My Empowered Playlist

(This post got lost in my drafts. I’m still going to share it though.)

music is art

One of my bucket list goals of 2016 was to make a youtube playlist of all the songs I found personally empowering. I wanted to memorize those songs so I could repeat the lyrics like mantras when I heard the melody in my head. I believe that what you tell yourself in your mind does heavily affect how you see yourself and process your life, so I wanted to give myself some musical tools to battle my own self-destruction. Considering I am a VERY musically-driven soul, I felt this would be a creative and personally empowering way to help rewire what I tell myself.

These are some of my favorite songs from that playlist.

 

Rise by Selena Gomez

At first, this melody didn’t do anything for me, but I only had to listen to the lyrics to change my mind. I remember riding my bike in the crisp winter night air over the gently rolling hills of the neighborhood park when I first discovered this: it made me feel like I was actually flying! It lifted my spirits as I listened to uplifting emotions and the rhythm made my feet pedal even when my legs were screaming on the fifth, sixth, seventh loop down that hill. This song has become a happy place for me.

Like the air you can
Rise from the rubble with your mind, you can hover
You can rise like the tide, like the heat it in the summer
Yes, I know there are those who will wanna bring you down
But you can rise with your mind and make your higher power proud
You can rise, like the air you can rise

Rise by Katy Perry

Another song by this title, but wow it’s so powerful in another way. Katy truly gives voices to survivors, to the ones who feel the heaviness of being beaten down yet keep getting up, who continue to try. I really love how dark this song sounds and yet how empowering the words are. One of my favorite combinations in these types of songs.

Oh, ye of so little faith
Don’t doubt it, don’t doubt it
Victory is in my veins
I know it, I know it
And I will not negotiate
I’ll fight it, I’ll fight it
I will transform

Alive by Sia

You will find a lot of Sia on this list. Her songs are some of the rawest and empowering I’ve yet to find. “Alive” is a personal favorite, one that I listened to a lot early last year when I was biking to school. Its steady beat physically drove me to better fitness while the sound of a real fighter was in lyrics and vocal work. “I’m still breathing” followed by the joyful, almost vengeful cry of “I’m alive” seemed stolen right from my heart. This song made me want to keep trying, keep recovering, to keep breathing. The fighter in me who is so happy to just still be alive. “You took it all but I’m still breathing”–that there is my heartbeat. ❤

The Greatest by Sia

In my humble opinion, Sia has some of the best lyrics and musical sound right now in modern music. So much of her music is truly uplifting, while still satisfying my need for the minor key to present in melody, as you can hear in this song. Between the music and the lyrics, this is magic for me emotionally and mentally. I love the positive chants left to echo in my mind. I love how the song is not “I AM the greatest” in a prideful way, but is rather saying “I’m FREE to be the greatest” as in almost giving oneself permission to blossom into something you can’t even comprehend. ❤

Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no
Don’t give up, I won’t give up
Don’t give up, no no no
I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive
I’m free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest
The greatest, the greatest alive
The greatest, the greatest alive

Unstoppable by Sia

Never tell yourself you’re worthless. Empower yourself instead. While God is the one that gives us the strength to keep fighting, I want to give myself the mental edge in thinking such powerful thoughts as this song gives. ❤

I’m unstoppable
I’m a Porsche with no brakes
I’m invincible
Yeah, I win every single game
I’m so powerful
I don’t need batteries to play
I’m so confident, yeah, I’m unstoppable today
Unstoppable today, unstoppable today
Unstoppable today, I’m unstoppable today

Hold Tight by Madonna

This is a very personal choice of a song. It’s more something I’ve come to rely on after I left my boyfriend behind for the first time in May. I had a lot of fear being so far apart; but one thing I knew: I really loved him and he loved me. I wanted to hold tight to that. For me personally, this song took the words out of my heart for him, and yet also reassured me the more I listened to it. That I recognized my confidence in us and our love for each other. Thousands of miles couldn’t stop it and this song still helps remind and uplift me even now.

