Mood Music: Haters Gonna Hate

Hello friends, and welcome to another irregular edition of Mood Music. Janelle Monae has entered regular rotation in my workout music, but she’s good any time of day for a mood boost. