" is one of the most popular singles from the soul singer's 2015 Grammy-nominated album "Cheers to the Fall." In fact, it is likely one of Day's most popular songs ever, primarily due to its encouraging namesake.

According to Day, she was inspired to write the gorgeous tune as a sort of prayer. In a 2017interview with Time magazine, she shared:

"My music and my personal life were both stagnating at the time, and a friend of mine had been diagnosed with cancer. "Rise Up" started as a sort of prayer—I thought about what I needed to hear to be able to get back on my feet. Most of the song came streaming out in the first freestyle recording. Honestly, there are lines in there I'd generally find cliché. But sometimes, a good cliché is exactly what you need in a moment of hopelessness."

"Stronger" - Kelly Clarkson

You think you got the best of me
Think you had the last laugh
Bet you think that everything good is gone
Think you left me broken down
Think that I'd come running back
Baby, you don't know me, 'cause you're dead wrong
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over 'cause you're gone


Kelly Clarkson is the queen of empowering bops. But, when you peel the layers back, a lot of her most fist-bump-worthy hits are actually songs about hope. "Stronger," for example, is set to a fast-paced, staccato beat. Listening to it without lyrics, it would be easy to think you are at a rock'n'roll concert. With lyrics, however, the song is elevated to the status of an outright feminist anthem.

The song "Stronger" is all about making lemonade out of lemons. When life does not go your way, it becomes increasingly essential to swing back at life with everything you've got. Clarkson has gone through so many ups and downs since those first days on Season 1 of American Idol. Almost two decades after starring on the hit reality show, she has had to manage having a family, constantcriticism about her weightfluctuation, success, and failure in the music industry,personal attacks, and so much more. Through all of this, she really has become so much stronger.

"Skyscraper" - Demi Lovato

You can take everything I have
You can break everything I am
Like I'm made of glass
Like I'm made of paper
Go on and try to tear me down
I will be rising from the ground
Like a skyscraper, like a skyscraper
Go run, run, run
I'm gonna stay right here,
Watch you disappear
Yeah-oh, go run, run, run
Yeah, it's a long way down
But I am closer to the clouds up here


Raise your hand if you STILL cannot get through a video of Demi Lovato singing "Skyscraper" without welling up with tears. Same.

This 2011 single is one of my absolute favorite songs about hope, and in all honesty, one of my absolute favorite songs ever. The message is so crystal clear. Although Demi Lovato started out as a child performer on Disney channel, she has matured into one of the most gifted vocalists working in pop music today.

It is no secret thatDemi Lovato has faceda few public struggles of her own. Stints in rehabilitation centers, a lifelong battle with drug usage, and grief over her deceased father are enough to tear any woman down. But true to the song, Lovato has risen over and over again, just like a skyscraper. No matter who you are, you can never run away from all of life's ups and downs. But no matter who you are, you also have the potential to build your life back up — even if it takes some help from others.

"You Gotta Be" - Des' ree

Listen as your day unfolds
Challenge what the future holds
Try and keep your head up to the sky
Lovers, they may cause you tears
Go ahead release your fears
Stand up and be counted
Don't be ashamed to cry
You gotta be
You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard
You gotta be tough, you gotta be stronger
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm
You gotta stay together


If you thought I could get through this list WITHOUT putting Des' ree on it, you were absolutely incorrect. "You Gotta Be" has gotta be one of the smoothest songs in history. Des' ree's voice sounds like butter due to her signature, soulful musical style. The only thing better than her sweet tone on the song is what she is actually singing about.

When the British singer released this RnB bop in the 1990s, it became an international hit. That is likely because every single human being, regardless of geography, has needed a self-confidence boost at one point or another. "You Gotta Be" is chockedfull of affirmationsencouraging listeners to keep calm through difficult situations and believe in their own strength. Not only is this song about hope, it is about all the ways you should affirm yourself in the now while holding onto that hope of what is to come.

"What a Feeling" - Irene Cara

What a feeling
Bein's believin'
I can have it all
Now I'm dancing for my life
Take your passion
And make it happen
Pictures come alive
You can dance right through your life

Any song encouraging me to "dance through life" is a song I am going to listen to over and over again. Irene Cara's electric megahit "What a Feeling" is one of the most well-known songs of all time. Don't believe me? Not only was it the theme song of the popular movie "Flashdance," but when it first premiered, it stayed at number one on the Billboard charts for six weeks. It earned a platinum title, a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe, and an Oscar. Not to mention, it has played at every girl's sweet sixteen since 1983.

