5 songs you get you through the week

Rc and Rc

Normally, this article is dedicated to discussing five wholly unique songs in their own right. However, discussing any other musician this week after the news of Bill Withers’ passing seems like a disservice to the man. In his honor, these are five songs by Bill Withers to get you through the week.

‘Ain’t No Sunshine’

At this present moment, “Ain’t No Sunshine” is Withers’ most streamed song on Spotify with over 266 million listens. It’s not hard to see why, considering the song has been both played and covered a multitude of times in the almost 50 years since its release. A soul classic, this is arguably an example of a perfect song. When Bill Withers died, he took the sunshine with him.

‘Lovely Day’

This song might be most memorable for something you wouldn’t catch on your first couple of listens, but at the end as the song begins to fade out, Mr. Withers hits a continuous note for 18 whole seconds. Those are mind bogglingly strong vocal chords he possessed to pull off such a ludicrous feat. Odd side notes aside, this is one of Bill’s funkiest songs, and the perfect song for you to blast every morning to start your day. If it doesn’t piss your neighbors off after awhile, you’re doing it wrong.

‘Use Me’

Speaking of funky, this track off of 1972’s “Still Bill” is the more on par with the blaxploitation-sequel funk of Sly & The Family Stone and Issac Hayes that was bubbling about during this weather. Beneath that sleek exterior of an instrumental, however, is the same soulful Withers singing his heart out per usual. Use this track up and you can’t use it anymore.

‘Hope She’ll Be Happier’

Two truly underrated aspects about Withers’ debut album “Just What I Am” is the drums and the mixing on the entire project. The drums are so subtly brilliant sounding, and songs like the aforementioned “Ain’t No Sunshine” further exemplify how every instrument on a given track was enhanced by the mixing. That is why when “Hope She’ll Be Happier” — the seventh track — comes on, it’s easy to be taken aback by the stripped back nature of the track. That’s not a knock on it, however, as it will always and forever stand as one of Withers most hauntingly beautiful songs.

‘Lean On Me’

The most commercialized song of the Withers catalogue, “Lean On Me” has taken on an optimistic life of its own since it’s release in 1972. The song provides the positive message that if you need a helping hand, holler and somebody will be there. This is a message everyone could use right about now, and it’s a shame that he couldn’t be here to sing it to us after this all blows over. Rest In Peace, Bill Withers.