DIY Playlist: Building, Fixing & Making Repairs
Destruction comes easy, however talent, patience, and persistence are required to construct something from scratch worth having. Whether you are focused on building, fixing, and making repairs to physical structures like bridges, houses, and roads or developing your relationships, career, or reputation, it will take a big toolbox of knowhow to get the job done.
Start with a good foundation, and celebrate building, fixing, and making repairs with a DIY playlist of pop, rock, country, and R&B songs. We have a long list to start you off!
1. "Love Can Build a Bridge" by The Judds
This 1990 country ballad promotes building a community of kindness starting with one's inner social circle, then expanding outwards. The tune advocates an unselfish interest in reaching out to others to help and in standing together, especially during times of trouble.
It was co-written by mother Naomi Judd and performed as a touching tribute to fans by the Grammy Award-winning mother/daughter duo during their 1991 farewell tour. At the time, the elder Judd was struggling with Hepatitis C and was believed to have only three years left to live.
In 2022, "Love Can Build a Bridge" took on additional bittersweet context when The Judds performed the song on the CMT Music Awards Show. It was their last performance before Naomi died by suicide days later. She battled treatment-resistant depression and anxiety for many years. The day following Naomi's death the duo was inducted as previously scheduled into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
2. "Build Me Up Buttercup" by The Foundations
Oh, Buttercup, why are you so heartless and manipulative? A young woman repeatedly makes a fool out of the her admirer in this 1968 tune with a Motown-like vibe.
The object of the narrator's affection is a young woman who uses him, stands him up, and leaves him waiting by the phone for her call. While love is clearly a game to his sweetheart, this desperate guy professes that he still loves her. As a result, he pleads with Buttercup to start building him up without tearing him down as usual. Old habits die hard!
3. "Build a B*tch" by Bella Poarch
Ladies, embrace the personal qualities that make you authentically you by kissing those unrealistic standards of beauty goodbye. Social media personality Bella Poarch segues to music with this 2021 debut single, a dark pop song that criticizes men who approach dating like they do a Build-a-Bear workshop.
Fueled directly by their fantasies, such guys seek to build a perfect, Barbie-like partner. However, real women aren't consumer products with special ordered parts. Flaws, attitudes, and imperfections are part of each woman's unique beauty.
4. "I Swear" by All-4-One
A worldwide hit, this romantic 1994 R&B ballad was originally a number one country tune by John Michael Montgomery the year before. "I Swear" became a favorite 1990s wedding song. Although there are slight variations in their lyrics, the tune features a man who pledges lifetime devotion to his bride.
As questions fill her eyes about what kind of partner he will be, the sincere young man tries to allay any such fears with promises of lifetime fidelity and love. He vows to build a life together with her and to remain lovingly committed through the years:
I swear ... I'll give you everything I can
I'll build your dreams with these two hands
We'll hang some memories on the walls
And when (and when) just the two of us are there
You won't have to ask if I still care
'Cause as the time turns the page
My love won't age at all.
6. "We Built This City" by Starship
This rebellious-sounding 1985 pop ditty is unfortunately on a number of worst song lists, with many critics citing its lyrics as especially problematic. Even the haters, however, have to admit that the chart-topping song is catchy.
The track references San Francisco and laments outside corporate interference in the local live music club scene. In truth, The City by the Bay wasn't built on rock and roll but rather the Gold Rush.
6. "From the Ground Up" by Dan + Shay
There's no room for disillusionment, disharmony, or divorce in this 2016 country love ballad. Fueled by hope and using his grandparents' marriage of 65 years as a model, the narrator declares his love for his significant other.
He vows to stand beside her as they build a secure and stable long-term marriage. They are just starting out, and he is eager to build a future on a foundation of love and trust:
And we'll build this love from the ground up
Now 'til forever it's all of me, all of you
Just take my hand
And I'll be the man your dad hoped that I'd be.
The song was inspired by the loving, lifetime marriages shared by the duo's respective grandparents.
7. "Beer Can't Fix" by Thomas Rhett (Featuring Jon Pardi)
Country music is known for its celebration of alcohol, and this 2020 country crossover hit doesn't disappoint. Although it's not the healthiest of song messages, the song is meant to be tongue-in-cheek. The narrator recommends beer as a momentary solution to most problems, although "It might take one, or it might take six."
