Music has a power that I’m not sure we fully understand, but it’s strength is undeniable. I read a cool article about Olympic athletes listening to music during snowboard runs and how it helps their performance tremendously. The 50-pound brain guys proved in their high tech labs that music increases stamina and blocks negative brain waves: exactly what you need when you’re going through a tough time.
Music can help you relive great memories (…under the boardwalk…), release sad emotions (which the Greeks discovered was a healthy process they called ‘katharsis’), vent out rage and anger (turn it up to 11 + primal scream time), enhance joy and victory with triumphant notes, and take you on an intense lyrical journey from people that have been right to the edge…then returned to tell you about it.
WARNING: Most people will limit their library to who they identify as (example: country guys only listening to country, hip hop guys avoiding The Beatles, etc.) – this is a mistake. You’re going to need the strength, wisdom and beauty from any source you can get it, and music is for everyone. Find the brilliance of each type of music and use it when you need it the most. Below is a little list of some cool songs that helped me fight through the darkness.
* If you’re a veteran in need, please send me a message at dogfightDave@gmail.com and I’ll send you a pdf copy of my book ‘Dogfighting Depression’. I put everything that actually worked for me inside, and ejected all the boring theory from people who don’t know what it’s like to be trapped in the black hole. You can fight and win, I promise you that is true.
- Rage Against The Machine, Freedom: “…anger is a gift…” – if you think this, read this article
- Lynryd Skynryd, Simple Man: “…forget your lust, for the rich man’s gold, all that you need, is in your soul…” – a mother’s great advice for her only son
- The Clash, Bankrobber: “…but I don’t believe, in lyin’ back, sayin’ how bad your luck is…”
- Bruce Springsteen, Hungry Heart: “…don’t make no difference what nobody says, ain’t nobody like to be alone…” – get a wingman; 2 is 1, 1 is none
- Hopeton Lewis, Take it Easy: “…if you fall from the race, it’s no disgrace, just pick yourself from off the ground…” – extremely hard to overcome your past, your environment and the way you feel; but you must if you want to be a hero
- Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lodi: “…Rode in on a Greyhound, I’ll be walkin’ out if I go…” – do NOT get stuck in Lodi; like the old expression, if you’re stuck in hell, keep moving!
- Beatles, Hey Jude: “…and anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain, don’t carry the world upon your shoulders, for well you know, that it’s a fool that plays it cool, by making his world a little colder… remember to let her into your heart, then you can start to make it better…” – you can’t replace hate or pain or fear with anything; only love for others and love for yourself will win the day. Sounds corny as hell but it is true. Find yourself someone to love and love them with all your heart. For my four children, this song used to make me heartbroken missing you every time it came on the radio, so I refused to listen to it; then I remembered the lyric’s wisdom to take a sad song and make it better. If you’re reading this, always remember to take a bad situation and MAKE it better, through sheer force of will. You are strong enough to do this, always. I love you and miss you, Dad
- Bob Marley, Three Little Birds: “…rise up this morning, smiled with the rising sun, three little birds, perched by my doorstep, singin’ sweet songs, a melody pure and true, sayin’ this is my message to you…” – when all seems hopeless, you need to change your environment and your thoughts; this song reminds me that Bob had it right, ‘every little thing is going to be alright’
- Mozart, Concerto for Two Pianos: there aren’t any cool lyrics here, but what he did, creating this out of nothing stands as a reminder to us all the power of innovation, ingenuity and intuition. Find a way to freedom and redemption. There is a way.
- Flume, Sleepless: so my ex-gf teases me mercilessly about this one, saying I’m not 20 years old any more. But music is for everyone. And while I’m not the biggest fan of EDM, this song is fascinating because it was the creative root for a lot of other imitators in pop music; it also sounds cool. Maybe not exactly the making of a Rolling Stone article here, but if you like a song, what does it really matter what the critics say?
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