I was tagged by the lovely Fiona from Like As the Waves to complete this challenge. Fiona writes so well about her mental health, and is such a kind and supportive person. Please check out her blog if you haven’t already as she’s such an important voice in the community. Thanks Fiona, and thank you for always being open, friendly, and considerate.
The challenge was created by Laura Spoonie Blogs for World Mental Health day, to show how music helps us manage our mental health, which is a great idea. Music can be something we take for granted, but the right song at the right time can often take you to a slightly different, even better, place.
From Laura Spoonie Blogs
- Link back to ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ creator – Laura Spoonie
- Tag the blogger who nominated you
- Mention how music helps your Mental Health
- List 10 songs that you would consider to be a part of your ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ (optional: mention a little bit why each song is on your list)
- Tag 10 other bloggers to join in with the ‘Pick Me Up Playlist’ Challenge
Music and my mental health
In all honesty, music is something that I often forget about if I’m feeling particularly bad. It feels like too much sometimes. If I’m not well and not going anywhere, music doesn’t often get put on at home. I usually listen to it when I’m out and about. Strangely, I do think there’s quite a significant relationship between my mental health and music. I find it overwhelming. I have a large collection, but am prone to skipping and often can’t find anything to settle on. Having a large collection can be too much and there are so many things that don’t get listened to.
I also struggle to find new music I like. I don’t have the patience to wade through things in order to find something worthwhile. If I’m out and about, it’s pretty likely I’ll want to listen to something I already know. Something familiar. It’s almost as though I’m as stuck in my music taste as I am in other areas of my life. I stagnate. I’ll continue picking up albums from bands I like, but don’t always find the time to listen to them as much as I would have a decade ago.
I think I’m quietly unsure if my music taste still reflects who I am. Largely, it does, but I find it difficult to accept if I’ve outgrown something. I wonder if that affects my personality, if it means I’ve changed. I try to hold on to parts of myself by liking certain things.
Having said all that, though, there is definitely still a part of me that appreciates the artistry and the distraction that music brings. I like a lot of different genres, from metal to hip hop and even pop. I studied music; it’s part of my identity to a point. I have a strange memory for song lyrics that spans many genres and decades. I still love live music, and have got three gigs lined up in the next couple of months. I’m not sure how easy I’ll find this playlist, but I’m quite looking forward to seeing how mixed it’ll be.
My Pick Me Up Playlist
So, now begins the trawl through my music collection to see what I’d class as ‘pick me up’. Some of my music is quite heavy so you may be surprised, but honestly, there’s nothing better than a good riff and imagining yourself in some sort of ridiculous sweaty circle pit, screaming along, crowd surfing, and inevitably losing important possessions.
DJ Shadow – Turf Dancing
I love DJ Shadow. He’s the one act I’ve been to see on my own (aside from at festivals). I don’t know anyone else who likes him, and I can’t remember how I stumbled upon his genius, but I did and I never looked back. This is one of my favourite of his songs. It’s quite difficult not to dance when it comes on, which is unfortunate if I’m out in public. The great thing about DJ Shadow is he’s amazing at crafting beats and samples together to create original songs, so everything always sounds different. This album uses quite a lot of guest vocalists. This song combines my white-girl enjoyment of rap with excellent production values and irresistible beats. I can’t really be sad when this is on, although I could be sad that I don’t have anyone to appreciate it with.
Billy Talent – Devil in A Midnight Mass
If you don’t like Billy Talent, I don’t like you. That’s not accurate at all, because a lot of people I know don’t like them, but still. They’re a band that I’ve been to see a few times, with my very good friends and with my partner. When I was younger, I assumed they weren’t heavy enough (I really strongly self-identified as a mosher) so just ignored them. FOOLISH, SILLY CHILD. I saw them at Download many moons ago, and realised how wrong I’d been. Their songs dance the borderline beautifully between listening when I’m sad or angry and ‘relating” to, and just wanting to party to with my friends. This is the latter. The opening riff is a beast. The interlude towards the end before it kicks back in is classic mosh pit material. Also, being Canadian, they always come across as a lovely bunch of chaps having a simply lovely time doing what they do. Bless.
Skindred – Warning
Skindred are another band I knew of but didn’t discover until a little later in life. Once again, many a sweaty evening has been spent with my best friends gleefully bouncing around to their back catalogue. Mainly at gigs, but we’ve been known to do it at parties as well. This is the song that, when performing, Skindred encourage the crowd to perform the now-legendary Newport Helicopter. Basically, take off an item of clothing, hold it aloft, and when the riff kicks back in you whirl it around your head like a loon. Participating in this is always fun, particularly at festivals when there are thousands of others joining in. I’ve said to my friends that if I ever get married this song will be played, and I will expect them all to Newport Helicopter with me. Imagining that always brings a smile to my face, as well as the other times my friends and I have recreated the Helicopter in our front rooms.
