Whenever times are tough we can turn to music. It’s always there, whatever the situation. Our writers have written about the tunes they turn to, to move them forward
‘Life During Wartime’ – Talking Heads
A song that moves you forward’ could be interpreted in many ways, and I’ve chosen it to be the song that makes me literally move forward. ‘Life During Wartime’, and specifically the live version from Stop Making Sense, has such a visceral and violent groove than you can’t help but move when it’s on. Listening to Life During Wartime is a surefire way to make me end up at my destination in half the time I’ve allowed myself to walk there.
‘Schedules’ – Sigrid
A fun and funky song, today’s pick is more lighthearted. Filled with a sense of motivation that inspires me to move forward in the most literal sense, it’s the perfect soundtrack for running. Great in headphones or played out loud, the song is a reminder not to get too tied down when life is hectic; just go with the flow and see where the path takes you. It may seem like there’s never a right time for anything, but if you take a leap of faith you never know where you might end up.
‘This Year’ – The Mountain Goats
Cheesy article alert, but it is what it is. No doubt, this song got me through the summer of 2019. I was unsure about a lot of things. Unsure whether I’d get the grades to meet my conditional offer to Newcastle (I managed AAAB, so that worked out), unsure whether I’d actually be able to go, unsure of a lot of things in life, unsure whether it was even worth it to fight through, but when I heard this absolute bop it spoke to me, and the mantra ” I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me” became my own. It gave me motivation I desperately wish I had right now. The songs about being 17 and ending high school, which was the exact position I was in then, which somehow made it hit harder. It doesn’t seem to stir me up anymore, but for one summer, this song moved me forward. The song itself is a classic Mountain Goats folk rock tune, and wildly popular. For good reason, I guess.
‘Got to Keep On’ – The Chemical Brothers
Another selection I struggled with, but ‘Got to Keep On’ is a song that resonates with me. Taken from the Chemical Brothers’ latest album, No Geography, the song reminds me of revising for my summer exams last year and having that feeling of having to plough on no matter how difficult a set of circumstances you’re facing. The mixture of sounds and voices in the song adds to its suspense, but the message remains the same- you’ve got to keep on, and I think this is an important thing to bear in mind currently during this global pandemic.
‘Stay Positive’ – The Streets
Despite increased focus on the area in the last few years there are still very few working class male voices talking honestly and openly about mental health. But Mike Skinner was doing just that fifteen years ago. ‘Stay Positive’, from The Streets’ seminal album ‘Original Pirate Material’, is an unflinchingly honest portrayal of mental health and addiction. It holds no bars in depicting the grim reality of these issues whilst empowering people going through them by emphasising the strength it takes to live through it. The lyrics are amongst my favourite of all time, they remove all shame by stressing the ubiquity of mental health problems and really give you the strength to front up and scrap your way through whatever’s going on. When I’m struggling it’s one of my go to songs to help me get out of bed and try to get through the day and despite it being written years before the dialogue on mental health became common it’s one of my favourite depictions of the issue in any form of art or media.
‘Walk’ – Foo Fighters
Another Foo Fighters song for me- I’m acutely aware that my 30 day challenge may have been one of the more repetitive, but ‘Walk’ is a track that is perfect for day 22. This is a song about refusing to stagnate and, as Dave Grohl puts it, “learning to walk again”, making it one that keeps me moving forward. It kicks off with a gradual crescendo that lasts for just over a minute, before giving way to Grohl’s weighty vocals, a searing guitar sound and Taylor Hawkins’ signature frenetic drumming. The music and lyrics work so well together, providing the kind of energy and inspiration that can pick someone up from the deepest of holes. I can’t help but feel revitalised after listening to this song, and as such, it is the obvious choice for today.
‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ – Crowded House
Honestly, I couldn’t really explain why I picked this song as one that keeps me moving forwards, it just does. A beautiful song about not quite knowing where you are at but not giving up. Literally about not dreaming that it’s over. Crowded House has won various awards, many for this song, with it once being described as a ‘Majestic Ballad’. The song was recently covered by Ariana Grande and Miley Cyrus during the One Love Manchester, using it’s strong message of not giving up and just keeping moving forward as a symbol of the strength and unity of people.
‘Ready for More’- Sea Girls
Sea Girls are a band that I’ve been following for just over a year now and are fast becoming stars of the indie scene. I had a chance to speak to them for NSR last year just before their meteoric rise and they fast became one of my favourite bands. ‘Ready for More’ is arguably their best track yet. Henry Camamile’s writing really shines here, talking about the passing of time and anticipating the fast paced nature of life. ‘Ready for More’ is Sea Girls’ powerful statement of intent, with its sweeping choruses and sweet vocals cementing their place firmly in the spotlight. This opening track from their recent Under Exit Lights EP, while reflective, is a song which undoubtedly makes you excited for the future- a sense of optimism we could all do with basking in at the moment.
‘The Man’ – The Killers
I’m paying homage to a mate of mine for this pick. My housemate Finlay told me that this was one of his go to tracks for getting from A to B, and after following in his steps, I’ve adopted it as my own. Whether it’s walking to Uni or the gym, this song will always keep me in a positive mood, with its progressive rhythm making it basically impossible to walk your feet to the beat. Another classic track from an outstanding band, most of The Killers’ discography can boast ‘forward moving’ beats, and this one is no different.
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Last modified: 26th April 2020