Life’s Little Soundtrack

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ONE OF MY FAVORITE “MIX-TAPE” CDs is titled “The True and The Brave – ANTHEMS.” It’s comprised, near as I could make it so, of songs meant to make one stand up and feel counted. I like to play it when I’m sad or need some mental refreshment. The 24 songs include Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream” and “Won’t Back Down;” DEVO‘s “Through Being Cool” (although ‘most all of DEVO’s songs could fit the anti-melancholy bill); a really bitchin’ punk version of “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav (Jerusalem of Gold);” The Traveling Wilburys’ “End of the Line;” Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping;” the theme music for the mythical TV show “Galaxy Quest” (which, along with Green Day’s “Fork in the Road,” never fails to bring a tear to at least one eye); and several others.

We all need a little bolstering sometimes, and music is perhaps one of the cheapest, most accessible and reliable methods so to do (beating alcohol, caffeine, cannabis, and other drugs by a wide margin.). There is nothing like the rush of singing along to lyrics that express you and your place in the world: angry, hopeful, idealistic, indomitable. Some lyrics (as well as lyricless music, like Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” or Gustav Holst’s “Mars, the Bringer of War,” or really anything by L. v. Beethoven) really move us, especially when paired to a driving beat or catchy melody. Thus: “You can stand me up at the gates of Hell / But I won’t back down;” “Face those who make it tough to get around;” “I get knocked down / But I get up again / Never ever gonna keep me down.”

Fill in your favorite here. Makes you glad and grateful to be alive — and isn’t that the point?

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