DMX – Party Up
This is an all-round banger, and serves a dual purpose of being relentlessly fun and catchy whilst reminding me of funny times and friends. I was a teenager when I first heard this song, and I’m pretty sure it was courtesy of my esteemed sister. Since then, it’s been a staple in the background. As an adult I always enjoy it on an ironic and completely non-ironic level. It reminds me of one of my friends. We frequently quote lyrics at each other and pretend that we’re cool. We aren’t. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on my face. For an extra bonus, consider searching for DMX’s version of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. That’s quite something and a particularly festive treat.
Missy Elliott – Get Ur Freak On
Back when I was a younger woman, I used to go out to ‘bars’ and ‘clubs’ and such. Me and my friends spent a lot of time in one particular establishment that largely played old alternative music, but I’d always ask for this song and nearly always got it played. Much as this is a total bop, I actually have a lot of time for Missy Elliott as a rapper and producer, and as a human. She has stupid tiny little dogs and always posts motivational things on Instagram like a babe. This song hasn’t aged at all, if anything, it’s got better. It’s just SO GOOD. It should be on everyone’s pick me up playlist. Well played, Missy. Well played.
Toto – Rosanna
Best. Song. Ever. I’m not sure how anyone could not like this song. It makes me want to be a sassy piano player, which, surprising as it may seem, I am not. I’m finding it difficult to write about why these songs are so good, but this one just is. It’s a classic. Having a pick me up playlist isn’t something I’ve thought of before, but next time I’m feeling a little down I’m going to blast this mother and see what happens.
Sum 41 – Still Waiting
When I was a teenaged mosher, I considered myself too cool to enjoy Sum 41. Oh, what a classic fool I was! Honestly, the best thing about being an old fart is I have absolutely no shame in my musical tastes any more. This is an excellent song. Mr Seeds and I enjoy a slice of Sum 41 every now and then, and this is a staple. We did, at one point, suggest that we could have it as a first dance. We’ve done that for a lot of songs. We aren’t even getting married. Based on this playlist, though, I think if we had a reception it’d be the best party ever. There’s something really endearing about Sum 41’s more ‘serious’ phase. They grew up a little, and this album has a couple of songs on it that are genuinely just really, really good. Songs like this, and several others I’ve already mentioned, allow me to tap into my inner teen angst like no one’s business.
Skylar Grey – Coming Home (Pt II)
This isn’t a particularly jolly song. Sometimes, though, you need to screech out some very bad singing to feel better. It’s great for that, let me tell you. I love Skylar Grey, I have a great admiration for her songwriting ability and her voice. It’s not typically ‘pick me up’ music, but music doesn’t always have to be perky to make you feel something. The music I listen to is fairly male-dominated, so having a few talented ladies in the mix is never a bad thing. Women like Skylar pen their anger and emotions in a very different way to some of the other music I listen to. It’s nice to have variety, so that’s why I’ve got a quieter, slower song on this list.
Slipknot – Spit It Out
Alright. So, again, as a misinformed youth I didn’t think Slipknot were all that great. As a reliably informed adult, though, I can safely say I’ve changed my mind. Slipknot are a great band. Yeah, there was some indulgence in shock tactics at the beginning of their career. That was the time, though. It doesn’t take away that they’re very talented musicians. In particular, Mr Corey Taylor. I love that dude. I chose Spit It Out because it’s one of my favourite songs of theirs, and reminds me of moshing in nightclubs despite being old enough to know better. I chose this version because it’s jolly as fuck. What more do you need?
Simple Minds – Don’t You Forget About Me
Eighties classic alert! I grew up with my parents listening to all sort of delights on tape in the car. The Beatles, The Kinks, The Animals, and, er, Simple Minds. A lot of other stuff, too. This song stands the test of time, and gets me all riled up with eighties goodness. We’ve all seen The Breakfast Club. We all want to walk around with our fists aloft as this song blares in the background. It’s a really well-crafted song, with just the right level of build up into a satisfying ending. It was actually the first Pitch Perfect film that caused this song to re-enter my collection, so thanks for that. I’m not sure what else to write that isn’t just a typed up version of me belting out the lyrics, so I’ll leave it there.
So, there you have it! My pick me up playlist. I didn’t plan this, I just did it as I went along which probably shows, but who cares? I could have written this next week and it’d have been totally different. I don’t give music enough credit for how it can improve my mood. I’m glad I’ve taken the time to think about it, and show you all how terrible my taste is.
Thanks again to Fiona for tagging me!