1. Lil B - "Motivation"
Let's start with the obvious one after last night's show (and last week's experiment ). For all Lil B's unrelenting>"/>
1. Lil B - "Motivation"
Let's start with the obvious one after last night's show (and last week's experiment). For all Lil B's unrelenting positivity, this song has him finding motivation in bitterness and darker feelings. That such wallowing is inevitable even for Lil B should make you feel better right off the bat. (See also: "I Hate Myself.")
The rest after the jump...
2. Japanther - "Change Your Life"
This one always boosts me up. It's a little bit down, too: "What the fuck was I thinking, when I messed up my life?" But the more I go through my favorite motivational tracks, the more I realize you have to feel down to begin with to need the motivation in the first place. Anyway, this track gets right to the heart of the matter, the desire and the promise behind all these songs: that you can CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE. (Get a little bit organized.)
3. The Death Set - "Moving Forward"
Kissing cousins of Japanther, and overall a less inspiring band, but holy damn does this song get me moving, especially if I happen to be on my bicycle. I don't even know what most of the lyrics are, so no deep reading or anything, but just listen to it. It works.
4. Bad Brains - "Attitude"
Before there was Lil B and #based, there was Bad Brains and the PMA: Positive Mental Attitude, a concept borrowed from Napoleon Hill's self-help manual Think and Grow Rich, which would also make pretty a good name for a Lil B mixtape. This is an original #rare classic of the positive thinking genre. (NB: Pre-punk, I don't know/care what the baby boomers did for positive thinking in their music, but I'm guessing it involved sitars and "Eastern wisdom.")
5. The Thermals - "Remember Today"
Pretty self-explanatory. Carpe Diem. "Anything you can break you can probably mend, anything you can feel you can feel again." Isn't it pretty to think so?
6. Stereolab - "Crest"
Same deal as above: "If there's been a way to build it, there'll be a way to destroy it. Things are not all that out of control." (Bonus: Comes with free Gold Chains pump-up anthem "Rock the Parti!")
7. John K. Samson - "When I Write my Master's Thesis"
We've been over this one, but again: Part of motivation, part of getting your hopes up, is necessarily feeling a little bit hopeless in the first place, and the best motivational songs can encompass both sides of that feeling and still come out ahead. This song's tone of self-deprecating humor grasps something that its lyrics, read literally, don't exactly come out and say: That it might be folly to pin your hopes on some achievement, thinking that you'll do this thing, hit some high score that will unlock a new you and a different life, and everything will change. Maybe it will, but maybe this life as you know it is how it is, and the only thing you can really change is yourself.
8. Jawbreaker - "Save Your Generation"
File this one in a similar bin as the above: half joking, half seriously, even desperately hopeful.
9. LCD Soundsystem - "I Can Change"
10. Yacht - "Psychic City (Voodoo City)"
Despite much of the song's magic happening in the past tense ("I used to live in a psychic city..."), this YACHT/Rich Jensen jam still holds out an invitation of positivity. "Come on over...I told you your dreams would come true."
Of course, this is only one list. Another could have way more hip hop on it, or youth crew hardcore, or be nothing but Lil B songs. (I have about six runners-up in mind already, from Electrelane to the Chemical Brothers.) Feel free to add some picks in the comments, and remember to have a #based day.