An angel is defined as a benevolent spirit or guardian, and many faiths, including Islam, Judaism and Christianity, believe in these spiritual protectors and intercessors. Do you believe in angels?
When you think of an angel watching over you, do you imagine a winged deity? Or do you envision the face of a dearly departed loved one whom you hope to be reunited with on “One Sweet Day”?
Be somebody’s angel today and share this playlist.
In your everyday life, you may receive daily reminders of your heavenly helpers. For example, have you ever lost your identification card or your ATM card and had a stranger track you down to return it? Perhaps you’ve taken a spill at home and instead of breaking a single bone something miraculously broke your fall. Or just when you needed it, have you found money tucked in a purse or jacket pocket? Be aware of these little grace notes that show you how blessed you are.
Whatever vision comes to mind when you think of your “Guiding Lights,” it’s likely to be a comforting one. As Natalie Cole, who joined the chorus of angels when she passed away in 2015, muses on “Angel on My Shoulder”: “I had an angel on my shoulder, with a plan for me divine. Must be an angel on my shoulder, who was right there all the time.” And in the dramatic “I’ve Been Touched by an Angel,” Della Reese, who got her wings when she passed away in 2017, sings that her guardian angel gave her a pep talk and revealed “how to be free” and “how to be me, wonderful, wonderful me.”
I had an angel on my shoulder, with a plan for me divine. Must be an angel on my shoulder, who was right there all the time
The 40 thoughtfully curated songs on this playlist are meant to offer you encouragement, spiritual upliftment and may even prompt a cathartic cry if you need one. Angela Bofill sums up this intention in her Latin-soul classic “Angel of the Night,” where she muses, “When she speaks it’s like music. Universal melodies. Lullabies that will soothe you. Put your life in harmony.”
An “Earth Angel” can also exist in the form of a cherished parent, child, sibling, friend or a romantic partner. On the heartfelt ballad “If I Could,” Regina Belle sings that she wishes she could shelter and protect her little one from hardship: “If I could, I would protect you from the sadness in your eyes. Give you courage in a world of compromise.” And David Bowie memorializes his magical matrimony to supermodel Iman with his new wave ballad “The Wedding Song,” where he croons, “These are silver wings. These are golden eyes. These are floating clouds. Angel for life.”
We love it when the fellas shower us with praise, so there’s more in store. Lionel Richie declares his devotion on the up-tempo “Angel,” where he sings, “You’re the answer to my prayer. And you’re with me everywhere. You’re my angel, miracle.” Other swoon-worthy odes to a heaven-sent love come from Maxwell (“Pretty Wings”); Shaggy (“Angel”); Justin Bieber (“Angels Speak”); Charley Pride (“Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’”); and Ruben Studdard (“I Need an Angel”).
But don’t fret if you haven’t found your divine love match yet. While Monica gushes about her “Angel of Mine,” Brandy cautions not to be duped by an “Angel in Disguise.” And although Aretha Franklin yearns to find her “Angel,” her soulful song ends on a hopeful note with the incentive “Keep looking and just keep cooking. He’ll be there, now don’t you worry.”
You’re in the arms of the angel. May you find some comfort here
More celestial soul power comes from a trio of Quiet Storm “Angel '' jams by R&B divas Lalah Hathaway (her sultry rendition of the Anita Baker classic), Chaka Khan and Angela Winbush. And of course no playlist with an angels theme would be complete without a few spirit-rousing gospel tracks in the mix. That’s represented here in full force by Virtue’s soothing “Angels Watching Over Me”; Donald Lawrence and Carl Thomas’ groovy “Angels”; Mary Mary’s modern take on “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”; and Richard Smallwood’s stirring closing track “Angels.”
As Randy Crawford sings on her moving rendition of Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” “You’re in the arms of the angel. May you find some comfort here.” So pay it forward, Sis. Be somebody’s angel today and share this playlist.