Taking a brief break from film to take part in a grand blog party called Freeky Fridays. Started by two sisters who are very near and dear to me, Freeky Fridays is a weekly prompt focused on positivity, good vibes, balloonity, named Freekware, a clothing line whose proceeds benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. And for why that is...well, that's not my story to tell. You can learn all about Freeky Fridays, Freekware, and its origins at Concrete Jane or Dr. Princess, sister bloggers and keepers of the flame. I really do ask that you read both sisters' posts so that you have a full appreciation of the legacy they're keeping.
Anyway. This week's prompt: If you were making a positivity playlist, what three feel good songs would you include?
It's a difficult question for me, really, since no matter how amped the disco beat may be, most of the songs I listen to are not uplifting. I'm not depressed all the time or anything, but some of the best songs are about longing and love lost and mistakes. I don't write the songs, I just listen to them. "Born to Run" came to mind, but I have a problem with categorizing "someday we'll escape this hell-hole" as feel-good. Goal-oriented, maybe, but not feel-good. My recent Roy Orbison kick offers nothing ("Only the Lonely", "It's Over", "Crying"...good God, and this before his wife and kids were killed). My favorite musicals are about sadness and regret: Follies, Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd. And, of course, it would be difficult to place my favorite song of all time, the apologetic disco number "Everlasting Love", on a feel-good playlist, despite its upbeat tempo. Pledge that eternal love all you want, Carl Carlton, she still hasn't said she'll come back to you.
Then there's the fact that most of the music I listen to is by Philip Glass, John Adams, Alexandre Desplat; in other words, instrumental. Do these count as songs? Because I listen to them a lot more than I do anything with lyrics.
And only three? If I'm making a playlist, it's got to at least last me the twenty minute walk to Dunkin' Donuts and back. So, yes, I went for more than three. Indeed, I went and made the playlist:
1. Opening from Mishima - Philip Glass
You know, I've never seen this biopic, and I know the guy ritualistically killed himself or something. But this music feels like you've achieved the unachievable. The music reminds me of riding the monorail at Disney: those chimes of excitement when you catch a glimpse of the park, building up as it comes further into view, and that huge rush of bells when you see that EPCOT ball and the World Showcase, before calming down so you can disembark.
Eleven other tracks after the cut, including Hollmann Award winners, ELO and a very special final track...
2. "It Don't Worry Me" from Nashville - Keith Carradine or Barbara Harris
Very pleasing acoustic guitar accompanies calming lyrics. I can see how one could view this song as a satirical take on apathy, but I don't see it that way. This, for me, is about not letting the bullshit get you down.
3. "I'm Alive" from Xanadu - Electric Light Orchestra
So if that song lists all the bullshit and says, "It don't worry me," this song tells you why it don't. Because "I'm alive, and the world shines for me today!" This is probably the most directly positive, feel-good song on this list.
4. "Dancing Queen" - ABBA
Yes, it's about going out to the clubs and acting the tease to all the boys, an activity in which I have no interest. But it's so much fun!
5. "Xanadu" from Xanadu - Olivia Newton-John and Electric Light Orchestra
This song (and this movie) is about discovering the power within yourself to follow that dream. That power is in the magical part of your soul, a part where Kubla Kahn and Charles Foster Kane build pleasure-domes, it rocks so much. Xanadu is within all of us; it's up to us to find it.
6. "I Could Have Danced All Night" from My Fair Lady - Julie Andrews
What could be more appropriate after all the dance music? There's such a youthful buoyancy throughout the number. It's impossible to listen to this without "spreading your wings" and taking to the tiptoes.
7. "He Loves and She Loves" from Manhattan - New York Philharmonic
This song. Is so magical. And no version beats this one.
8. "Swimming" from A Single Man - Abel Korzeniowski
One of the great cathartic moments of the film is the nighttime swim George and his student take. One can feel everything in the music: the run, the sudden dive, the deep cleansing, the rush, the peace... Definitely a feel good song, if you're into spiritual cleansings and reawakenings.
9. "PM's Love Theme" from Love Actually - Craig Armstrong
No piece of music has ever captured a high five moment like this one. This should play every time someone scores a winning touchdown, graduates college, loses their virginity, watches fireworks, meets a loved one in an airport terminal.
11. "Brand New Day" from The Wiz - Ensemble
I mean, do I really need to tell you why this is here? There's a dance break, people! Oh, and the lyrics are inspiring.
10. "Let Us Drink Milk" from Speed Racer - Michael Giacchino
Still one of the greatest movies ever made, with one of the greatest scores ever written. A great finale to take us to the end credits...
12. Music from Soarin' - Jerry Goldsmith
And, as a bonus track for those credits, my song of choice to get me in the right mindset for beer pong. Yes, it turns out if I hum this while lining up a shot, I do quite well.
I guess I was lying when I said we were taking a brief break from film. I can't help it! They are my life!