What’s On Your Playlist?

“Don’t you like anything happy?”

I remember having that question posed to me several years ago regarding my music collection. This was before the days of mp3 players, so all I could really do to figure out an answer was to look at my collection of CD’s. Now, though, all I have to do is plug in my iPod and peruse the list of songs that pops up before me.

Apple_MC293LL_A_650131This will sound sort of silly, but getting a 160GB iPod for Christmas a few years ago pretty much changed how I collect songs these days. Whereas I was once miserly with the 16GB of memory on my previous iPod, I suddenly realized one day that I would have to just go completely crazy to fill up 160GB of memory. As a result, I began grabbing any song that was even remotely appealing to me and adding them to my collection.

As evidenced by the “Tuneful Tuesday” posts I write here, my collection of somewhat morose music is still quite impressive. Let me just hit a few of the highlights right now…

– Johnny Cash, “Hurt”

– King’s X, “Dogman”

– Duran Duran, “Ordinary World”

– Echosmith, “Cool Kids”

– Elvis Costello, “All This Useless Beauty”

– Eminem (featuring Rihanna), “The Monster”

– Eric Clapton, “Tears In Heaven”

– Hootie & the Blowfish, “I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You”

– John Hiatt, “Crossing Muddy Waters”

– Kansas, “Dust In The Wind”

– The Gaslight Anthem, “Break Your Heart”

I could go on and on, but you get the point. There’s a lot of less-than-happy stuff on there. As someone who has struggled with depression, however, I think I almost felt like that was the kind of music I should be drawn to. If I’m in a down mood, I should listen to down songs, right? At least, that was my reasoning.

Without realizing what I was doing, though, I gradually began to debunk that theory. Sure, there are certainly times when I just want to listen to something I can wallow in, but for the most part, I’m beginning to find that songs that are more upbeat in nature have a tendency to make me more upbeat as well. (I’m sure about half of you just smacked your foreheads and said “Duh” to that last statement.)

With that in mind, here are some of the more unexpected songs that have their way onto my iPod recently and managed to bring a smile to my face…

– DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, “Boom! Shake The Room”

– Katy Perry, “Roar”

– Mark Ronson (featuring Bruno Mars), “Uptown Funk”

– Asia, “Days Like These”

– Beastie Boys, “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right To Party”

– Blackalicious, “Alphabet Aerobics”

– Bobby Brown, “My Prerogative”

– Carbon Leaf, “Life Less Ordinary”

– Georgia Satellites, “Keep Your Hands To Yourself”

– Jet, “Are You Gonna Be My Girl”

– MC Hammer, “U Can’t Touch This”

You’re probably getting the picture by now. One, my musical tastes are extremely eclectic. Two, for some reason, rap and hip-hop songs seem to be amusing to me. And, three, I probably have too much time on my hands. Nevertheless, not counting several Hozier songs I downloaded recently, I have noticed at least a slight uptick in the number of more lighthearted songs on my iPod.

Now, do I think a person’s playlist defines who they are? Certainly not. Some of the happiest people I know enjoy some of the saddest songs ever written. If you’re noticing a distinct lack of levity on your mp3 player, though, you might want to consider freshening up your library a bit. Music is there to help us grieve, but it is also there to help us celebrate. Like all things in life, striking the right balance is the key.


Tuneful Tuesdays: Days Like These

alaskaI could never live in Alaska. No, it’s not because of the cold; it’s because of the darkness. I am a solar-powered person, and we’ve had nothing but rainy and cloudy days where I live for at least the past four days. Now, if we’re talking rain at night while I’m drifting off to sleep, I’ll take it. There’s just something very soothing to me about the sound of rain on the roof during the night. During the day, though, I need the sun. I can handle a couple of days of dark skies, but I begin to feel the drag after a while.

Well, today was the day I hit the wall. Absolutely nothing seemed to go right for me today. I use the word “seemed,” though, because I’m not sure if things were really that bad or if I just finally succumbed to the lack of sunlight. Some of it could have just been perspective. Either way, I’m ready for this rain to move on and for the sun to shine again.

In an effort to try to end this day on a more positive note, I thought I’d feature a song about how a little rain isn’t the end of the world. Granted, I don’t have the optimism today expressed in the chorus, but Asia’s “Days Like These” has always been one of those songs I couldn’t help but smile at when I heard it. “Days like these I feel like I could change the world…” Who hasn’t had a day like that, when no darkness or pain or bad weather could get them down? They may be rarer for some of us than others, but they do exist.

“And anyway, I love the rain.” What a great lyric. I don’t love the rain, but there’s sun in the forecast for Thursday. Maybe I’ll feel like changing the world that day…