Musicians in today’s spotlight have the rare opportunity to entertain their audiences while also expressing themselves through the music they create. Each song is a unique chance to send a message to the world – to make a statement or call others to action. In today’s pop culture, it can be hard to weed through all of the tasteless lyrics and twerking celebrities to find music that actually sends a positive message. Well today, we have highlighted five songs from 2013 that serve to encourage and inspire.

01 | “I Lived” – OneRepublic

Off of their newest album, Native, this OneRepublic song starts off with their typical acoustic sound but quickly builds up to an upbeat and powerful chorus. “I Lived” emphasizes the importance of the journey – owning and enjoying every second of life, even if that means some pain along with the happiness. While OneRepublic is known for their feel-good songs, this particular track stands out as an anthem.

02 | “Brave” – Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles has always stood strong as an independent and optimistic artist, with songs from past albums centering on themes such as starting fresh and leaving behind those who did you wrong. Her first single off of her 2013 album, The Blessed Unrest, calls the listener to join her in being brave. The repetitive chants of “I just wanna see you be brave” in the chorus is both unifying and inspiring to the audience.

03 | “Believer” – American Authors

This up-and-coming Brooklyn band released their first EP this year, featuring several songs that are the perfect blend of relatable and inspiring. “Believer” describes every one of us – a little bit scared, a little bit jealous, etc. – but follows up with an optimistic outlook on it all: I’m just a believer that things will get better. Not only will this song will have you up and dancing, but it will also remind you to look on the bright side.

04 | “Roar” – Katy Perry

While you may have heard this song time and time again since it debuted this summer off of Katy Perry’s newest album, Prism, taking a step back to appreciate the message may bring you some new inspiration. “Roar” is comparable to Kelly Clarkson’s 2012 hit, “Stronger” in the complete liberation and intensity expressed in the song. The repeated line in the chorus is “Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar” – need I say more? Whether this song pumps you up at the gym or gets you ready for a big test, “Roar” is meant to fire you up and inspire you to accomplish more.

05 |  “Every Storm (Runs Out of Rain)” – Gary Allan

What would an inspirational music list be without some country? Although Gary Allan’s album, Set You Free, was technically released at the end of 2012, his “Every Storm” track became a hit earlier this year. Country music has a way of storytelling and self-expression through lyrics, and this song is no different. “Every Storm” paints a picture of how things will always get better, just how every storm eventually runs out of rain. Lyrical genius AND an uplifting message.

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Image: OneRepublic