Among the situations where a beer can make you feel better, he offers up:
- social anxiety at a party
- disappointment of a breakup or personal failure
- boredom of fishing or rain on vacation
- unwinding after a stressful workday and
- being hungover from night before.
8. "A Song Can't Fix Everything" by Sunny Sweeney (Featuring Paul Cauthen)
This reflective 2022 country song features a woman who cherishes the important role that music plays in her life, both as a singer and a music fan. She acknowledges that although a song can't fix all that is wrong with life, it can offer a three-minute escape from the world. In so doing, music can momentarily soothe what's wrong and make you feel understood. For example, songs can help you remember a loved one who has passed, relive memories from long ago, and navigate relationship problems and break ups.
9. "The House That Built Me" by Miranda Lambert
If you still have your childhood home to return to, count yourself fortunate. Some families—like mine, while growing up—move around a lot, thus they don't have that sense of stability to anchor them to the past. Others are faced with aging parents who sell the family residence, the only home they knew as a child. This can leave them grieving, as if some of their identity has been sold.
In this 2009 country ballad, a woman feels vulnerable and lost in her adult life, so she visits the house she grew up in. It is an attempt to find herself. She asks the current owner for permission to tour her the house that made her who she is.
Flooded with memories from yesteryear, the narrator sees her history: her own handprints on the cement front steps, the back bedroom where she learned to play guitar, and the oak tree under which her favorite dog is buried. This home helped to forge her sense of self.
I thought if I could touch this place or feel it
This brokenness inside me might start healing
Out here, it's like I'm someone else
I thought that maybe I could find myself.
10. "Build It Better" by Natalie Imbruglia
Sitting alone in the dark, the woman in this 2021 indie pop song initially ponders if she can repair the damage done to her broken love relationship. Having made a mistake she regrets, the narrator concludes that any attempts to fix this failed romance through explanations will only make matters worse.
The woman dreads the prospect of nights spent alone and begins to mourn her lost relationship, resolving to learn from her mistakes. The next time she finds love, she will build a stronger relationship. Singer Nalalie Imbruglia is a one-hit-wonder, known primarily for her 1997 hit, "Torn."
11. "Fix Me" by 10 years
I'm fine in the fire
I feed on the friction
I'm right where I should be
Don't try and fix me.
Don't try to save this punk from himself. The man in this 2011 alternative metal tune has spent a lifetime in trouble with small crimes, wasting time, and crossing lines. He wants you to know that he doesn't need your help in becoming a better person or changing his life. Besides, the only person who can fix him is him.
12. "Fix You" by Coldplay
Some folks say that you can fix things but not people, however don't tell that to the narrator in this 2005 alternative rock track. The song was inspired by actress Gyneth Paltrow's loss of her father. Her then-husband, Coldplay front man Chris Martin, sought to help her work through the grief.
The narrator expresses his desire to provide support and comfort to a partner through a variety of disappointments, failures, and personal losses. He seeks to be a source of hope, encouragement, and healing at home when his partner feels lost or is grieving. Rolling Stone named this song to its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
12. "You Are the Reason" by Calum Scott (Featuring Leona Lewis)
Every relationship eventually hits a rough patch, and for the couple at the center of this 2018 pop ballad, their romance is now littered with arguments and tears. Feeling responsible, the narrator wants to fix what he has broken. His mind is racing and he's losing sleep over the issue. The man professes that his sweetheart means everything to him, and gently he pleads with her that she would do anything to repair the damage.
14. "Duct Tape Heart" by Barenaked Ladies
Known for its strength and durability, duct tape is a water-resistant, pressure-sensitive adhesive tape. It is made of a mesh fabric material and laminated to a backing of low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Those who swear by duct tape will tell you that the product is almost a miracle worker in fixing what's broken. Astronauts, the military, and everyday folks know that if duct tape can't fix it, you're just not using enough.
So can duct tape mend a broken heart? The guy in this 2015 alt-rock ditty thinks so. He is turning to the versatile, utilitarian consumer product to repair his broken heart. The narrator tells the woman who rejected him that he'll be okay because he's using duct tape to repair the heart she broke, although he'll need to apply more from time to time.
