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57 Songs About Change

FlourishAnyway believes there is a playlist for just about any situation and is on a mission to unite and entertain the world through song.

Change is the only constant in life.  Why not celebrate change with a playlist of pop, rock and country songs about changing the world and changing yourself?  Here's a list to start you out.

Change is the only constant in life. Why not celebrate change with a playlist of pop, rock and country songs about changing the world and changing yourself? Here's a list to start you out.

Change: The Inevitability of Dangerous Opportunities

Change. Isn't it appropriate that the Chinese word for it is comprised of two symbols—one for danger and another for opportunity? How you perceive and adapt to change makes all the difference. You can:

  • enthusiastically embrace it
  • try to deny it or
  • stubbornly resist.

But in the end, most of life's dangerous opportunities proceed with or without your consent.

Years ago, I discovered the inevitability and the indestructibility of change when a critical piece of paper survived a house fire that destroyed everything else I owned. It was eerie. Had it not actually happened to me, I'd be doubtful.

When this certificate denoting the Chinese word for change made it through a house fire that destroyed everything else that I owned, I knew I had to frame it.

When this certificate denoting the Chinese word for change made it through a house fire that destroyed everything else that I owned, I knew I had to frame it.

Change: Dangerous Opportunity

I had just graduated from college three weeks prior, and as part of graduation ceremonies the director of my program had awarded each student a paper certificate of the Chinese word for change. As he bid us goodbye and good luck, he described the many dangerous opportunities that we would meet in our lives after graduation. He explained that how you perceive and adapt to life's "dangerous opportunities" can make all the difference.

The house fire that consumed 40 percent of my family's home was an electrical fire that started in the roof of the garage adjoining my small bedroom. There were cans of oil, gas, and other household accelerants that sadly ensured that it burned hot and spread quickly. Thankfully, most of my family was away visiting relatives, so no lives were lost.

In searching through the fire's rubble for anything salvageable, someone pulled out my change certificate. It was the only item in my bedroom that wasn't utterly destroyed by fire, smoke, or water.

How this paper certificate survived a house fire with only smoke stains, I don't know. But today, more than two decades later, it is proudly framed and displayed in my home as a reminder of the importance of how you perceive and adapt to change. Change can break you. Or it can encourage you to redouble your efforts. It's up to you.

1. “The Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson

If you're going to change the world, why not start with what you can impact immediately and permanently—yourself? That's the powerful message behind this 1988 pop song.

The narrator decides to open his eyes to the hungry children and the homeless man on the street. He casts off the selfish love that has plagued him for so long and decides to change his ways. What an inspiration to become a better human being yourself!

Change Lyrics:

If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change.

2. "Landslide" by Dixie Chicks

In this popular 2002 remake of the classic Fleetwood Mac song, the protagonist wonders if she can handle all of the changes of her life. She's built her life around one person, as many people do. She realizes that all of that can change, either gradually or in an instant. Marriages end, children move away, people die. Do you worry about your own capacity to manage the changes that life inevitably has in store for you?

Change lyrics:

Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I'm getting older, too.

3. "Waiting on the World to Change" by John Mayer

Rather than being an agent of change, the man in this 2006 song insists that he and his young friends feel helpless to make a difference in the world. They care, but they feel powerless. Thus they wait on others to do the hard work for them. Is this right? Fair? Is this you?

Change lyrics:

It's hard to beat the system
When we're standing at a distance
So we keep waiting (waiting)
Waiting on the world to change.

4. "Everything Has Changed" by Taylor Swift (Featuring Ed Sheeran)

Smacked silly by love at first sight, the protagonist in this 2013 pop song recalls how a chance meeting with a guy has forever changed her life. Talk about going from zero to 100.

Change Lyrics:

All I know is a new found grace
All my days, I'll know your face
All I know since yesterday is everything has changed.