As previously mentioned, the song's popularity coincided with the movie "Flashdance"-a beloved tale about a teenage girl splitting her life between her daytime job as a welder and her nighttime excursions as an exotic dancer. The song is also about dancing, yes. Still, even more so, it is about the importance of holding on to one's passion, regardless of the obstacles standing in the way of pursuing it.

"Good as Hell" - Lizzo

Woo child, tired of the bullshit
Go on dust your shoulders off, keep it moving
Yes, Lord, tryna get some new shit
In there, swimwear, going to the pool shit
Come now, come dry your eyes
You know you a star, you can touch the sky
I know that it's hard, but you have to try

I do my hair toss
Check my nails
Baby, how you feelin'?
Feeling good as hell

In the past few years,Lizzo has emergedonto the popular culture radar and is one of the leaders of the self-acceptance movement. Her music is a well-crafted mixture of rap, melody, instrumentals, and a capella. Lizzo does it all with her songs, and the lyrics themselves range from silly and fun, as in the song "Phone" to downright anthemic, like in the song "Good as Hell."

I kid you not, when I was in college I blasted "Good as Hell" in my room every morning. It was one of the most fool-proof ways I knew to inject my day with positivity. Lizzo sings to you like she is singing to her best friend. Adlibs like "whew chile" and colloquial lyrics like "walk your fine ass out the door" make it feel like she is right in the room with you, cheering you on. Whether you are trying to get through something as serious as a breakup or as menial as a bad day, "Good as Hell" will help keep you going.

Lose You to Love Me" - Selena Gomez

We'd always go into it blindly
I needed to lose you to find me
This dance, it was killing me softly
I needed to hate you to love me, yeah
To love, love, yeah
To love, love, yeah
To love, yeah
I needed to lose you to love me, yeah

Although Selena ends this song with the lyrics, "And now the chapter is closed and done...And now it's goodbye, it's goodbye for us," I truly believe this song is about hope over anything else. Selena sings about the faith she put into a relationship that did not work out and then reassures listeners that she is putting confidence back into herself to move on from it.

Of course, since Selena Gomez is the international superstar actor, singer, model, and ambassador that she is, a lot of people have speculations about what relationship she is singing about in her new number one single. After all, the song was just released this Fall and came on the heels of ex-boyfriendJustin Bieber getting marriedto model Hailey Baldwin. But, at the end of the day, her advice could apply to anyone's situation. Sometimes, you do have to let go of something you once held dear, to move forward into the next chapter of your life. You can't always look at this as giving up, but instead, look at it as holding on to the hope that there is something or someone better for you still out there.

"Survivor" - Destiny's Child

You thought that I'd be weak without ya, but I'm stronger
You thought that I'd be broke without ya, but I'm richer
You thought that I'd be sad without ya, I love harder
You thought I wouldn't grow without ya, now I'm wiser

...

I'm a survivor (what), I'm not gon' give up (what)
I'm not gon' stop (what), I'm gon' work harder (what)
I'm a survivor (what), I'm gonna make it (what)
I will survive (what), keep on survivin' (what)


No girl group knows empowering and hopeful songs better than Destiny's Child. While there have been multiple versions of the record-smashing group, the most recognized membersBeyoncé, Kelly Rowland, andMichelle Williams(often known as DC3) released this bop back in 2001.

Since then, it has remained cemented in feminist and RnB musical canons. Every Destiny's Child song promises a great message, but "Survivor" really stands out because it takes more of an aggressive approach. These three ladies are all anointed and gifted vocalists (and trust me, this song still has the harmonies they are famous for intact). They spend much of the song almost shouting over the beat and are just as unapologetic and uncompromising as they are uplifting.

"Brave" - Sara Bareilles

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody's lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing's gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle 'neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you
Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave

At the end of the day, Sara Bareilles and I just want to see you be brave. "Brave" is not only one of Bareilles' most iconic songs but one of the first songs I think about when it comes to hope. The lyrics are drenched with inspiration, and the music itself feels like it's growing, growing, growing until it swells into an explosive chorus. "Brave" is the kind of song you always want to shout out loud.

Although Bareilles is known for so many other projects now, including the hit Broadway musical Waitress, the 2013 hit is still accredited as one of her best. In aninterview with "Bustle,"the vocal powerhouse shared why she decided to write it.

"There are so many times I look back and just wish I had just trusted my own truth more, even if it brought me into an uncomfortable space. I really do believe that the truth will set you free, even if it means that a relationship dissolves, be it romantic or, more likely, business."

Relying on this truth, and trusting yourself to step into it, is an incredibly brave thing to do. It is also an essential thing to do for anyone hoping to grow stronger.