15. "Fix My Eyes" by for KING & COUNTRY
We all occasionally have lapses of the "coulda woulda shouldas" wherein we look back on the past and wish that we had made different choices. You can't go back, however. You just have to move forward.
The narrator in this 2014 contemporary Christian track reminisces upon his life and wishes that he had behaved differently. He wishes that more often he could have loved without fear, given more generously, and taken more time to help others. Additionally, he regrets not having stood up more for the vulnerable and lived a more God-centered life. Moving forward, the man commits to making necessary personal changes by fixing his eyes steadfastly on God's everlasting love and glory.
16. "Two Of A Kind, Workin' On A Full House" by Garth Brooks
My great-grandma used to say, "There ain't a pot too crooked that there ain't a lid to fit it." The fella in this 1990 country tune has found his other half who fits him perfectly. He celebrates how he and his missus are building a happy and successful rural life together and are married "for keeps." While it's just the two of them currently, they are diligently working on building a big family with a house full of kids.
17. "Defenceless" by Louis Tomlinson
When there are important relationship issues to discuss, do you build bridges by encouraging openness? Or instead, are you guilty of putting up fences by shutting down open communication and avoiding difficult conversations? If you're a fence-builder, you're not alone.
With this 2020 pop tune, former One Directioner Louis Tomlinson feels feels vulnerable and exposed as he struggles with how to open up and talk to his significant other about issues that divide them. It doesn't help that he accuses his partner of being lost in her pride and pain and building fences that divide the two of them. (Communication is a two-way street, Louis.) He mulls over how to start the conversation and feels anxious, unsure how to deliver his message, and uncertain how he will come across. But you have to start somewhere, big guy.
18. "I'll Be There" by Mariah Carey (Featuring Trey Lorenz)
Diva Mariah Carey delivered a riveting live performance on MTV Unplugged in 1992 when she covered this Jackson 5 song. In the wistful pop ballad, the narrator pledges a love interest her unconditional love, support, and protection, promising to "build my world of dreams around you." Just like the original that had topped the charts 22 years previously, Carey's version also climbed to the peak position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. "I'll Be There" helped to establish her as a vocal force to be reckoned with in pop music.
19. "Believer" by Imagine Dragons
None of us gets through life without trauma, scars, and pain. What you do with those experiences can make all the difference.
In this globally popular 2017 rock song, the narrator notes that he was "broken from a young age," but rather than allowing his pain to destroy him, the man credits it with making him the strong person he is today. The narrator regards his pain as being both a motivational and creative force, upon which he has built his success ("I start with from the basement, end up in the attic"). As a result, he has become an ardent believer in himself.
Imagine Dragons lead vocalist Dan Reynolds has struggled with ADD, anxiety and depression, and ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis that causes painful inflamation in the spine and large joints.
20. "Burn It Down" by Linkin Park
This 2012 electronic rock tune is a social commentary on the fickle nature of pop culture. Viral trends, the next big thing, and the "it girl" are all examples of the tendency in popular culture to build something or someone up as promising and popular—an entertainer, a technology, product, or fashion choice. Then, after a short-lived period in the limelight, the overexposed trend is torn down, as cultural attention shifts to something newer and better. It's a neverending cycle.
Even More Songs About Building, Fixing and Making Repairs
21. On the Mend
22. The House That Jack Built
23. Whatever It Takes
24. Mr. Fix It
25. In Repair
26. Built This House
27. Just the Two of Us
Bill Withers & Grover Washington
28. A Lifetime to Repair
29. We Build Then We Break
30. Nothin' My Love Can't Fix
31. Proud of the House We Built
Brooks & Dunn
32. Build Me a Daddy
33. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart
34. New Romantics
35. Brick House
36. Fix Me Jesus
37. The Talkin' Song Repair Blues
38. Someone to Fix
39. Fix a Heart
40. Building Bridges
Brooks & Dunn
42. If I Had a Hammer
Peter, Paul and Mary
43. Fix a Heart
44. It's Time
45. Fix a Drink
46. Build It Better
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