5. "A Change Is Gonna Come" by Sam Cooke

This 1964 song was based on an incident in Louisiana several months earlier in which Sam Cooke, his wife, and band had their hotel reservations at a Holiday Inn denied on account of their race. The song in turn became an anthem for the American Civil Rights Movement.

Change lyrics:

It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change gonna come, oh yes it will.

Reader Viewpoint

6. "Burning Gold" by Christina Perri

Tired of living a fearful and unfulfilling life, the narrator in this 2010 realizes that the power to realize her dreams lies within her. Empowered, she commits to small changes in every aspect of her life.

Change lyrics:

Looking back I see I had the flame in me
I’m the wind that’s carrying change.

7. "Change" by Christina Aguilera

In this 2016 pop song dedicated to victims of the Orlando terror attack, the narrator pleads for a better world. She urges people to be proud of who they are, as one day love and hope will prevail over hate and shame.

Change lyrics:

Waiting for a change to set us free
Waiting for the day when you can be you and I can be me.

8. "Rivers and Roads" by The Head and the Heart

Change can be sad and scary. In this 2011 song, the protagonist is at a crossroads in his life (graduation?), and he's struggling with the significant upheaval it's created in his social support system.

His family lives in a different state and his circle of friends will be dispersing soon. He is especially mournful of leaving the one who means the most to him.

Change lyrics:

Been talkin' 'bout the way things change
And my family lives in a different state
If you don't know what to make of this
Then we will not relate.

How You Can Help Change the World

pick up litter in your path every day

adopt a homeless animal (and spay and neuter your own pets)

transport an elderly friend or neighbor to their medical appointments or help them with grocery shopping

hold the door for the next person, no matter their age or gender

smile at people; say "please" and "thank you"

write a sincere letter of gratitude to a teacher, a solider, or a healthcare worker

forgive

plant a garden and share your bounty with neighbors, coworkers, or the local foodbank

offer respite care for a family struggling with an ill relative

leave extra store coupons you don't need next to the item for purchase

teach someone to read

learn how to actively listen (put down that smart phone)

stop wasting so much food

pass on your gently used books, movies and furniture to others who may benefit

become certified in infant and adult first aid, CPR and AED

9. "A Change Will Do You Good" by Sheryl Crow

The discombobulated lyrics of this 1999 pop song reflect the mayhem infiltrating some people's ordinary lives. The narrator recommends pulling yourself together if your life is this random. It couldn't hurt, right?

Change lyrics:

I think a change (a change) would do you good.

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward, American writer

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." - William Arthur Ward, American writer

10. "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson

Nearly four in 10 Americans have never moved from the town or city where they were born. But that's not the narrator in this 2004 pop song.

Growing up in a small town, she felt silenced, stifled and not listened to when she voiced her opinion. In order to become who she was meant to be, she has to leave her hometown and embark on a new path.

Change lyrics:

I'll take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway.

11. “Changes” by Ziggy Marley

Ziggy Marley is the eldest son of the late Bob Marley. Ziggy's real name is "David," a nickname given to him by his father because of his love for David Bowie's music.

Ziggy's 2011 reggae-style song laments that money, ego and greed dominate our modern society, and ordinary people need to band together for positive change.

Change lyrics:

Change for the better and not for the worse
Let's stand together and break our curses.

Reader Viewpoint

12. "Change" by Taylor Swift

Tired of being held back, held down and not getting what she deserves, the protagonist in this 2008 pop song is fighting back hard. She and her friends may be outnumbered, but they're getting up off their knees and are determined to battle for the change that belongs to them.

When they're done, they plan on singing Halle-freaking-lujah. Take that, naysayers.

Change lyrics:

We’re getting stronger now
Find things they never found
They might be bigger
But we’re faster and never scared.

