We all have songs that we love, they speak to us for some reason. They remind us of something, they lift us up, they inspire us. We all have a lit of songs that are our anthems or theme songs. Wether we seek them out in out music players or they randomly start playing at a Starbucks, we are transported.
I have put my entire music library on shuffle and will record the first ten songs that changed my life. If possible, I will include a video or clip of the song. Here we go, in no special order…
Simple Things – Zero 7 (2001)
Every day you’ll find the way.
The title track from Zero 7’s debut album. I remember listening to this song a lot in my VW Golf driving to work and driving to the lake house, really focusing on that one line. Every day is a reset, every day, we grow, we find a way, we figure it out. I guess I needed that reminder every day.
Superheroes – Esthero (1998)
I’m not what I used to be, I’m not what…
I’m not what I used to be, and I…
I don’t know myself from anybody else.
Those lyrics are pretty straight-forward in their meaning and their meaning to me. I discovered Esthero at the time when I was reinventing myself into the type of person I wanted to be and would be proud of. It was comforting to know that it was something other people did, if only in songs.
Circus – Britney Spears (2008)
There’s only two types of people in the world
The ones that entertain, and the ones that observe
The title track from Britney Spears’ 2008 album. It was one of my go-to running songs back then. I also really enjoyed the empowering message about being the star of your own show. I need all the encouragement I can find when I am on the cardio machines.
Pullin’ Back The Reins – k.d. lang (1989)
Out of nowhere this gust of wind
Brushed my hair and kissed my skin
It’s a beautifully sounding song and the lyrics are a genius metaphor for not being able to control the feelings of love.
By Your Side – Sade (Neptunes Remix) (2001)
Oh when you’re cold
I’ll be there
Hold you tight to me
The thing about Sade is that she makes you wait seven or so years between new albums and you are never mad at her, just so happy that she has given you a new gift. I love Lovers Rock and the remix that the Neptunes did for this song. It reminds me of working at Amazon in the part of the Decatur Building with no windows and the coworkers that became my friends.
Keep On Livin’ – le Tigre (2001)
The title of the song really explains it all, and Le Tigre does a great job of making the message a you want to scream. This song reminds me of working in the PacMed Building with a particularly terrible boss. There are a few other songs on this album that were sources of inspiration and strength also. I saw them do a cover of the Pointer Sisters’ I’m So Excited at a show, they actually opened with it and I knew right then it was going to be a great night. Let’s break format and include that video:
I have seen Sleater-Kinney in concert more than I have seen any other band. I listened to this album so much, the CD got a skip in it. I have their latest CD in my car and routinely drive by the namesake street in Olympia on the way to the lake house.
Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want – The Smiths (1984)
I love that this song was the B-side of “William, It Was Really Nothing” because I like it better and it reminded me about B-sides. I had it on the Louder Than Bombs album. It was also in the films Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, which gives it the John Hughes bratpack cred. I mean, the lyrics explain it all…
This song was on heavy rotation on Thursday nights at ReBar’s Queer Disco night. It was a dance night where I knew I would see all my friends, we would dance, drink, and have a great time. Every misfit from every high school that moved to Seattle found their way there. It was a support group and family meeting with a disco soundtrack.
Music Sound Better With You – Stardust (1998)
I heard a lot of French house music all over the city in the mid/late 90’s. I could have heard this at Brasillia at the OK Hotel in Pioneer Square. There was also this place that looked like it maybe at one time was a seafood restaurant or that space above the place that sold artificial limbs. I remember seeking out that sort of music around the city with a great mix of people.
Chicken Chow Mein and Chop Suey
Hong Kong Garden takeaway
A very good friend of mine would send me the above lines via email every once in a while, reminding me he was thinking of me. I turned my ringtone to that song after he died and left it that way for at least a year.
Artificial Nocture – Metric (2012)
I make all that I believe
I set myself free
One of my all time favorite songs by one of my all time favorite bands. This is probably one of my three anthems right now.
If I Ever Feel Better – Phoenix (2000)
They say an end can be a start
Feels like I’ve been buried yet I’m still alive
It’s like a bad day that never ends
I feel the chaos around me
A thing I don’t try to deny
I’d better learn to accept that
There are things in my life that I can’t control
I really liked Phoenix in the early 2000s, these lyrics made a lot of sense to me then, maybe at times, they still do.
Better Things – Massive Attack (1994)
Combining two of my favorite bands at the time to create a few really beautiful tracks. For a while, you could hear this album being played at independent coffee shops all over the city.
Now, a list of the songs I wish had been randomly shuffled:
Not Your Kind of People – Garbage (2012)
We are not your kind of people
You seem kind of phony
Everything’s a lie
No matter how much I have been able to change my look and learn to hold conversations with the ‘normals’, I will always feel like that kid under the bleachers at the pep rally. This is my anthem.
My Friend – Groove Armada (2001)
This song reminds me of a friend because I sat near him at work for a few years and he made work enjoyable. It plays every once in a while on my phone and I remember how great he was, even ten years after his passing away.
What’s on your anthem list? Post them in the comments below.