For the last several years, I have been someone who’s gotten really into music. Playing my song of the week or the season is an instant mood booster, and waking up listening to a song stuck in my head is a fast way to get me out of bed.
For some #MondayMotivation, I thought I would share some songs that I keep returning to (and this is a better platform than sharing them in my Instagram stories). Some are old, some are new, all are special.
“Achilles Come Down” by Gang of Youths
Admittedly, I played this song for some friends a few weeks ago, and on minute three, they skipped it. (It’s seven minutes long.)
It has two-fold meaning: written by the Australian band Gang of Youths (I love both the band name and the song title), it’s the story of Achilles (yes, from the infamous Trojan War and the one with a foot problem) grieving over his beloved Patroclus (apparently). Achilles is considering suicide by throwing himself off a roof. In parallel, this is the songwriter’s ballad to himself when he was considering suicide.
You are absent of cause or excuse
So self-indulgent and self-referential
No audience could ever want you
You crave the applause, yet hate the attention
Then miss it, your act is a ruse
It is empty, Achilles, so end it all now
It’s a pointless resistance for you”
The song builds as two sides of the psyche fight: one to live, one to jump.
2. Caves by Gregory Alan Isakov
I found this song when I let Youtube play one too many songs. When this song came on, I walked over to my computer to listen to it.
There is so much imagery and so many metaphors in this song. As someone on Youtube commented RE: the chords, “The passion. It’s like an orgasm. At the end you don’t know if you achieved it or not or if you’ll ever achieve it again. It just keeps building and building and you don’t know if you’ll ever reach what you’re grasping for.”
Now think alike birds
See 'em fly from St. Paul
And I go running when the night aches
Hear her every time she calls
3. “Bought It” by Middle Kids
Just listen. I mean, listen to all of these. But I discovered this song in March when I was getting over about two, maybe three people (whoops), and it spoke so earnestly then and still does.
Oh dear, you saw me on a night
When I was pissed and I tried to act alright
Smooth talking, I'm not sure you bought it
So I'm crawling to the nearest exit
4. “Walden Pond” by Atta Boy
True story, I discovered this song last week, and it was what moved me to compile this list. This song is from 2012, and the band hasn’t released another album since. Tragedy!
I don’t know what Walden Pond is, though I know there’s a Peter Fonda/Katharine Hepburn film called “On Walden Pond,” which struck me as pretty idyllic, and I think this is a reference
And I hope you treat your heart real nice and real smart.
May your life be a Walden Pond swim.
5. “Horny Hippies” by the Dodos
Disclosure: the words “Horny Hippies” appear not once in this song. This song is beautiful, it is everything, and I relate so much to the following story encapsulated.
‘Cause you can go out and meet some girl you can't defeat
And you think that she must be the one
Until you're walking down the aisle and she takes away your smile
Oh, and the chorus:
Oh you should stay in your home, in your home, in your home
6. “Blushing” by Ball Park Music
Another Australian band! This song is a breakup song, but from the “perpetrator’s” perspective. Basically, I interpret is as someone breaking up with someone because they’re no longer interested and they recognize their lack of passion and how it’s hurting the other (“You shouldn’t have to feel this way,” the band croons). CAN’T RELATE.
And I don't find you interesting now
It's too much time spent f*cking you around
It's nothing like I thought that it could be
It's nothing more than an exhilarating scene
With no one there to watch it
7. “I Love You” by Ezra Bell
Spoiler: this ain’t no typical “I love you.” It’s more a lament and possibly an “I love you” to oneself - perhaps expressed by a friend or perhaps by a former, maybe current, lover. For those familiar with the Enneagram ( a personality diagnostic similar to Myers Briggs), this is definitely a “remember to love yourself” song to an Enneatype 3.
You'll remember that night in the orchard,
Barefoot with breath in your lungs,
And you said all these trees came from such tiny seeds,
And you held out your arms as you spun,
Like a dervish, a dancer, a dreamer, my friend,
You're as beautiful now as I thought you were then
8. “Waste of Time” by Alex the Astronaut
This is my anthem. My anthem, I say!
I’ve been racing all my life
For some unholy prize
And I don’t care about it
Making everybody proud
Looking up and running round
And it wears me out
So wake up late
And let’s take our time
Drink tequila with too much lime
Because lately I’ve come to find that all I want
is one incredible waste of time
9. “Backpack” by Alex Lahey
I discovered this song in February right before leaving Richmond (and a week before the song above, “Waste of Time”). This is a song for the wanderlust from the wanderlust to the wanderlust.
I know life's too short to settle down
And you move faster than the world spins 'round
It's hard for me to put my arms around you
When your backpack's on
10. “Someone New” by Mara Connor and Langhorne Slim
An almost perfect breakup post-breakup song because no breakup is perfect. It captures the feels of seeing an ex that you think you’re over, but you know you’re not over, but you’re also in denial. At least that’s what it means to me.
Suck out the poison, boy, you’ve still been bit,
Pull out the arrow but you’ve still been hit
And this hole that you left just won’t fill
11. “It’s Not You, It’s Me” by Coconut Records
Title says it all.
Back by demand,
Do whatever you can,
You look older, I can tell by your hands,
Drinks only gin, says it's how to keep thin,
And she's crying after every meal,
Lord, you don't know how you're making me feel
12. “Twilight Driving” by Methyl Ethel
I am obsessed with this band (also Australian! I need to go down under just for the music!). I love many of their songs, but this is the one I’ve decided to highlight. Runner-ups are “No. 28” and “Scream Whole.”
Why this song? First of all, they reference kangaroos!
Twilight drivin’, gotta watch out for the ’roos
But also this mood:
Well it's the early morning, baby,
I said "Why don't you hit the snooze?"
I take two coffees for my breakfast
And I hope for some real news
Well, it's the early morning baby
And I only wanna be with you
There, we made it to number 12! Let me know which is your favorite in the comments or if you think I have the worst music taste (I won’t believe you). Also, I’d love readers’ recommendations for new song.
And, eventually, I’ll stop playing all these songs and listen to the podcast recommendations everyone gives me.