"Change your thoughts and you change your world." - Norman Vincent Peale, American minister and positive thinker

"Change your thoughts and you change your world." - Norman Vincent Peale, American minister and positive thinker

13. "Miss Independent" by Kelly Clarkson

The woman in this 2008 pop song was afraid of being hurt so she put up her defenses and projected an image of self-sufficiency. But then she decided to reveal her human vulnerability and her need to connect. This change is exactly what she needed.

Change lyrics:

She didn't want to end up jaded
And this Miss decided not to miss out on true love.
So, by changing her misconceptions
She went in a new direction
And found inside she felt a connection.
She fell in love.

14. "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross

When ex-Supreme Diana Ross released this song in 1980, she was finally on her own after a career with Motown's Barry Gordy. This song's lyrics of positive change and "revelation" made it an unintentional LGBT anthem.

Originally, "coming out of the closet" referred to alcoholism, however the phrase eventually became associated with disclosing one's sexual identity. Being open in how you identify yourself publicly is certainly a change.

Change lyrics:

There's a new me coming out
And I just had to live
And I want to give
I'm completely positive.

15. "This Is the New Year" by A Great Big World

In this 2014 pop song, friends are ringing in a new calendar year that is full of hope and promise. New Year's resolutions bring assurances of change, and the narrator encourages his friend to live for now and join together with him.

Change lyrics:

Say everything you've always wanted
Be not afraid of who you really are
'Cause in the end we have each other
And that's at least one thing worth living for.

16. "Laughter Lines" by Bastille

This poignant 2013 song features a relationship that has been interrupted. One partner thus promises the other that they will meet again in the future when they are older.

The narrator describes that future as a time when their life changes will be reflected on their hands and etched as laugh lines into their faces.

Change lyrics:

Changes on our hands and on our faces, oh, oh
Memories are mapped out by the lines we'll trace.

17. "Change" by Carrie Underwood

Sometimes the smallest gesture can make a huge difference. That's the message in this 2009 country song.

Whether it's helping homeless people or needy children in foreign countries, your kindness can work wonders and bring about change for those who need it. Don't let others discourage you in your mission to change the world.

Change lyrics:

Oh, the smallest thing can make all the difference
Love is alive, don't listen to them when they say
"You're just a fool, just a fool to believe you can change the world."

18. "The Times They Are-a-Changin’" by Tracy Chapman

Bob Dylan opened up his concert with this folk anthem for change the night after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. It became one of Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, and Tracy Chapman remade it in 1993.

The song's narrator cautions that rapid change is afoot, and one should either help or get out of the way. Dylan has claimed that he wasn't referencing any specific political issue or event, just a general notion of change.

Change lyrics:

If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

19. "I Am Changing" by Jennifer Hudson

This 2006 R&B song describes the personal growth that the protagonist is undergoing. Experiencing a personal metamorphosis in self-improvement, she's looking for support from a friend in changing her life.

Change lyrics:

I am changing, trying every way I can.
I am changing, I'll be better than I am.
But I need a friend, to help me start all over again.

20. "Changed" by Rascal Flatts

The narrator in this country song from 2012 describes a spiritual transformation that occurred upon being baptized. As he came up out of the water, he felt all of his past mistakes wash away in forgiveness. Many Christian religions practice baptism by full immersion in a river or indoor tub of water.

Change lyrics:

I came up out of the water
Raise my hands up to the Father
Gave it all to him that day.

"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change." - Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist

"Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change." - Stephen Hawking, English theoretical physicist

