How do you pick your songs? Mine is through lyrics. While good musical accompaniment is indispensable, the intelligibility of the song is a huge, deal-breaker to me. Presently, I can only count on my fingers those music artists who are authentic lyricists. They’re excellent singers and musicians, alright, but without composers with good sense to write them songs, I doubt they’ll prosper in their career. Hence, I was automatically drawn to the songs of Martina McBride. Hers are a perfect blend of musical artistry, inspiration, and of making an impact.

From the success of her song “Independence Day” in 1994 about overcoming domestic abuse, McBride has been singing songs of hope to the destitute and how the least of us (mostly kids) can teach us, adults, to keep holding on to it. To name a few, we have got the following with snippets of their gut-wrenching lyrics. Note: I’ve arranged them according to the order of their release.

“Concrete Angel” (2002)

The teacher wonders but she doesn’t ask
It’s hard to see the pain behind the mask
Bearing the burden of a secret storm
Sometimes she wishes she was never born

Through the wind and the rain
She stands hard as a stone
In a world that she can’t rise above

But her dreams give her wings
And she flies to a place where she’s loved
Concrete angel

(Perhaps one of the most heartbreaking songs addressing the monstrous results of child abuse. This has become an anthem to groups seeking to decry cruelty and crimes against children. )

“This One’s for the Girls”(2003)

This one’s for all you girls about thirteen
High school can be so rough, can be so mean
Hold onto, on to your innocence
Stand your ground when everyone’s giving in

(A song for young ladies of all ages. It serves as a tribute to their uniqueness and capabilities as they brave the struggles of the various phases of life.)

In My Daughter’s Eyes” (2003)

In my daughter’s eyes I am a hero
I am strong and wise and I know no fear
But the truth is plain to see
She was sent to rescue me
I see who I wanna be
In my daughter’s eyes

(Doubtless, this was inspired by the coming of Martina’s daughter. It’s a beautiful piece describing the overwhelming passion a mother feels at the sight of her newborn.)

“God’s Will”

And I never got to tell her, that the boy
Showed me the truth
In crayon red, on notebook paper, he’d written
Me and God love you

I’ve been searchin’, prayin’, wounded, jaded
I guess I would be still
Yeah that was until…
I met God’s Will

(It’s an ode of a woman searching for meaning and purpose in existing on earth. She eventually did when she met the boy named “Will.”)

She also had dedicated song-reminders for herself about staying open and kind to the world which, in turn, had a ripple-effect to inspire many to do the same. Inspect the following:

“Anyway” (2006)

God is great, but sometimes life ain’t good
When I pray it doesn’t always turn out like I think it should
But I do it anyway
I do it anyway
This world’s gone crazy and it’s hard to believe
That tomorrow will be better than today
Believe it anyway
You can love someone with all your heart
For all the right reasons
And in a moment they can choose to walk away
love ’em anyway

(A song about faith and derived strongly from Mother Teresa’s poem “Anyway”.)

“For These Times” (2007)

Well give me a heart full of tender mercy
And arms I will open wide
Yeah give me words full of loving kindness
And hands ready to hold up a light
For these times in which we live

(McBride here sings how this passing world is in need of love. Clearly, she lives her own message through her charitable endeavors.)

“Love’s the Only House”

Don’t you know that
Love’s the only house big enough for all the pain in the world..

(This one reminds us to be always empathetic especially towards those we think as irrational and self-centered people.)

Given how her lyrics are oftentimes relatable, she also offered uplifting messages to anyone battling severe illnesses.

“I’m Gonna Love You Through It”

She dropped the phone and burst into tears
The doctor just confirmed her fears
Her husband held it in and held her tight
Cancer don’t discriminate or care if you’re just 38
With three kids who need you in their lives
He said, “I know that you’re afraid and I am, too
But you’ll never be alone, I promise you”

(This touching song pictures a woman with breast cancer who, with the help of her husband, was able to overcome her fears. )

 “Just around the Corner” (2016)

There’s no good crash course
On how to win what you’re fighting for
You find a little grace
When you lose your faith
And you set your sights once more
On a slow down deep breath

And the strength to take another step
And keep walking baby
Keep on walking baby

(Another inspirational song for those battling cancer.)

It is her empathetic touch and clear understanding of the raw pain of existence that made her songs relatable for everyone. Thus, people respond and even consider these songs as monuments of their life’s battles and victory.

What about you? Which artists or which songs have spoken volumes to you?