I think most people have an album or a playlist they listen to when they need to add some spring to their step. Here are the Top 10 songs on my Pick-Me-Up Playlist right now.
10. Dead in the Mornin' by Bleu
This is kind of an odd choice, I'll admit. The lyrics literally talk about all the things the singer is giving away and/or won't have to do anymore because he'll be dead in the morning. The thing that speaks to me, though, is that in addition to leaving tangible possessions to his survivors, he is also leaving intangibles - like sing alongs and a lust for life. Also, the ending has a gospel feel that I really dig.
9. September by Earth Wind and Fire
This song is my jam! There is no bad day this song can't help. The chorus is literally half gibberish, so it's no big deal to forget the lyrics, because you can just sing the sounds you hear! Ba de ya, baby! I also love that the first line asks "Do you remember/the 21st night of September?" because my dad and his twin were born on September 21st.
8. (If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To by Weezer
The entire Raditude album gets a lot of play in my iTunes, but this song is the standout. The title itself is empowering to me. It reminds me that if I want something, I need to go after it. Perseverance is also a theme as the couple in the lyrics progresses through a relationship. It's got a "it may not always be easy, but it will be worth it" vibe going on.
7. Change Your Mind by Sister Hazel
I wasn't a huge Sister Hazel fan when they hit the scene, but like most kids my age, I at least loved their hits. I kind of rediscovered this song in the last year during a time when I needed an attitude adjustment. I was unhappy with how my life was going, and I realized that the only one who could really make a difference was me. Any song with a lyric "have you ever danced in the rain or thanked the rain just for shining over the sea?" has got to be uplifting.
6. One Week by Barenaked Ladies
The lyrics to this song aren't particularly uplifting - especially the choruses. A song about a fight in a relationship doesn't typically get me pumped. That being said, I cannot sing this song without smiling. It may be a self-inflicted challenge, but the challenge to sing all the words during Ed's sections gets me excited every single time. I didn't own the album Stunt, and I remember when I was in 8th grade (that's right, ladies and gents, that song is 15 years old!) listening to the radio at night, hoping the song would come on so I could record it on my tape deck and learn the lyrics. When I eventually downloaded it (completely legally, and definitely not using Napster on my parents' dial-up internet), I was so irritated that people mistakenly labeled the song "Chickety China" because this was clearly a very important song that everyone should treat with respect!
5. It Gets Better by Fun.
Since it hasn't been released as a single, this song isn't as widely known as Fun.'s song "Carry On", but it sends a similar message. Sometimes I need to be beaten over the head with a theme for it to really stick - it gets better. When life feels like it's crashing down around you, remember - it gets better.
4. Do It Anyway by Ben Folds Five
I'm not sure if I heard this song before I saw the video or vice versa, but the two are cemented together in my mind. The reunion of Ben Folds Five created a frenetic musical energy that just emanates from the group. I also think it's mandatory for anyone who was alive in the 80's to love this video on a very basic level strictly because of the Fraggles. There are two themes to the lyrics that speak to me. First is the obvious "do what makes you happy" theme. Second is assurance that although there are lists of things you never thought you would say or like, changing your mind about them is okay. Also, I just really love that the video was produced by the folks at Nerdist Industries.
3. Dog Days Are Over by Florence + The Machine
I'll admit that the first time I heard this song was on Glee. It was kind of a throw-away song stuck at the end of an episode, and it had no bearing on the plot of the episode at all. The song has one hell of an ear worm though, as I found myself singing it repeatedly even though I didn't know most of the lyrics. The lyrics aren't particularly uplifting, but you could find worse mantras than "the dog days are over/the dog days are gone."
2. Magic by B.o.B. featuring Rivers Cuomo
I don't listen to a lot of hip hop, but I have loved this song since I first heard it in 2010. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo is featured on the track. This song gets me so pumped that when I know I'll need a little extra push to get out of bed in the morning, I set my alarm to be this song. It guarantees that I will not go anywhere near the snooze button. Much like with "One Week," knowing all the lyrics makes me prouder of myself than should be allowed.
1. This Year by The Mountain Goats
Awhile back I wrote a post about John Green's book, The Fault In Our Stars. I talked about how I watched the video from An Evening of Awesome which lead me to read the book. The Mountain Goats were part of An Evening of Awesome, and they performed "This Year" at the end of the event. There's something about this song that hits me right at my core. It could be that I discovered the song at a transitory time in my life, but it doesn't change the effect it has on me. I find the chorus so poetic: "I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me." It's such a contradiction, but it still makes me hopeful. I've probably listened to this song more than two hundred times in the last 3 months. It's not really a positive song, but it gives me the pick-me-up that I need.
Listening to music is a very important part of my life, and I make playlists for just about everything - or at least every trip that will last more than an hour. These aren't necessarily the songs I would listen to while getting ready for a night out on the town. That's not the kind of pick-me-up I mean. These are the songs that pick me up off the floor, dust me off, and help me keep moving forward. This is also a list of only 10 tracks - there are so many more that I could list!
I want to know what would be on your Pick-Me-Up Playlist. What's your go-to track to lift your own spirits?