A Well-Being Week in Law 2023 Dance Party — Personal Growth Through Musical Discovery
By Aaron H. Wallace, Esq.
The thing I love most about music is the power of a single song to totally transform the energy in a room.
For each of the last three years, I’ve had the pleasure of creating the annual Florida Lawyers Mutual Music Playlist for Florida Lawyer Well-Being, part of our recurring Well-Being Week in Law celebration. Each song is hand-picked for its ability to uplift, encourage, or inspire lawyers… and let me tell you, the net effect of having hours of positive music playing on a loop is incalculably heartening.
By design, the playlist is reflective of a wide range of artists, eras, and musical styles. To my knowledge, none of the composers have practiced law, and yet so many of these songs seem to resonate squarely with the emotional struggles and work-life challenge that lawyers face every day.
In our Lawyer Well-Being Resource Center, we talk often about the value of exploring new music and incorporating familiar favorites into your workday. Musical discovery is one of the most exciting mechanisms for expanding our horizons, which can in turn keep us planted in an environment of growth. I hope these selections will help you accomplish each of those aims.
Here are just a few of my favorites among the new selections:
You Gotta Be by Des’ree
A child of the 1990s, I must have heard this song five hundred times before I realized what it’s all about — keeping your head up and your stuff together, whatever comes. There’s a lyric in here for every day of Well-Being Week in Law, all packed into four minutes of upbeat, ultra-smooth R&B.
Why Not Now by Della Reese
Long before she was “Touched by an Angel,” the late Della Reese was a noted jazz singer whose distinctive voice helped her break racial barriers in the 1950s and 1960s. Incredibly, though, one of her most poignant records — 1970’s Right Now — was nearly lost to history, barely even noted in the annuls of music. That changed a few months ago, when a catalog label quietly unearthed it and introduced its digital debut. The second track, “Why Not Now,” speaks powerfully (and groovy-ily) to the crusade for justice that fundamentally unites all lawyers… and helps us to see one another as champions of the same cause.
I Have Confidence (from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music)by Julie Andrews
So powerful is the combination of a Rodgers & Hammerstein lyric and a Julie Andrews vocal that anyone lacking in confidence before pressing play will have it to the brim by song’s end.
Dance in the Graveyards by Delta Rae
Dancing on gravestones might seem like morbid fodder for a Well-Being playlist, but looking at life from death’s standpoint can help us put all the in-between in perspective — and run at it with joy. That’s this song’s call.
Trees We’ll Never See by Amy Grant
This is one of those songs for which you really want to pause and focus on the lyrics, which strike me as particularly attuned to the work of lawyers. The conceit of this new single — Grant’s first in ten years — is that the work we do today may not bear its best fruit for years or generations to come. In other words, by helping and serving others, we’re all just planting trees that we may never see. And oh are they ever worth planting anyway.
Married Life (from Disney/Pixar’s Up) (Main Street, U.S.A. Version) by Michael Giacchino
This marks the first time that we’ve included a fully instrumental song in our Music Playlist for Lawyer Well-Being. The original composition comes from Disney/Pixar’s Up, specifically from a devastatingly pensive sequence early in the film in which the elderly Carl reflects on a life well lived with his recently deceased wife. This version, adapted for the Main Street, U.S.A. area in Disney’s Magic Kingdom-style theme parks, gives the score a toe-tapping, turn-of-the-century twist. I like it for Well-Being Week in Law because, without words, it represents an approach to something emotionally difficult with a reframed sense of perspective. And hey, they don’t call it “The Happiest Place on Earth” for nothin’. It might be impossible to stay forlorn with the music of Main Street in the background.
Anti-Hero by Taylor Swift
Naatu Naatu by Rahul Sipligunj, Kaala Bhairava, & M.M. Keeravani
Brotherhood of Man (from How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying) by Daniel Radcliffe, Rob Bartlett, John Larroquette, Ellen Harvey, and Company
Yes, that’s Harry Potter you hear! Actor Daniel Radcliffe made his Broadway musical debut back in 2011 with a How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying revival. While its finale number, “Brotherhood of Man,” mostly contemplates the corporate world, its message translates to any competitive, adversarial business environment, including law. In the big picture of life, the membership that matters most is not our bar membership, but rather our membership in the brotherhood of mankind.
Both Sides Now by Joni Mitchell
“Both Sides Nows” is about looking at life forward from youth and also backward from wisdom. Joni Mitchell first recorded it in 1969 when she was just 25. But the version we include here is the contemplative re-recording she released in 2000, in her late 50s. The maturity in her voice lends new depth to the lyric, inviting us all to ask: when we look back someday, what values will have been reflected in the lives we lived?
Note: Spotify listeners will hear a different version of the song, recorded the same year with Mitchell’s blessing and in similar style by Swedish artists Jeanette Lindström and Steve Dobrogosz.
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik Serenade in G Major, K 525 I. – Allegro by Mozart (Performed by The Portobello String Ensemble)
On the heels of our first fully instrumental selection comes our first classical playlist inclusion. The well-being benefits of listening to classical music are many. This composition, arguably Mozart’s most famous, has been described by the late music scholar Wolfgang Hildesheimer as “an occasional piece from a light but happy pen.” Light and happy sounds like exactly the soundtrack our afternoons need.
Life’s A Happy Song by The Muppets, feat. Mickey Rooney, Amy Adams, and Jason Segel
You know you have a good playlist when you can hear The Beatles, Beyoncé, and The Muppets in under an hour. This song, from the Henson clan’s critically acclaimed 2011 comeback comedy, The Muppets, says it all: life’s a happy song!
Thank you for coming along on this Well-Being Week in Law 2023 journey. It isn’t over yet! We have more Florida lawyer well-being content on the way, so stay tuned to our social media! For that matter, lawyer well-being is one of our perennial passions. Keep an eye on Sunny Decisis®: The Lifestyle Blog for Florida Lawyers for more all year long.
Listen to This Year’s 25 New Songs on Apple Music
Listen to This Year’s 25 New Songs on Spotify
Listen to This Year’s 25 New Songs on YouTube
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