The Magic of Music
I’m pretty sure you’ve figured it out by now, but music can have a huge influence on our moods. Sometimes it even perks me up and inspires me within seconds! Music also has the power to unlock memories and other cognitive capacities in Alzheimer’s disease. That’s pretty fascinating, if you ask me.
Curated with Spoonies in Mind
I thought that it might be a good idea to curate some music for spoonies (or anyone who’s going through a rough patch). I decided to add a wide variety of genres as life is never linear with chronic illness anyway. There’s a mix of upbeat, happy tunes to awaken your spirit and stir you into action. Then there are some sad songs to mourn and weep over, because that can also be therapeutic. Sometimes I find solace in these heart-wrenching melodies, which inspire me to simply be overwhelmed and to cling on in hope.
So here’s some music I found and like, and want to share with all of you! Some of these songs are perennial favourites in my own playlists, and others I discovered through the machine magic of Spotify and Shazam. I’ve also laid out some of the lyrics that I found particularly inspiring.
P.s. If you’re interested, I also included two of my own songs at the end of this post 😉
Handing the Mic Over to You
What are your favourite songs to listen to when you’re down? Which of these songs did you like best in this debut playlist? Share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below!
*Trigger Warning: Not every single one of these songs are ‘inspiring, uplifting’ tunes or lyrics in the typical sense, but all of them bring me comfort in different ways. Please proceed with caution if you are someone who may be affected by depressive or sad lyrics and sounds.
It’s Amazing by Jem
“Patience, now, frustration’s in the air
And people who don’t care
Well, it’s gonna get you down
And you’ll fall
Yes, you will hit a wall
But get back on your feet
And you’ll be stronger and smarter
It’s amazing all that you can do”
I wanted to watch something stupid and “Sex and the City” was available on HBO. Something good came out of it – this song. I think it’s quite the spoonie anthem, especially with Jemma Griffiths’ gorgeous vocals.
What It’s Like by Everlast
“We’ve all seen the man at the liquor store beggin’ for your change
The hair on his face is dirty, dreadlocked and full of mange
He ask the man for what he could spare with shame in his eyes
‘Get a job, you fucking slob’ is all he replies
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in his shoes
Cause then you really might know what it’s like to sing the blues
Then you really might know what it’s like”
This song makes me weep, as I can relate to the brokenness of the characters in it. Circumstances and geography may differ, but it doesn’t matter. As humans we have the capacity to feel empathy for anyone who’s hurting or in need.
Goodnight Moon by Shivaree
“Now goodnight moon,
I want the sun.
If it’s not here soon,
I might be done.”
The soundtrack for Kill Bill is a classic that I love. I remember listening to Shivaree with my best friend back in school as we hung around waiting for lectures to start. Thinking about it, the good friends I made back in school that I still meet with up with today were all connected through music. These lyrics while dark, aptly sums up what anxiety can feel like for me.
Be Yourself by Audioslave
“Someone falls to pieces
Sleeping all alone
Someone kills the pain
Spinning in the silence
She finally drifts away…
And be yourself is all that you can do
To be yourself is all that you can do”
Audioslave was my favourite band back when I was 17. This one’s in tribute to Chris Cornell and his emotional, power-packed vocals. The world misses your fire. (Read about his struggle with addiction and suicide here.)
Black Sheep by Gin Wigmore
“I wasn’t born a beauty queen but I’m okay with that
Maybe radio won’t mind if I sing a little flat”
This song is explosive! Packed with so much kickass energy and delivered in Gin Wigmore’s ‘flat’ vocals. (Not quite flat, really. But I like how she turned it around and used it to her advantage!) Her style is distinctive and her voice is unmistakable. That’s what life’s like with a chronic illness as well; it’s never vanilla, but sprinkled with a boatload of liquorice, tobacco, and other flavours that uh, wake up the tongue and soul.
Come Alive by The Pierces
“Let’s go, let’s go deep inside
Am I the only one believing that this could be something beautiful?
Don’t try, don’t try to hide
The darkness you reveal could make you come alive”
I kind of interpret these few lines of the song as an encouragement to search for the innate beauty deep within myself. What I may have perceived as ugly, or that society has brushed off as broken, could perhaps be the key to coming alive again if I learn how to embrace it. It is our imperfections that make us unique in this world, after all.