Even More Songs About Change

SongArtistYear Released

21. Change Your Life

Little Mix

2013

22. 100 Years To Live

Five For Fighting

2004

23. It's All About To Change

Travis Tritt

1991

24. Wind of Change

The Scorpions

1990

25. Metamorphosis

Hilary Duff

2003

26. Change

Faith Evans

2010

27. It's Getting Better

Kathryn Ostenberg

2014

28. Changes

3 Doors Down

2002

29. Night Changes

One Direction

2014

30. Some People Change

Montgomery Gentry

2004

31. Better Day

Saving Jane

2007

32. Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing

Stevie Wonder

1973

33. Changes

David Bowie

1971

34. Back When I Knew It All

Montgomery Gentry

2008

35. Change

Blind Melon

1992

36. Everything Will Change

Gavin McGraw

2013

37. Starting With Me

Jake Owen

2006

38. Change

Churchill

2012

39. Change

Tracy Chapman

2006

40. Change

Jennifer Nettles Band

2002

41. Change the World

Melissa Etheridge

2012

43. Change

White Lies

2013

44. Change

Good Charlotte

2016

45. You Can't Change That

Ray Parker Jr.

1979

46. Don't Change on Me

Ray Charles

1970

47. Time for Change

Darius Rucker

2014

48. Cool Change

Little River Band

1979

49. Change My Mind

Billy Ray Cyrus

2012

50. We Never Change

Coldplay

2000

51. Stairway to Heaven

Led Zepplin

1971

52. Graduation

Vitamin C

1999

53. One Man Can Change the World

Big Sean (featuring Kanye West & John Legend)

2015

54. Everything's Changed

Lonestar

1998

55. Something in the Air

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers

1994

56. Younger Now

Miley Cyrus

2017

57. Change the World

Eric Clapton

1996

58. 15 Minutes

Rodney Atkins

2009

Questions & Answers

Question: There is a song I heard last night, and I think Phil Collins sang it, but I can't find it anywhere. The only lyrics I remember are "there is not enough time for change." Do you have any ideas?

Answer: I've searched extensively using those lyrics as well as lyrics close to them. I've also taken to YouTube and perused Phil Collins and Genesis songs just in case. There were no matches for the lyrics that would come anywhere close to sounding like Phil Collins (i.e., they were female, African American groups, not the right genre, etc.). Thus, I'm left to wonder if the lyrics aren't quite right. That's actually common.

Rather than return no results, I'll give you two Genesis songs that do refer to change and there not being enough time.

"Please Don't Ask" (1980) by Genesis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=enlrC2jRg_w

Sample lyrics:

It's not enough, it's not enough

This feeling I'm feeling inside

Oh I know it I know tonight that I'll be

On my own tonight, alone again tonight

Oh I'm alone again, alone again tonight

Oh I'm alone again, and it seems to me that every time I try to change

Say that you'll, say that you'll

Help me reach the other side

Help me please 'cause I know I'm gonna be

On my own again alone again tonight... .

Also check out:

"Feeding the Fire" (1986) by Genesis https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4rSI8_Z6DQ

Sample Lyrics:

Many a thing that used to be a secret

Has become so talked about

Not worth a second thought

There's different kinds of secrets now

Times change, it's not enough to say

It seemed a good idea a hundred years ago

You think it's not your problem

It really doesn't matter at all.

Question: What song has lyrics "to make a change, to make a change"?

Answer: There are several songs that I found with that double repeat of "to make a change," including the following:

1) "The Meter Marks Ok" (2005) by Loney Dear, a Scottish alt rock singer-songwriter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx1h5Y6feqA

2) "Nerf" (a parody of Ellie Goulding's song "Burn") by Instalok, a creative group that performs parodies of popular songs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WvFW_FCatLM

3) "Twenty Two" (1997) by Millencolin, a Scottish punk band https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zeuXFT0D_KA

Question: What song has lyrics "changing the world, building the change"?

Answer: The closest I could find to these lyrics was the 2012 electronic/dance song "Louder" by DJ Fresh (featuring Sian Evans) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE-dwpWpscU which features the lyrics, "We're powerfully changing the world" and talks about the chemistry building. It's an uplifting and positive change song even though it doesn't 100% fit your quoted lyrics. Give it a listen in case you either didn't recall the lyrics correctly or want a good song about change to inspire you.

Question: What songs have lyrics “change myself”?

Answer: Following are several very different songs that include “change myself.”