A million miles later, we walked through the valley of the darkest night
We made it through the fire, scarred and we’re bruised but our hearts will guide us.
Together, I know our love’s gonna last forever, we’re gonna be alright tonight.
We live with no limits, we’ll dance in the middle of a freezing rain
With you and I in it, we’ll survive the eye of a hurricane.
Together, we’re gonna make this better, we’re gonna be alright tonight.
Hold tight, as long as your by my side.
Hold tight, everything’s gonna be alright.
Only love, only love tonight
Like stars we’re burning so bright,
Hold tight everything’s gonna be alright.

Stand By You by Rachel Platten

This song brings me to tears because the words feel ripped right from my heart to all who I call a friend or hold dear, and who hold me dear in return. It’s less a personal mantra on self and more a mantra about how one wants to treat those they love. I heard this a year ago and singing its lyrics have always helped me express how much love and empathy I have in my heart for those around me and it encourages and empowers those feelings.

Hands, put your empty hands in mine
And scars, show me all the scars you hide
And hey, if your wings are broken
Please take mine so yours can open too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Oh, tears make kaleidoscopes in your eyes
And hurt, I know you’re hurting, but so am I
And love, if your wings are broken
Borrow mine so yours can open too
‘Cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we’re breaking down, we can find a way to break through
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’m gonna stand by you
Even if we can’t find heaven, I’ll walk through hell with you
Love, you’re not alone, ’cause I’m gonna stand by you

Hall of Fame by The Script

This is actually a long time favorite of mine, so it was less of a “discovery” and more a song I just couldn’t leave off my list. This is the definition of a classic uplifting song, from the major chord to the empowering “you can do it” like chanting. Its almost cheesy, something you’d hear in the climax of a feel-good movie maybe. But hey, we all need a cheesy movie moment, where we’re Rocky Balboa at the top of the stairs feeling like we can do anything. This my song for those moments.

You can throw your hands up
You can beat the clock
You can move a mountain
You can break rocks
You can be a master
Don’t wait for luck
Dedicate yourself and you gon’ find yourself
Standing in the hall of fame (yeah)
And the world’s gonna know your name (yeah)
‘Cause you burn with the brightest flame (yeah)
And the world’s gonna know your name (yeah)
And you’ll be on the walls of the hall of fame

Just like Fire by P!nk

I had nearly forgotten this song till later into the year when I heard the lyrics on the radio. A family relative recently described memories of child me as “a ball of fire.” And honestly remembering, it’s a great description. As a kid, I had so little that held me back. I lived life loudly, boldly, unafraid to express every bit of emotion and thought in my mind. I was just like fire. Besides maturing since then, I’ve been smothered a lot too, through fear and depression and insecurities of all sorts. But I really want to get back to being like a ball of fire again. So, I’ll keep singing this song to myself to I’m finally who I was made to be. Cause no one can be just like me anyway.

Just like fire, burning out the way
If I can light the world up for just one day
Watch this madness, colorful charade
No one can be just like me any way
Just like magic, I’ll be flying free
I’mma disappear when they come for me
I kick that ceiling, what you gonna say?
No one can be just like me any way
Just like fire, uh

Before I end this, I just want to pose a question for everyone to think about quietly to themselves: What are the words and lyrics you allow into your head and why? I don’t think there’s a wrong answer to that question. I just think it’s a great question. ❤

~Jamie

The ABC Challenge || “R”

pop/contemporary

Roar by Katy Perry. This song has SO MUCH meaning to me. Definitely, hands down an all time favorite. It’s my anthem; it’s what I strive to do more and more every day: roar. The first chorus especially summarizes my past, which makes it feel even more personal. But it’s such an empowering, triumphant song! I love it!

Rise by Selena Gomez. DANG Selena has been putting out quality songs lately. This is one of my favorite uplifting songs from her. The music style is awesome, and the lyrics are just amazing. I loved biking around the park to this song in the dark late at night; I felt like I was floating and it kept my muscles going. I just love this song so much.

