Sunday, June 11, 2017

Weekly Inspiration: Music

Amazingly, with all my posts on inspiration and joy, it looks like I haven't really written much yet about music.

Music is a great source of joy for me and provides a great pick-me-up when I am feeling down. Like most people, I have certain songs I turn to that never fail to lift my spirits. I grew up in the 70's and 80's, so most of my favorite songs are pop and rock, from then to now. Some work for me because of the lyrics, some have beautiful, uplifting melodies, and some cheer me up just because they are great to sing along with. It's hard to feel down when you are belting out "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen!

Here are a couple I have been listening to this week:

Believer by American Authors - When this song was first released in 2014, my oldest son posted it on my Facebook wall and wrote, "I know you will love this new song, Mom!" He was right - he knows me well, and he and I have a special connection from all those years of sick days spent together. This is a wonderfully uplifting song, with a great combination of upbeat, optimistic lyrics and a peppy tune. Here's a version of the song with the lyrics shown:

Though you should also check out the band's original video because it is really cute and clever (though it has nothing at all to do with chronic illness):

The other song that's been in my head all week was thanks to the Netflix show Sense8, which we've been watching with our son (review coming up next week!). This show is all about a strange, psychic connection between 8 people all over the world. At the end of episode 4 (I think), all 8 people - each in a different part of the world - start singing the same song: What's Up by 4 Non Blondes. I'd never heard of the song before, nor the band, but it's a very catchy song that really gotten into my head. It's another song that wasn't written about illness but feels applicable and lifts my spirits:

I have a playlist on my iTunes called Cheer Up Music, that includes a wide range of spirit-lifting songs, like:
  • The River of Dreams by Billy Joel
  • Best Day of My Life by American Authors 
  • Breathe In, Breathe Out by Mat Kearny (from Volume 3 of the Grey's Anatomy soundtrack)
  • Days Go By by Keith Urban
  • Happy by Pharrell Williams (a trite choice but I love it!)
  • Never Let Your Fire Go Out by The Radators (a favorite band from New Orleans)
  • Sing by the Glee cast
  • Such Great Heights by The Postal Service (love their whole album)
  • Sunshine on My Shoulders by John Denver
  • I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor
I have about 100 songs on the list, so this is just a sampling, but you can see it's a wide variety - simply the songs that make me feel good!

If you're on Spotify, check out the Happier 911 playlist, put together by the listeners of the Happier podcast. There are a few strange choices there, but it's all songs that podcast listeners said lift their spirits.

How about you? Do you listen to music when you are feeling down?

Which songs lift your spirits and cheer you up?


James said...

Music definitely helps, often when nothing else does. I grew up in the 80's and thankfully there is a lot of upbeat music from the era, but really anything that I enjoyed then is soothing now, for example the Footloose soundtrack has some great songs on it. Music designed for relaxation or classical music is also helpful to focus my mind and when I am trying to rest (I often have the tired but wired kind of fatigue). The music doesn't even have to be happy, sometimes darker or more intense music can be cathartic in small doses, for example Nine Inch Nails.

Sue Jackson said...

You are absolutely right, James - some of that lift comes from familiarity, especially the songs from our youth. I like the Footloose soundtrack as well!

And I'm with you on that last point, too - I love to belt out AC/DC or The Who - pumps me up :)