1) “Wake Up the Mountain” by Helloween (1996) is a metal song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3jEM4p_YNas Lyrics containing “change myself” are as follows:

Though I cannot change the world we're living in

I can always change myself

2) “Deep Inside of You” by Third Eye Blind (2000) is an alternative rock song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBk509ntyUs Here are lyrics containing the two words you wanted:

I've never felt alone

'Til I met you

I'm all right on my own

And then I met you

And I'd know what to do if I just knew what's coming

I would change myself if I could.

3) “Change Myself” by Todd Rundgren (1991) is a rock song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v10gEIUcK70. Here are the lyrics excerpts with the two relevant words you are looking for:

I want to change the world

I want to make it well

How can I change the world

When I can't change myself.

Hope you found something helpful here.

© 2016 FlourishAnyway

Comments

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on June 09, 2020:

Joan Scholvin - Thank you for this suggestion which I added. A Grammy Award-winning song. Be well and change your little corner of the world!

Joan Scholvin on June 08, 2020:

Did anyone say “Change the World” by Clapton??? So meaningful.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on April 25, 2020:

Peggy - I hope that people are moved to help one another and the world around them more. All we really have is each other.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 25, 2020:

That is amazing that the piece of paper in your room survived that house fire. I am so glad to know that no one was injured or lost their life. One thing is sure. Change happens, and sometimes when we least expect it. I enjoyed reading your suggestions about helping to change the world. Some of them are so simple and yet can make a difference. I wholeheartedly subscribe to doing that list when the opportunity presents itself.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on October 16, 2017:

Peg - You're right about how changing the world starts with yourself. I really like Michael Jackson's song and have always found it uplifting. Have a wonderful Monday!

Peg Cole from Northeast of Dallas, Texas on October 16, 2017:

What a powerful story about your childhood home and the lasting message about change. A mentor, Jim Rohn teaches, "If you will only change, everything will change for you." I had no idea there were so many songs about this theme. Wow. Listening now to Michael Jackson and his (hu)man in the mirror.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 23, 2016:

teaches12345 - Developing greater patience is a wonderful change. Have a happy holiday weekend, and thanks for your support.

teaches12345 on December 23, 2016:

Another great post from a wonderful author. Over the years, I have learned to accept change as it comes my way with patience. Something I completely avoided when younger.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 17, 2016:

Audrey - Yes, it is. For one or the other. Hang on to your hat. Have a wonderful holiday season, lovely poetess.

Audrey on December 17, 2016:

Another great list Flourish! Charge, for good or ill, is in the air!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 16, 2016:

Vellur - Yes, it was really jarring, especially seeing the emotional impact on my parents who invested so much of themselves in the house over the years to make it a nice home for the family. Gone were family photos, baby books, items passed down through generations. But that certificate survived. Thank you for stopping by. Have a wonderful week.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on December 15, 2016:

A great selection of songs embracing the concept of change, thank you for sharing.The "change" certificate stood the test of time, it must have been heart wrenching to see your house swallowed in flames.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 15, 2016:

Kyriaki - Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate you!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 15, 2016:

Genna - Thank you for your encouragement. Change can be difficult and messy and it's not always positive. But I guess we must roll with it. The changes going on in the world today are so troubling. Have a peaceful holiday season.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 15, 2016:

Peggy - Thank you for your kind comment. With all that is going on in the world, I hope we can each do a little to invoke some positive change in our little corners of it. Have a joyful holiday season!

Kyriaki Chatzi on December 14, 2016:

Even though it can be intimidating and scary, change is actually good. Fantastic piece, honestly! Thank for sharing, Flourish, you are a true wordsmith.

Genna East on December 14, 2016:

I'm always amazed with the way in which you craft this enjoyable series; with so many themes and music selections. This one is one of my favorites (excellent list); and very apropos and timely given what is going on in the world today.