Remember the Time by Michael Jackson. I didn’t grow up listening to his music, but I remember seeing the original music video playing in a Carls Jr and it caught my attention. I thoroughly educated myself on Michael Jackson afterward and after listening to his music I definitely think he deserves the fame he has. This is one of my very favorite songs by him; i love dance power it exudes.

Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Ahhhhhhh, I really like this song. I heard in the Scream film franchise (a movie series I FLIPPING LOVE) and it made me fiercely love this song. I love tempo and darkness and playful edge. ❤

soundtrack

The RV Park from Bolt. I remember friends lending me their copy of the Bolt OST a long long time ago; and while there were many great themes, I flipping loved this one the most. It’s even inspired very specific book scenes from my novels. I LOVE the playfulness, slight mysteriousness, and then that romp of adventure at the very end.

independent/instrumental

Rise of a Kingdom by Brunuhville. I sure do love my fantasy music. Here’s an excellent track with excellent throwbacks to medieval ancient times through harpsichord, percussion, and recorder. I love the tinkling, dangerous bit of the piano at 2:10. It takes my breath away.

alternative

Renegade from Gangsta. RENEGAAAAAAADE, ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS OF ALL TIME, JUST HECK YESSSSSSS. This energized dubstep/electro song is one of my favorite pump songs, especially when I remember what a great story and characters “Gangsta” had when I watch the synched animation. ❤

The River Sings by Enya. This is a looooooong time favorite of my from Enya’s selection and it’s paired perfectly with some Lord of the Rings footage. I’ve listened to this song a repeat since I was maybe fifteen, and I’m twenty-two now. It’s so atmospheric, hopeful and even dark at the exact same time.

Royal Road, Paradise by Susumu Hirasawa. ONE OF MY FAVORITE SONGS FROM ONE OF MY FAVORITE COMPOSERS. It’s so creepy and unsettling; Hirasawa’s vocal work is wonderful here; he can use such emotion and reach such wonderful notes when he sings. I feel so much even though I can’t understand Japanese. I love how it starts off more brooding and settled; then at 2:19 IT ESCALATES DRAMATICALLY. It’s pounding and soulful and urgent. IT’S FREAKING AMAZING.

musicals

Rock Island from The Music Man. It’s the first song from this wonderful classic; my sister had it memorized at one point. It’s one of the most unique songs I’ve ever heard in a musical, and just PLAIN FUN. I’ve never seen a movie, musical or not, give such a great set up to its film in such a creative way. ❤ The Music Man is just the best. ❤

~Jamie

ABC Challenge || “M”

pop/contemporary

Move Your Body by Sia. I just love Sia so much; her songs are just so memorable and powerful to me. This is another one of my biking songs, too. Such a great tempo and beat!! ❤

Me & My Girls by Selena Gomez. This is such a unique song from Selena Gomez and it sounds so raw and teasing and fun. I love her Spanish origins coming through in this song; it makes me want to go wild with a bunch of a good girlfriends for the night.

Magnets by Lorde. At one point I couldn’t stop listening to this song; the beat and tempo are RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING. I absolutely love beats Lorde can create in her songs.

soundtrack

A Man For All Seasons Theme from A Man For All Seasons. This is actually a really good film and I remember being really spellbound by the music a child for whatever the reason. I just really love this theme; the harpsichord is just beautiful; it’s so haunting and medieval.

Mirror’s Edge Theme from Solar Fields. I WROTE A SHORT STORY TO THIS SOUNDTRACK. I love it so much. It really gave me the underwater vibe I was needing to immerse myself into the dreamscape setting I was writing. Just so beautiful and airy!

Makoto Kowata from Flying Witch. Screw this anime for actually being so enjoyable. This has become one of my favorite relaxing, comfort songs! Beautiful piano, guitar, and flute! ❤

independent/instrumental

Merchant Prince by Thomas Bergerson. Hands down one of my favorite songs of all time. I generally don’t care of slow songs, but this one builds up to a epic finale and I’ve never grown tired of it in over five years of listening to it. Just a pure epicness.