Colder Heavens by Blanco White
“Sometimes I get the feeling I’m lost
Just hiding it is never enough
Now I find in every mirror a ghost
Only once I saw the killer
Once I saw the killer up close”
These lyrics made me reflect about the way I talk to and treat myself sometimes, usually on a subconscious level. It also made me think about the before and after narrative that is tied to every chronic illness person’s life story, including my own. It’s a good self-reminder to be my own best friend, and to keep working towards Me 3.0 instead of being stuck in version 1.0, or lingering in the grief of version 2.0.
Enjoy the Silence, Cover by Carla Bruni
“Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in
Into my little world
Painful to me
Pierce right through me
Can’t you understand”
Words matter. They can influence a person to take the opposite direction, so craft them with care. Sharpen your speech and use it like a weapon to advocate for a worthy cause. Add some glitter and deliver them to a girlfriend who needs it. Let them sink into a deep blue depth, as you sit in silence with someone who simply needs you there beside them.
You Can’t Save Me by Richie Kotzen
“I sold my soul just so I could feel paid
I broke my heart so I couldn’t feel pain
I’ve lost my faith cause’ I can’t justify the wait
I’ve got no hope that’s only for losers and fakes…
I lost my mind just so I could escape
I still got time but I know it’s too late
I still got friends to tell me I’m ok
I’m still alive but I keep on testing fate”
These are some of my favourite lyrics out there, and Richie Kotzen’s vocals deliver them to perfection. Many people who live with chronic illnesses develop a fear of hope and happiness after a while. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told myself that the nightmare is over, and that the situation will improve from hereon, only to face something even worse. I’m coping better now after I sought help from a psychologist, but these lyrics are powerful because they’re so raw and real.
Put the Gun down by ZZ Ward
“Can anybody hear me?
Can anybody see me?
‘Cause I think I lost my way
Put the gun down, just put the gun down”
How many of you have felt unseen and unheard? How many of you have contemplated suicide because of extreme pain, or a loss of hope? Just put the gun down, whether physically or metaphorically. Just put it down. Sing along, scream it out, cry, but put the gun down. I can’t tell you why right now, but I know that as a human being, survival is in our blood.
Warriors by Imagine Dragons
“The time will come when you’ll have to rise
Above the best, improve yourself
Your spirit never dies…
Here we are.
Don’t turn away now
We are the warriors that built this town from dust.”
Dan Reynolds, the lead singer of Imagine Dragons, suffers from ankylosing spondylitis and ulcerative colitis. Here’s what he had to say to the media:
“To those writers who have bullied and body shamed me throughout the years because I am an ‘artist’ and am supposed to fit some image you have in mind of the typical ‘rockstar’ — shame on you. I honestly hope you never have to deal with chronic pain — though it would certainly make you think twice before judging another’s way of life, especially when you have no idea of the details of their struggle.”
While there’s no pressure, thank you for using your powerful voice for more than singing!
False Hope by Laura Marling
“And my worst problem is I don’t sleep at night
Woman downstairs just lost her mind,
And I don’t care how, I surely don’t care why
Why I know false hope
Why I know false hope
She’ll be alright tomorrow
Neither of us is gonna sleep tonight
We’ve false hope
I hear you begging through the wall
A dying animal’s last call”
How many of you spoonies live with painsomnia or insomnia? Sometimes that can be the worst problem indeed, because the quality of your sleep has a direct effect on mental and physical health. When we’re asleep, our brain gets to work cleaning up mental junk and repairing broken down body parts. It’s not idling away, but maximising our wellbeing! Many spoonies are unable to rest due to pain, which becomes a vicious cycle in itself. Sleep is a gift that many people don’t realise until it disappears.
Nice and Quiet by Bedouine
“I don’t want to run
I don’t want to try to fight it
Every time I try
I find new ways to deny it
I will try my best to
Keep my head nice and quiet
A rather soothing and meditative tune, this one. Maybe our head space will never be fully nice and quiet, but just let your thoughts flow.
Life by Ludovico Einaudi
Okay there are no lyrics to this one, but Ludovico Einaudi is one of my favourite pianists to listen to. His style is distinct and his music has been used in a number of films. I’d love to watch him live one day! I will be ending all my playlists with an instrumental piece, for a calm finalé. Enjoy!
P.S. A Little Extra Something from Me!
While this is outside our ‘scope’ for today, I decided to share two songs I made as well! I’m not a professional musician, and created these for fun 🙂 They were a collaborative project with a friend who did the interactive code art, and another who played the piano. You’ll need Flash player to view them as we made these way back in the day.
Otherwise, you can listen to the previews on my CDBaby account below:
Thanks and see you at the next post! 😉
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