Peggy Woods on December 13, 2016:

That is amazing that the paper certificate was salvaged after your family home caught fire. Thank heavens no one was injured! You certainly cited a great number of songs regarding change...and also gave some good suggestions.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 13, 2016:

Linda - Thank you for your kind feedback on the story and the suggestions. Have a wonderful week!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 13, 2016:

MsDora - I like that they are so positive. We've got to focus on what we can do instead of what we cannot. Have a lovely holiday week. I am thinking of you, especially as you spend this first holiday season without your dear mother. I know it must be bittersweet without her.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 13, 2016:

Larry - A lot of people agree with you. Whew. Gotta make it happen, one little corner of the world at a time. Hope all is well with you and your family, Larry.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 13, 2016:

Gypsy Rose Lee - Me neither until I got to listing them! Have a wonderful week!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 13, 2016:

Heidi - That's one of the first one I thought of too! I thought it was an appropriate topic given all that is going on and with the new year coming up. Happy Holidays to you!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 13, 2016:

Kali - Great to hear from you again! Hope you are doing well. I added your suggestion! Happy Holidays!

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on December 12, 2016:

I like all your playlist themes, but I love this one. Your suggestions for changing the world are great, Flourish. The introductory story is very interesting.

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on December 12, 2016:

I especially like the lyric quotes from Diana Ross and Carrie Underwood. There is always room for change and I'm sure that many will welcome this playlist.

Larry Rankin from Oklahoma on December 12, 2016:

Keep waiting on the world to change.

Great music. I always enjoy your lists.

Gypsy Rose Lee from Daytona Beach, Florida on December 12, 2016:

Another awesome post and thanks for the music. Never knew there were so many songs about change.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on December 12, 2016:

The first song that popped in my head when I saw this hub's title was David Bowie's Ch-Ch-Changes. :) What a great playlist for the New Year! Have a beautiful pre-holiday week!

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 12, 2016:

Audrey - Thank you so much for your encouragement! (I'm having one of those days when I needed it.) Your kindness is much appreciated.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on December 12, 2016:

This is my favorite hub Flourish. I love 'em all but this one rates the highest on my list. Change is constant. Your section on how we can change the world for better is valuable. Super job!

Kaili Bisson from Canada on December 12, 2016:

This is fun and a great list of songs...well done! Can I add one? Led Zep's Stairway to Heaven:

" If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now,

It's just a spring clean for the May queen.

Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run

There's still time to change the road you're on."

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 11, 2016:

Linda - Thank you for your kind comment. It's the change omen that refused to burn. So strange. Have a wonderful week ahead as you prepare for the holidays. I bet you're doing all kinds of amazing baking. I can almost smell your kitchen from here.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 11, 2016:

Martie - Having moved around a lot as a child, I was always the new kid, thus I don't like change either, even when it's good for me. But sometimes I like to think I am getting better at it. I do hope you find the inner peace and happiness you seek, especially with all that is going on in your country. I enjoy having you for a hub friend.

FlourishAnyway (author) from USA on December 11, 2016:

Bill - Thanks for the kind sentiments. You are top of mind today. I hope you are well and hope that book is going gangbusters for you.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on December 11, 2016:

Flourish - I don't believe in coincidence. That the one thing that survived the fire was your certificate is an amazing statement for you and your family. Thank you for another great list of songs. I have to admit that many I had not heard of. I can't think of a one song I would add--good job, and thank you for sharing this list and your story with us.

Martie Coetser from South Africa on December 11, 2016:

Flourish, this is quite a profound list of music, and especially the captions. I hate changes, but I know how important it is to adapt, so I simply tackle them by the horn, just to look back after some time to realize (once again) that 99% of all changes in my life was a step or three closer to inner peace and happiness.

Thanks for this thought-provoking list of songs about changes.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 11, 2016:

I like your personal reflections at the beginning. It is so cool, the way music intertwines with our personal lives, how some songs seem to speak to us and the events of our lives. Great list!

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