No need to rehash scientific studies that prove music has measurable and profound effects on the brain. There’s something magical about a good DJ knowing how to read, then manipulate, the energy of a crowd, roller-coastering from ecstasy (the mood) to bliss and points in between. I recently joined the magical world of Soul Cycle and now understand the thoughtfulness that goes into workout soundtracks. I can’t imagine anything compelling me to pedal for my life like a Nine Inch Nails “Suck” remix.
Getting me, a lifelong hater of exercise, to feel at peace with a brick seat between my legs, feet clamped onto a stationary bike, and sweating out half my body weight requires at utmost consideration of what is going into my earholes for motivation. It is definitely psychoart. That being said, what keeps me cycling isn’t the same as what keeps me from unplugging my phone just watching “Freaks and Geeks” on Netflix all day at the office. Aural motivation takes something different at the desk.
Below is a playlist the covers different work-day scenarios, from pre-presentation pump-up to having an “eff you” moment during a conference call.
1. YOU’RE STEPPING “OUTSIDE THE BOX”
Whether you’re about to make an unpopular decision or launching something new, you want to get that bold, fearless, fukit feeling. Try “Could Have Been Me,” an utterly YOLO punk-influenced anthem by The Struts. “Don’t wanna live as an untold story. Rather go out in a blaze of glory” and that’s just the first two lines.
2. IT’S SUNNY, YOU’RE CAFFEINATED, ALL IS WELL – RIDE THE RAINBOW
Or maybe your mom made breakfast, you grabbed a pick-up game with your friends, got high and laid. Whatever does it for you. Ice Cube penned a sweet ode to his perfect 24, “It Was A Good Day,” with equal parts gratitude and surprise. Life is hard. But when you’re on a roll, roll on.
3. YOU’RE UP TO HERE WITH “THE MAN”
“Rise up and take the power back. It’s time the fat cats had a heart attack.” Muse’s “Uprising” reminds us that while we may be making a solitary statement to the larger powers that be, we are not alone. We are the workers, the creators, the knowing. We must stay strong. I listen to this before calling AT&T or DWP.
4. YOUR TEAM SUCKS
Pray to Saint Joan. She’s got balls for the both of you. And she knows how tough it is out there, having to deal with the people. Her message is simple and can be told with “Fake Friends” or one finger.
5. YOU WANT TO TURN THAT FROWN UPSIDE DOWN
“Just pick it up and throw it into shape.” Supportive lyrics from one of my favorite bands of all time, INXS, coupled with an undeniably upbeat, uptempo uplift. And the horns! If not right there in the office, you’ll definitely have an 80s dance party happening in your head.
6. YOU’RE A DAYDREAM PROCRASTINATOR
20 minutes until that groundbreaking blog post is due and you’re mindcationing in Costa Rica. Let Tina take care of this for you. She actually left her good job in the city to go work on or near “the river.” She’ll tell you her story nice and easy, then nice and rough, and by the time it’s over, blood will be pumping back into all the right places just in time to produce good click bait.
7. YOU ARE TOUCHED TODAY
You feel lucky. Protected. Relieved. In wonder. You’re not just having a good day or moment. Something transcendent happened and all you’re thinking is “holy crap thank you.” For this, and because it’s a simply breathtaking song performed by an astonishing artist, hear “Amazing Grace” from Alice Tan Ridley. (Sadly, I can’t find video of the song, but listen to her sing “At Last” and you’ll be inclined to find the track.)
8. IT’S FRIDAY
Bee Gees “You Should Be Dancing.” You did it! Go get some!