Morrigan by Adrian von Ziegler. I love how this song starts off more steady and soft, and then swells into more rhythm adventure/quest/mountain conquering like music with the swell in tempo and instrument usage. Such a rich, dark celtic song. Also the bird cry throughout is a fantastic addition and adds excellent atmosphere.

alternative

Misbehavin’ by Pentatonix. This song is actually very personal to me; the words hold a lot of meaning to my personal life and my personality and stance on loyalty. Besides this just being a really enjoyable song by PTX, its just a incredibly relevant song to me. I love songs like that! <3<3<3

Meadowland by Amethystium. I remember the first time I heard this when it began on Pandora and I loved it immediately! Just UGH. I LOVE IT.

Mama by EXO. Hands down on the best KPop songs ever, at least in my book. Everything about this music video and song is stellar. I love the unique monk-like chanting throughout especially. This is such a powerful song with POWERFUL vocal work and it’s just amazing to listen to. Everything else is just fantastic: sets, costumes, dancing, special effects, power. Just wow. ❤ In so many ways, Kpop blows western music videos WAY out of the water.

musicals

Maria from The Sound of Music. Classic. Classic. Classic. My childhood. Ugh. I can still sing this without missing a beat. Ugh. Just classic.

Marian the Librarian from The Music Man. Ahhhhh this musical. And this song is great; sadly I can’t find a good full version; in its entirety there is some AMAZING choreography with the dance number, but the song by itself is almost just as good.

~Jamie

 

ABC Challenge || “H”

pop/contemporary

The Heart Wants What it Wants by Selena Gomez. I wrote AN ENTIRE BOOK to this song because I just loved the sound of it so much. Plus the emotions matched exactly; utter heartbreak and angst. Selena’s voice is just beautiful in this song and you can hear the pain in her voice. ❤

Hold Tight by Madonna. I LOVE the tempo and rhythm work in this song, just wow I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It’s also incredibly similar to Gwen Stefani’s Baby Don’t Lie, which I adore to death. So I really appreciate having a similar sounding song to listen to. However, I really love Hold Tight’s lyrics; I personally really connect with the message so that just makes it extra special.

soundtrack

Hide and Seek from Finding Dory. I’m just really in love with Thomas Newman’s music in Finding Nemo and Finding Dory. I love this playful track! Love that pizzicato!

Hyouri from Bakemonogatari. I’ve also shared this song before, but I will just never get over how haunting it is. I also wrote much of my book to this song while on repeat. So dangerous and delicate sounding all at once.

independent/instrumental

The Hooded Man by Peter Gundry. Breathless and haunting and mysterious; The Hooded Man is the perfect name for this song. I love the vocal work, the delicate harps, the strings; it’s just very haunting and beautiful!

alternative

Happiness by NeedToBreathe. I was literally only just introduced to this song two days ago, but I’m so happy I can include it! Definitely one of the best songs I could include in this song!! Utterly addicting, excellent tempo and rhythm, and fantastic chorus work! Just wow, I love it!

Heartbeat by Beckah Shea. Here’s another song I’ve listened to religiously while racing to get to class on time on my bike. Tempo and interesting percussion work, you might have noticed, is often very important to me and often one of my hooks to giving songs a full listen through. This has a VERY STRONG percussion and tempo and when I running late and trying to make a bus, I’d flip this song and start riding as fast as I could. The song kept my stamina and pedalling up as long as I remembered to breathe right. XD

musicals

The Hairbrush Song from VeggieTales. Haha, I just had to. XD

Hakuna Matata from The Lion King. IT’S SO CLASSIC. HOW CAN I NOT SHARE THIS. #childhoodagain.

~Jamie

Good for You by Selena Gomez

I’m head over heels IN LOVE with Selena’s latest album from last year. I love so many songs, so many are full of encouraging messages too (I’ll be sharing more of my favorites in the future!) But today I wanna share the first that I heard and loved, “Good for You.” This is one of those songs that I madly wrote one of my novels to all last summer; sensual, airy, warm, the hip-hop/electro vibe is incredibly up my alley. I also just recently clicked with even the lyrics, so I love this song a lot!