A.J. McLean is back (alright!). The Backstreet Boys–Spice Girls reunion tour of dreams may still be up for debate, but that hasn’t stopped McLean from making music or feeling like part of a collective group. In his “Live Together” playlist, McLean emphasizes the importance of self-love and unity. Below is a sample of the full list along with McLean’s notes, written in his own words.
1. A.J. McLean – “Live Together”: This is a song I wrote about people coming together as a society and finding a way to learn how to live and love one another.
2. The Beatles – “Come Together”: It’s not a typical “love” song, but it stresses the importance of community and finding a common ground with anyone we meet.
3. John Lennon – “Imagine”: This is one of the first songs that comes to mind for me when I think about messages of hope in music. It’s sad, honest, and real but filled with a whirlwind longing for a better world.
4. Various Artists – “We Are The World”: There are so many legendary artists on this one track! It’s a true testament to what we can do when we come together with a positive purpose.
5. Michael Jackson – “Heal The World”: This song is inspirational — not just the music, but the message behind it. We should always be seeking ways to improve the world we live in.
6. Marvin Gaye – “What’s Going On”: Marvin Gaye’s voice is timeless, and this song is a great reminder that we are what we put out into the world, a reminder to be selfless and caring.
7. Deon Jackson – “Love Makes The World Go Round”: This is one of those tunes that instantly lifts your mood and one of Motown’s greatest love songs.
8. The Beatles – “All You Need Is Love”: It doesn’t get more true than this: love in all of its forms.
9. Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons – “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You”: There are so many gorgeous versions of this song, but they all share the same incredible sentiment of unconditional love.
10. Israel Kamakawiwo’ole – “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”: This is a beautiful, hopeful song to begin with, but something about Israel’s version is just magical — the soul, the feeling, the vibe.
11. Katy Perry – “Firework”: This is a beautiful track about self-love in the face of self doubt.
12. Maroon 5 – “She Will Be Loved”: The lyrics in this song say it all — love isn’t always easy, but it’s almost always worth it.
13. Modern English – “I Melt With You”: This is one of those songs that, no matter where you are, makes you stop and think about that one person who makes everything alright.
14. Peter Gabriel – “In Your Eyes”: I love how the words and music reflect each other, making this song a lasting classic.