Take a time out with THL

It’s Wednesday, and you’re struggling to find the motivation to make it through the rest of the week. Enter THL, who has just the music you need to not only end the week on a high note, but also keep you inspired for days (and weeks) to come.

A Seat at the Table – Solange Knowles

Don’t be fooled by this easy listening; Knowles’ third album is packed with raw emotion and straight-shooting messages on what it means to be a black woman in today’s society. An album she deemed a “project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing,” according to Rolling StoneA Seat at the Table delivers entrancing melodic hooks coupled with thought-provoking lyrics that are sure to make this album one that you’ll revisit time and again.

Standout tracks:

 “Cranes in the Sky” – A light and airy track, “Cranes in the Sky”is driven by a strong bass line that pulls it back down to Earth and enhances Knowles’ soulful voice.

“Don’t Touch My Hair” – Likely one of the most powerful tracks on the album, “Don’t Touch My Hair” not only asserts Knowles’ own power, but also that of all black women.

Long Live the Angels – Emeli Sandé

The sophomore album of Scottish singer Emeli Sandé doesn’t disappoint, delivering a heartrending account of a broken heart to eventual solace. Departing from her more pop-infused first album, Long Live the Angels incorporates soul, R&B and gospel influences, while certain melodies pay tribute to her Zambian roots. Overall, the album plays much like a story, bringing listeners from an introduction to her heartbreak, to a conflict in trying to grapple with the grief and finally to a resolution in deciding to love again.

Standout tracks:

“Selah” – Said to be a musical break that means “So be it” in Hebrew, the opening track is both haunting and beautiful, with lyrics flowing in a stream-of-consciousness style that is heavy with anxiety and pain.

“Sweet Architect” – Sandé’s emotionally-charged voice takes centerstage on this track, with words that sound like a prayer and an uncomplicated melody. The gospel choir at the end seems to act as a resounding “Amen.”

This is Acting – Sia

This covert singer-songwriter may not show her face on stage, but she certainly wears her heart on her sleeve in her songs. While some tracks discuss the struggle in letting her voice be heard, others serve as a reminder that we don’t walk alone when faced with struggles. Though her songs employ typically pop sounds, Sia’s unique voice cuts through the instrumentals and carries the weight of her important lyrics, as well as the heart and soul she surely pours into every ounce of her music.

Standout tracks:

“Alive” – A story of a woman still standing after facing the worst of what life has to offer, “Alive” places hope for a better future in the simplest of things: that we’re still breathing.

“The Greatest” – Sia’s most recent single, “The Greatest” pushes us to keep going, to never give up and to believe that we can be the greatest we can be.

Grab your headphones, close your eyes and let these artists restore your energy and rejuvenate your determination.

Take a time out with THL

We are 27 days into 2017, and the new year has already ushered in a host of new challenges. But don’t let the stress get you down — take a time out with THL to recharge and gear up to tackle head on whatever concerns are plaguing you.

Take some R&R time

If you’re too busy to head to a nail salon, try pampering yourself with an at-home manicure and pedicure. Better yet, use a nail polish with an empowering name so every time you look down out at your nails, you’re reminded to keep calm and carry on.

THL recommends: Essie’s “Power Clutch,” available at Ulta for $9.

Take some creative time

If makeup and spa days aren’t your thing, relax your mind with a little art therapy. A new trend, adult coloring books offer a brief respite from the daily grind and allow grown ups to be a kid once more. But make no mistake: adult coloring books aren’t all roses, sunshine and puppies designed to numb your mind. Some incorporate your favorite television shows, while others may even teach you something new while you’re coloring away.

THL recommends: “The Badass Feminist Coloring Book,” available at Barnes & Noble for $25, is complete with images of “40 badass feminists and bonus essays on feminism” that are sure to simultaneously relax you and inspire you.

Take some alone time

Everyone loves to read something that is both enlightening and engaging, so there’s no better way to steal a little time for yourself than by curling up with a good book. Whether you decide to read something brand new or choose to revisit an old favorite, reading allows you to escape from the present or become engrossed in a new tale — or may even make you aware of a previously unconsidered point of view.

THL recommendsWe Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, available at Amazon for $6.39 (or $2.99 for the Kindle Edition). This short essay, which was adapted from Adichie’s famous TEDx talk, lays out the basic premise of feminism and explains the logic behind an inclusive feminism.

These recommendations will surely provide an escape from the stresses of the new year. But don’t rest for too long — those challenges won’t resolve themselves.