“Try something personal and new” That is what I told myself when I wrote sat down to write this article. So, what is more personal than an emotional list? Here I have curated a list of only 9 songs. The reason for not rounding off to a classic Top 10 is because I want you to comment, which song you would add to the list!
The purpose of the list is to share with you a little insight to my personal musical taste. These are the actual songs I use when needing an extra lift, smile, boost or motivation. So, at times of sad news or a hard work out in the gym, these songs tend to appear amongst others the most.
Musical taste is so personal, I simply need to let these stand by them so feel free to create your own.
If you like them, then great – I have created a dedicated YouTube playlist just for them. Let me know in the comments which ones you like, do not like or prefer to listen to instead, that’s how we get to know each other a little better. So, here is my open list – what’s on yours?
1. Scott Stapp - 'With Arms Wide Open'
Scott is the lead singer from Creed and has had a mixed solo career. The stripped down version here is authentic, raw and the words resonate with my own emotions at such a life changing point in time. Humble, honest, raw and powerful – perfect when trying to get through the last set of 12 reps on the weights.
2. Editors - A Ton of Love at Glastonbury 2013
A band that for me is under rated within their home nation but well supported across mainland Europe. Their performances over many years continue to be in high demand at festival season. Editors always capture my soul and bring a touch of optimism in any situation. This song, A Ton of Love is at the UK’s most famous festival and shows them in their prime with great support.
A ton of love has lyrics that resonate with me and is executed with some great pure rock power – great for those tough days when you simply need a boost and lift.
3. Public Image Limited - Rise (Live)
Be prepared for a stretch of your ears with this performance. I grew up as a kid with glam rock until Punk Rock came and shattered the scene. The Sex Pistols had a huge impact on my musical taste and to this day no doubt influence one of the reasons for my desire of self-dependency. John Lydon left the Sex Pistols after their implosion and formed this band. Rise is a song that tells a personal story for him and I must confess to thinking “anger is energy” even in heated debates. The song helps deliver drive and stamina to my actions. Enjoy the song especially if you are running up a tough hill.
4. David Gray – Shine
Some performers are very special. For me, David Gray is music and not just a musician. I have had the pleasure to have seen his live performances a few times and he remains in a special class of talented individuals that lets the music come through his mind, body, soul, words and expressions. He has a tremendous ability to change the structure and performances of the same song in new ways – my guess as much to keep him exploring his song as for the sheer love of it.
Shine is a great message to let you realize things must change. Yet the change no matter how hard should be sought in a mutual positive outcome manner. This undertone can be a great personal reminder not just for personal relationships, but with products, services, career, study and habits.
5. Lisa Hannigan - I Don't Know
The first time I saw Lisa Hannigan perform was on the BBC show Jools Holland. Her performance was special on many levels a mixture of quiet confidence, openness, talent and pure life. This version of her song is recorded in a coffee shop, it epitomizes the whole song. The song is written as a love and infatuation song, yet for me I take it as a song to help remain curious and willing to learn something new about any subject matter and life.
6. Elbow - One Day Like This
Music is a personal experience and so how nice it is see someone you love perfectly connect with a song you can make your own. My wife and I saw Elbow a couple of years ago after enjoying several of their albums. This song stands tall in its message and ability to raise a smile on most the face of most people. This specific song holds dear memories of the concert we shared together watching Elbow perform, so when I am celebrating this is a song I reach for. The lyrics remind us to appreciate what we have and celebrate the good things around us.
7. My Morning Jacket on Letterman June 8 2006
Excellence and success can be summed up in a special moment. This band has a mixed level of emotional connection to my brain, heart and soul yet this specific performance stands very special above most performances I have ever seen. I do not doubt I have just raised the bar too high for you but the aim of this article has been to be very personal. When I first saw this performance on YouTube I was simply taken aback. A perfect pinnacle live performance from My Morning Jacket that lists my spirit, emotional state and motivation. During and after listening to this performance I feel I can do almost anything... (Which song does that for you?)
So, enjoy the roller coaster of a majestic classic sound backing and a power rock mix in this performance.
8. James Blunt - You're Beautiful [Live from Ibiza]
There are many things that have been said about James Blunt and this song. Indeed he has become a true victim of his own success. You see similar stories with friends, colleagues, family members that are known for that one great thing they have done and the people criticize or become jealous. Well, James Blunt is an outstanding performer, artist, witty and intelligent. His boldness of choice to break out into the music industry and pursue his dream is one we see also today in another hard working performer like the great Ed Sheeran.
This song smashed the global charts and made James Blunt and instant “overnight success” story. Yet he still performs great music and has grown as an artist. I love this song for what it is – a simply great message of love and what might have been. Choices in life create who and what we are, the reflections on the choices and opportunities in life also shape our character.
9. Damien Rice – Cannonball
So here is number 9 on my playlist. I saved Damien for this number as it is also the name of his second album. This specific performance and song shows the power and contrast of learning through life. Here stands one person armed only with their talent, guitar and emotions – the rest you need to discover for yourself. – Enjoy or endure.
So what song would you add to complete a top 10 playlist? Which songs resonate with you that are here or the ones on your own personal list? Drop me a comment and I look forward to exploring the suggestions you make.
About the author –
James Doyle is the founder of JAMSO.
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