10 Songs for getting you through January
Music to fill that January shaped void.
January is awful. Just awful. My birthday’s in January and I still wish we could just skip over it. It’s freezing. It’s dark. Christmas is over and spring is distant. Maybe you’re trying to put your New Year’s resolutions into action. I don’t make them myself because it feels like setting a deadline for self-disappointment. I’ve accepted myself just as I am: a monolingual dilettante with a burrito loyalty card (to Chimi’s. It is near completion). I always feel that the best way to drag oneself through January is with a cheery tune. In all honesty, part of me never grew out of the emo phase, so I might not be great at this. Also, music is so subjective that you might hate everything here. Unless you like men with delicate, high-pitched voices. In that case, you’re going to love these first few songs:
1. Nothing’severgonnastandinmyway (Again)- Wilco
No, my space bar did not just break, although Microsoft Word wants to murder me now. The title really does have no spaces, because these 3 and a half-ish minutes of Americana are unstoppable! Like you! Not even grammar can hold you back!
2. Whose Authority- Nada Surf
The music video makes me happy, as well as slightly frightened and annoyed by the cyclist’s lack of helmet and occasional reckless riding. But let’s leave that aside and focus on the freedom and happiness in the video. Without forgetting that we’re all happier when wearing a helmet.
3. Here Comes Your Man- Pixies
Maybe your hopes for the New Year don’t include being picked up by some guy, so just think of ‘your man’ as a metaphor. Ignore the bit about falling and breaking your skull. It’s ok: ‘your man’ is coming for you. That sounded threatening. I’m sorry.
4. Concrete Schoolyard- Jurassic 5
This has a nice nostalgic, summery sound. Also the lyrics are about being better than everyone else, so it’s like doing self-affirmation exercises, except you’re not staring at yourself in the mirror and crying. Well, ok, the lyrics are actually about how the members of Jurassic 5 are better than everyone else. Just imagine that you’re the forgotten member of the group. Maybe a backing dancer or something.
5. This is the Day- The The
‘This is the day your life will surely change / This is the day when things fall in to place’. Now that’s a nice sentiment from a band whose name confuses me, despite its apparent simplicity. Does one pronounce the word ‘the’ differently if it’s repeated? Is it said as ‘thuh thuh’, ‘thee thuh’, ‘thuh thee’ or ‘thee thee’? How do you even pronounce the word ‘the’? Have I been doing it wrong forever? Stop thinking about it, you’re only going to feel bad about yourself.
6. Marrakesh Express- Crosby, Stills, and Nash
Well, it’s always nice to listen to songs about warmer countries.
7. Alone Again Naturally- Gilbert O’Sullivan
HEAR ME OUT. Yes, this is probably the most depressing song ever, but who says motivational music has to be happy? This works in the opposite way: no matter how bad you’re feeling, somewhere in this world, Gilbert O’Sullivan is feeling worse. Sometimes listening to a song about things being awful puts life in to perspective: ‘Ok, so I haven’t used that gym membership, but at least no one’s jilted me at the altar lately’. If they have, and I’ve just brought up some bad feelings, I’m sorry. I’m also not suggesting that you should rejoice in the sorrow of others.
8. Happy House- Siouxsie Sioux and the Banshees
Now, if you ignore the fact that this seems to be about a terrifying Orwellian prison of enforced joy, isn’t it delightfully cheery? It goes to show how important a positive outlook is. ‘It never rains… We’re all quite sane… There is no hell’. I for one choose to feel reassured. ‘I’m looking through your window’? Supportively.
9. Sledgehammer- Peter Gabriel
As well as being such a feel-good tune, this has one of the best music videos ever. Although the lyrics are a tad surreal, the overall message (as I choose to interpret it) seems to be that if you just make the space for it, you can have whatever you want. In the song this includes ‘steam trains’, ‘big dippers’, and ‘aeroplanes’. If these weren’t on your wish list, let’s stick with seeing them as metaphors.
10. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)- Simon and Garfunkel
This sounds like 2 minutes of an absolutely fantastic trip. I don’t think there is anything negative about this song. There’s only one minor chord, and it’s a minor 7, which is the happiest of the minor chords. (This statement has a nodding acquaintance at best with music theory).