I like to think I’m a morning person. But the fact of the matter is that I need some coffee and really good music before I’m fit to be considered any sort of effective. As I said in last week’s Music Monday post, I can hardly function without music. Add to that my obscure wish to have a full orchestra follow me through my daily routine to provide a soundtrack and you can see how creating playlists in iTunes is pretty much the next best thing.
The five songs that follow help get me out of bed in the morning. Literally. They’re all on this playlist on my iPod titled “#getupkid.” I have the thing hooked up to a pair of speakers so that when it turns on in the morning I don’t have to wake up to a blaring alarm. I’d like to arise to some of my favorite music, thank you very much. While these aren’t the only five songs on the playlist, they’re certainly the most frequently-played.
This playlist is intended to get you doing the exact opposite of what Mr. Simpson is up to in the picture above.
1. “Little Bribes” — Death Cab For Cutie, The Open Door EP
This song is best put to use on sunny mornings when you set off on your bike for the day. I know for a lot of you it’s not the most practical scenario but this Death Cab gem is worth waking up to nonetheless. Just pretend you’re at the casino where the slot machines Benjamin Gibbard is singing about are accepting those “little bribes.” You like losing your money, right?
2. “Better Love” — Steel Train, Twilight Tales from the Praire of the Sun
Whatever happened to Drive-Thru Records? It used to be such a quality label, serving as the starting point for such folks as Jack’s Mannequin’s Andrew McMahon and Cobra Starship’s Gabe Saporta. “Better Love” as a whole is a pretty sad song — it’s about Steel Train frontman’s acceptance of being dumped by Scarlett Johansson — but it has such a great morning message. If this guy can get over losing one of the most gorgeous women in the world, you can probably stop whining about how you only got one shot in your double white mocha. Besides, the dude started dating Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat about a year after this album came out. It pays to be Jack Antonoff.
3. “We Are the Tide” — Blind Pilot, We Are the Tide
Blind Pilot’s debut effort, Three Rounds and a Sound, is probably one of my favorite albums of the last three years. As Portland natives, these guys know how to cope with the seasonal Oregon blues. “We Are the Tide” is upbeat, acoustic and fun and it deserves to be a part of your morning routine. Forget coffee. All you need is to hear the opening verses to know this is all you need to kick the day into gear. And take note of how totally Oregonian Israel Nebeker’s voice is: soft, enthusiastic and passionate without being overly aggressive. He would totally let you go first if you pulled up to an intersection at the same time.
4. “Don’t Carry It All” — The Decemberists, The King is Dead
I’ve been on a bit of a Decemberists kick lately, having come across the full documentary that one of my favorite multimedia pieces of the last year served as the trailer for. It helps that The King is Dead is one of my favorite albums of the last year. This song, in particular, is great if your commute requires you to drive down stretches of road where you’re surrounded by trees — in Oregon this is all but certain to be the case. Colin Meloy wailing, “Don’t carry it all” and reminding you to “bear your neighbor’s burden within reason” sounds to me like he’s saying, “If Lundbergh asks you to come in this weekend, politely tell him to shove it.”
5. “Hold On” — Jet, Spider-Man 2: Music From and Inspired by the Motion Picture
Whenever I’m having a particularly bad morning, I scroll to this piece from the Spider-Man 2 soundtrack and take a quick stroll. No matter how much I’m dreading the day ahead of me, it’ll never compare to being stripped of spider-powers, losing the girl I love and getting smacked in the face by Sam Raimi’s bag over the course of two-and-a-half hours. It’s not that I really enjoy the song — I do — but knowing that a fictional character is worse off than I can ever be on any given day lifts my spirits ever so slightly.