By Jordan Moore
Music can be a great coping device for those dealing with everyday stress, anxieties, and worries. Steven Universe is a show on Cartoon Network targeted at young children, adolescents, and young adults, but the music selection is great for anybody at any age.
Steven Universe promotes friendships, teamwork, high self-esteem, LGBTQ+ inclusivity, and most importantly, a healthy body image. This show perfectly captures what it’s like to accept yourself and others for every part of them, no matter what they look like. This show is also known for representing everybody of all shapes and colors and every character is good at expressing love for themselves and those around them. The show’s creator, Rebecca Sugar, focuses on creating a new universe where kids can learn to love themselves and their bodies, and is even launching a self-love campaign full of commercials, songs, and music videos targeted at vulnerable youth who need support. An article published by Shondaland and Dove talks about how crucial this show is to children and adolescents in America, writing about “... the importance of showing kids that they’re great just the way they are.” (The Self-Esteem of 'Steven Universe').
This blog post includes the top inspirational songs from Steven Universe. Each song includes a brief description, some select lyrics and a video. These videos aren't listed in any particular order. Some of these songs are for motivation: getting up in the morning, getting homework done, driving to work, or getting yourself determined to have a good day. Some of these songs are for unwinding from a hard day and letting go. Other songs are just interesting to listen to. I recommend to let the music take you to a more peaceful part of your mind. Share with your friends and family who might be struggling with issues that Steven Universe addresses through these songs. These lyrics are meant to evoke healthy emotions and allow you time to process your emotions. It's hard to process emotions sometimes, they can be so complicated. The first step towards mental health recovery is to acknowledge your feelings are there and get comfortable with feeling vulnerable.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues, please contact Skye Counseling at (702) 930-9383 and make an appointment. You can also schedule an appointment by clicking the "Contact" tab on our website: skyecounseling.com. Skye Counseling is known for being queer inclusive and body image positive.
1. Change Your Mind
This is a short, acoustic song sung by the main character, Steven Universe, accompanied by his ukelele. Steven sits on the beach and tries to relieve stress with music. This song is about self-love and acceptance. Instead of waiting for others to accept you, you have to accept yourself. No matter what anyone says, your love for yourself is the most important thing. Finally, people can change, but they don’t have to in order for you to be happy.
I don’t need you to respect me, I respect me.
I don’t need you to love me, I love me.
But I want you to know you could know me, if you change mind.
2. Here Comes a Thought
A powerful song with beautiful animation, this piece is all about coping with anxiety. The lyrics focus on how anxiety feels, and how little things can overwhelm us. Some of us focus on one little thing and have intense reactions to it that are hard to overcome, and others have so many thoughts that bottle up and swarm our minds. What’s important to remember is that we have people who can help us, and it’ll all be okay. This song includes coping mechanisms for anxiety, including mindful meditation, turning to those we trust, and taking a big breath, followed by slow breathing.
Take a moment to think of just
Flexibility, love, and trust
3. Stronger Than You
Treated as a queer anthem, Stronger Than You is a very popular and representative song from this show. The song is sung by the character, Garnet, and her character is a representation of a relationship between two very different people, Ruby and Sapphire. The song is about how their relationship with each other makes them stronger and focuses on the traits of Garnet’s character being the strengths that Ruby and Sapphire bring to their relationship. Ruby’s fury and determination, and Sapphire’s patience and logic create a balanced Garnet who is made from their love. The song also represents others’ hate on Garnet’s relationship and how Garnet doesn’t need their approval, instead choosing to love herself and keep confident.
Go ahead and hit me if you’re able
Can’t you see that my relationship is stable
I can see you hate the way we intermingle
But I think you’re just mad ‘cause you’re single
I am their fury, I am their patience, I am a conversation
I am made of love
4. Both of You
This song is sung by the main character, Steven, who is talking to two quarreling parental figures about coming together and communicating with each other. They’re both mourning the death of someone they loved, which used to be a point of conflict, but Steven attempts to use something they have in common to bring them together - their love for him in their life. The song is relatable to those who had to witness their parents divorcing or fighting, and could also be for those who lost friends or partners from lack of communication or conflict.
You might not believe it, but you got a lot in common
You really do
You both love me and I love both of you
5. It's Over Isn't It?
A solo sung by one of the main characters, Pearl, this classical lament is about her grieving over a woman she loved named Rose. When Rose was alive, she had many boyfriends who Pearl would be jealous of, but through it all, Pearl continued to love her. Now that Rose is gone, Pearl has spent many years trying to move on. This song is her final realization, the fifth stage of the grieving process: the acceptance that she’s gone and it’s over. She reminisces about the journeys they traveled, the wars they’ve won, the challenges they’ve faced. This song is for those who are facing the challenges of moving on from a loved on, or losing someone they’ve loved, either to death to another person. It’s about recognizing what you’ve gained from a relationship with someone while moving on from the pain.
You won, and she chose you
And she loved you
And she’s gone
Isn’t over, isn’t it?
Why can’t I move on?
6. Strong in the Real Way
This song’s main message is emotional strength versus conventional strength. In the show’s episode, Steven is focused on being strong. However, he believes to be strong, you have to build muscles and be physically fit. This song is sung by a character, Pearl, who struggles to show Steven to be strong in the real way. Real strength in this song is determination, honor, and integrity. Steven is singing in the song about working out, but Pearl strives to inspire him to build deep, emotional strength.
I can show you how to be strong
In the real way
7. Haven't You Noticed (I'm a Star)
There’s two versions of this song, the one from the show and the link below, then the other version sung professionally by a pop star. This song is all about confidence and having fun. The episode is about one character, Steven, dressing up in whatever he wants and performing on stage, while another character, Sadie, prefers singing and performing with one or two close friends in a private area. It’s about being comfortable and relieving stress in your own way. The song’s visuals promote confidence and encourage kids to break out of their shell comfortably and have fun however they want to. Even though Steven is a masculine expressing character, he had the freedom to choose to wear a dress and make-up without the show treating that as comic relief or a negative choice. The world is a mirror, and what Steven wanted for himself, he and Sadie’s mom projected it onto Sadie, who didn’t want that. Sometimes what we want for ourselves is something we need to understand is not something that other people want.
Haven’t you noticed that I’m a star?
I’m coming into view as the world is turning
Haven’t you noticed I made it this far?
Now everyone can see me burning
Not only does this song include very modern, relaxing beat, it has a context-heavy message included. Steven, our main character, struggles with his identity. He’s sitting in his mother’s old childhood room, feeling like it’s familiar, but not quite him. His whole life has felt like people comparing him to his mother and him trying his hardest to fill that role. He’s struggled to be just like this parent who died before he got to know her. This song is the first step in his progress of becoming his own person. Steven copes with the familiar memories that his mother left behind and starts to develop his own identity rather than being exactly like his parents.
Where everybody wants me to be mom
And everything I do, I do it wrong
I sway them with a joke, or with a song
And maybe that will help us get along
1. "Steven Universe." Steven Universe. Cartoon Network. 21 May 2013. Television.
2. “The Self-Esteem of 'Steven Universe'.” Shondaland, Shondaland and Dove, 23 July 2018.