“Peace on Earth” (U2) – 2000

“Where is the Love?” (Black Eyed Peas) – 2003

“Waiting on the World to Change” (John Mayer) – 2006

“Love Me Now” (John Legend) – 2016

“Preach” (John Legend) – 2019

Throughout the 21st century, there has been a cry all over the world for one need: hope. Many events throughout time have shaped the world we live in today, and unfortunately, many of these events have been tragic. In 2001, 9/11 struck the hearts of the American people. Islamic terrorists drove airplanes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, igniting the war in Afghanistan, which started in October of 2001 and is ongoing. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit Florida and Louisiana, destroying not only buildings and homes but also tearing families apart. In 2013, the Boston Marathon was bombed, killing three and injuring countless others. In 2018, just within the month of January, school shootings were taking place almost weekly.

Some of these events went unrecognized as people may not have been aware of what was going on in the world around them. The voices of those who wanted to make these tragedies known were often turned away. In response, artists decided to take a stand because they knew people would listen to them. They wrote about positivity and the reality of our broken world. Here’s a description of a few of those songs on A Broken World Playlist:

“Where is the Love?” (Black Eyed Peas): In this song, there are hints to different kinds of trouble around the world, not just America In the first chorus, the band talks about the “USA, the big CIA, The Bloods and the Crips, and the KKK.” Will.i.am raps about the discrimination among races in these organizations and the result of a culture filled with chaos and rivalry. The Black Eyed Peas wonder if people have the ability to just put aside differences and “turn the other cheek.” In Matthew 5:38, the Lord tells us if one slaps our cheek, we should turn the other and forgive their transgression. They plead the Father to “send some guidance from above.” In the second verse, Taboo disparages the use of nuclear warfare among the innocent and helpless. The band once again questions, “Where is the love?” At the end of the song, they tell us that something is seriously wrong with the world and that we must fix it. After all, the world is our home.

“Preach” (John Legend): This song is a wake-up call: John Legend does not hesitate to dive headfirst into exposing the corruption of our world. He sings that he cannot bear to look at his phone because being reminded of the pain around him is “hurtin’ [his] chest.” In the pre-chorus, he exclaims that he cannot see how sitting and mourning all the time will do anything if these disasters keep repeating. He makes the listeners question themselves and examine if all they really do is talk rather than act to make a difference. He does not want them to become “numb” just because chaos occurs constantly. With each chorus, he repeats “preach,” as if to engrain his message into our brains: we cannot just post on social media or casually mention a prayer in a conversation. We need to call out evil and actually do something about it. The world will not get better if we don’t seize the opportunity to change it.

Photo credits: Mr. Goodlife