Friday, 11 December 2015

My Mood-Boosting Soundtrack

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(Updated 6/1/16)

Hi everyone!

Not going to do a Weekly Happy List post this week, so instead I've got something along a similar tip for you.

Music is something that really feeds my soul and has long been a great love of mine. I love nothing more than having a big sing-along or an epic boogie session no matter what mood I'm in - so much so I have to stifle my natural urge to do any of these things if I hear a song I like in a shop or at the supermarket for fear of appearing looney tunes. Hell, I was singing & tapping along to stuff whilst creating this post...
So in the spirit of soul nourishment, today I'm going to present my favourite songs that lift me up when I’m down in the dumps, songs that help me kick butt when I need to, or songs that simply put a smile on my dial whenever I listen to them. There’s a whole mix of genres here so don’t be afraid to check something out, even if my descriptions scare you. 

This may sound sunny, but this tune is all about Aaradhna's battle with depression in the lead-up to creating & (eventually) releasing her 2nd album, 6 years after her 1st album came out. If you’re struggling for motivation or you’re a chronic procrastinator like yours truly, then use this song to fire you up. Make the chorus to this tune your alarm clock in the morning. If you’re struggling with depression or any kind of mental health issue, then take comfort in the fact that you are not alone and use this song to inspire you to get out of the black hole on days when you want to wallow.

This song is just an absolute burst of sunshine & rainbows & lollipops & happiness in general and I defy you not to feel at least a bit more cheerful post-listen. I can’t help but feel uplifted by the driving beat – it makes me move my head from side to side like a nutter. Plus she co-wrote this song with her husband. All together now: awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww….

I had a friend back in late primary school/early high school who listed this as one of her favourite songs of all time & naturally, I had to go & check it out. Once I did, I could see why she loved it so much and I too have loved it since then. For some reason You Gotta Be always gives me good feels whenever I listen to it and I feel like the lyrics have a tonne of truth in them.

The beat. The opening whistling solo. The simple sentimentality of the lyrics. The back & forths between Jade & Alexander. This song has the hallmarks of a modern (indie) classic IMO, plus it has been featured in countless movies & numerous TV shows & adverts, so you’re bound to have inadvertently heard it at one stage or another without actually knowing what the song is called or who sings it. 

A must-listen if you’re a fan of Bret & Jemaine, aka New Zealand’s 4th most popular comedy-folk duo. If you're in a rush, then just listen to the song. If you can spare 8:52, listen to the interviews with the kids & then the song. (I highly recommend doing that cos you’ll discover that the lyrics to this song came from/were inspired by the interviews with the kids.) If you’re an ultra-mega-big-time FotC fan, then listen to the whole 14 minute shebang with the inclusion of their band manager Murray (Rhys Darby). The song & the interviews are full of some amusing moments so if you’re having a shitty day, it won’t get any worse if you take a listen to this unusual kind of charity/fund-raising tune, which in a way takes the mickey out of all those other charity singles. Plus the aforementioned Brooke Fraser (who is one of my favourite female musicians…I'll mention my other absolute favourite below) sings the first 2 lines of the song, so it’s extra winning! (For me anyway.)

For all of you ladies & gentlemen (because I’m sure it’s not just ladies reading this!) suffering with body image/self-esteem issues and in desperate need of some self-love, I give this gift to you. I admit I still struggle with the whole self-love concept at times; but when I look back to my teenage years, I think I’m much further ahead on that road than I was back then. Maybe after listening to this song, take stock & reflect on how far you’ve come in that battle. You can do it either mentally or on a piece of paper if you like. Think about all the times people have given you compliments and you’ve brushed them off like they haven't meant it – in general, I’ve discovered that people actually DO mean it when they give you a compliment. Next time someone does that, smile & say thanks. Don’t dare to question them or yourself on whether it’s deserved or not, JUST TAKE THE FUCKING COMPLIMENT & SMILE!

Katy Perry - Roar
I forgot to include this in the original post, but I'm adding it now because I've remembered recently how uplifted I feel by this song. I didn't like this a whole lot when it was released, but over the last 6-12 months I've realised that I like the message behind it as much as I enjoy belting out the chorus at the top of my lungs whenever I get the chance to. Another reason why I love music is because of the ability to relate to song lyrics & Roar is no exception. It's only now that I'm older that I am more prepared to "rock the boat & make a mess" as Katy would say.

As Kendrick says in the song, “everybody lack(s) confidence”. How many times have you looked at someone & thought “they have it all”, only to discover that once you scratched the surface, it’s all pretence, a fallacy, a desire to “keep up appearances”? Take heart from the fact that even multi-million selling rappers with enough braggadocio to fill several continents have the occasional lapse in the goods & need to fill their cups up again. Oh and whilst you’re at it, have fun screaming out “I LOVE MYSELF!!” when Kendrick does, about 3:00 into the song. It will feel good, trust me. :o)

Now I can’t mention one of my favourite female musos without mentioning the other! It’s amazing what can be created out of a crisis of confidence – this song is testament to that notion. I can’t help but feel ready to conquer stuff whenever I listen to U Song (as I call it because I’m a typical Aussie who tends to shorten her words a lot). Maybe it’s the tribal chanting in the chorus, or that kick-arse opening verse where KT comes out & just lays it on the line, or maybe because I feel bulletproof when I’m singing this at the top of my lungs in my own private karaoke space, aka my bedroom. Or the house in general if I’m home alone. I think if I had a war cry, this song would be my call to arms. Another one of her songs (Push That Knot Away) gives me similar feels, but with extra personal meaning.

Mayer Hawthorne - The Stars Are Ours 
I also forgot to include this in the original version of this post; but having re-discovered it recently, I remembered that I grin like a Cheshire cat & dance like a Dad every time I listen to it. I can't help it, it's just one of those tunes that makes me so damn happy! It's an absolutely fun song about youthful rebellion & one of the best tunes Pharrell Williams ever put his production skillz towards. 

The 2nd verse has a certain amount of meaning for me, but then again so does the entire song. It's another song that could fire you up when you're riddled with self-doubt, or your own lack of self-confidence is holding you back, or you just want to say a big fuck you to the haters...speaking of which...

Isn't this song all about that notion? I must admit Shake It Off has taken quite a while to grow on me; but having had a crapload of fun dancing to it at a recent wedding, I've finally succumbed to the fact that it's a fantastic pop tune & it's catchy as. Even if you can't stand Tay Tay in general, you have to admit (grudgingly or not) that she did well here. #hatersgonnahate (Oh & I do notice the irony of including both Katy & Taylor in this post, considering their feud...I'm Switzerland people, I like songs from both of them and I'm not going to take sides.)

Because everything truly IS going to be alright. It might not feel that way now, but it will be. Trust me…and if you don’t trust me, then I dare you not to click your fingers along in time to the beat, or dance like no-one is watching. Go on, try it! (If you're wondering if this tune sounds familiar, then you might know it from the Coke Life ad.)

As soon as the opening guitar lines kick in, I feel instantly happy. It’s just one of those sunny sounding songs to me. Despite the lyrics being about a woman who keeps her (potential) man guessing with her actions & words, I kind of think this could be a good first-dance-at-a-wedding song…maybe…perhaps a choreographed one.

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What are your feel-good songs?

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