November in Music
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Hey everyone! Ali here. I’m really excited to be testing out a new feature with you all here today — a monthly music playlist! Music is one of my favorite things in the world, and I have wanting to share more of that with you on the blog. So my friend, Sarah, and I are teaming up to try out creating some monthly playlists for the blog. The are completely free to you through Spotify (download their web app if you haven’t already, or pay for their phone app). Spotify does pay musicians, but if you like the songs listed here, we would suggest you buy their albums which will pay and support them even more.
Every November, it happens: My social media streams start to be crowded with daily gratitude posts. I’m not complaining. I love the positivity that floods my feeds during the Month of Thanksgiving. But if you’ve ever tried to make a commitment to being grateful, even just once a day in public, you know it’s not as easy as those cheerful posts make it look. It takes constant mental vigilance to seek out the good in this sometimes messy life. It takes pluck, perseverance and persistence. It takes A Playlist.
Music has been my go-to tool when I need to adjust my attitude or change emotional channels. So I decided to curate a collection of songs that would get me in the mood for gratitude, that could get my endorphins going, prompt me to be positive, and encourage my quest to be grateful.
Some of these songs have a more literal link to that goal. Frightened Rabbit‘s “Oil Slick” tells the story of a writer who has trouble crafting un-cynical songs. I can relate. I’ve been in darker places in my life when I was more likely to see the clouds than the brightness behind them. And the song doesn’t pretend that making a shift to the sunny is easy. Instead it builds to a bridge that proclaims:
There is light but there’s a tunnel to crawl through
There is love but misery loves you
We’ve still got
Hope so I think we’ll be fine
In these disastrous times, disastrous times
The song acknowledges the difficulty of living a life that looks toward light while hinting—through words, melody and rhythm—that it’s worth it. And notice that use of “we”? Cultivating thankful attitudes is easier done in community than alone…and much easier done with a big crowd of people dancing and fist-pumping and singing along to “Oil Slick,” I’ve gotta say. Go see this band live, if you can.
The other songs on the list range from more direct allusions to living a grateful life (“Beautiful Day,” “Days Like This”) to more oblique musical cues to positivity (“Wake Up,” “Perth”). I tried out these 21 songs by listening to them on repeat in a fluorescent-lit office on a very grey Monday with a loooooong to-do list…and I can report that they worked. I got up to get my lunch and idly thought, “Why do I feel so calm and positive and thankful right now?” Oh. The Playlist.
I hope they work for you, too.
What are your favorite songs this month? Do you have any songs about thankfulness to add to the list?