Sunday, March 07, 2010

11 inspiration songs (that you might not have heard before)

We've all got songs that make us feel like we want to get up and conquer the world, or at least get through one more day. Here are a few of mine. Some might be predictable, some you've probably forgotten about for 20 years, a couple might be cheesy, still others might be new and interesting to you. Watch and listen!

The Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition
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My newest inspiration - this reminds me of why my wife and I are doing all that we're doing together right now. We made a choice for our future and we're following through on it. "Won't stop till it's over. Won't stop to surrender."

Talk Talk - Life's What You Make It
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I remember this struck a nerve even way back in 1986, and I still feel the same when I hear it today. I grew up without a sense of entitlement, and always did pretty much everything my own way. For example, I dropped out of high school and moved to the midwest when I was 17. I worked at K-Mart on the overnight shift to pay the rent. Then I came back, went to NYU and got two degrees in film. You gotta trust the plan, man!

Whenever I feel I'm getting off track in my life, I listen to this song again and it sets me right.

Most of the music I listened to in the late 80's and early 90's was dark and depressing. This song kind of is too, but it was defiant in a way that most electronic music wasn't. "I'm never gonna do what you want me to" - so metal! I love that line, because you can apply it to EVERYTHING.

Warning for epilepsy sufferers - the next video will cause seizures.

Yeah yeah, but I was listening to Republica long before this song became a staple in between quarters at basketball games.

In the mid-90's, I was coming off what I can only describe today as a really, REALLY bad breakup. (It was more complicated than that, but I'm simplifying.) I lost basically all of my friends, and kinda lost my mind for a little while too. It was a dark, dark time and place for me. This song helped bring me back.

This song meant nothing to me until it came on the radio the first time I played Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. I was working at Rockstar Games at the time and helping play-test the game, even though that wasn't my job. When this song came on, I sort of just sat there, drove around a bit and took it all in. I felt like I was working on something important, something that would make a lasting impression on popular culture. I remember that feeling whenever I hear it today.

I almost didn't post this one - it's embarrassing. But it did (and does) get me going. We're all entitled to our guilty pleasures. I also first heard it while working at Rockstar (hence the special meaning of "hey now, you're a Rockstar" to me).

I first heard this during another dark time in my life, when I realized I was stuck in a corporate world with no obvious way out. I saw the rest of my life laid out before me and it was either give in and sell my soul or do something else. This song helped inspire me to make a dramatic change. "You know you're better than this."

This is my "everything's going to be ok" song. Even though that's pretty much the opposite of what it says... that's what it means to me.

These next few all relate to my and my wife's store, and how I feel about it.

This album came out just after the store opened, and this song perfectly illustrates how I feel about it. "We're not at the end but we've already won". I am very optimistic now.

A more defiant song, but it still makes me think of the store. There are a lot of forces actively working against us, and we are just pushing right through them. People who underestimate us are already learning that standing in our way is a mistake.

Hardly anybody knows it but this was the very first song we played in our store, on purpose. It described our customers and it also described us in a lot of ways. So we planned that ever since this album was released, and every time I heard it, it got me motivated to open the store - and now every time I hear it, I'm reminded of why we did it.

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About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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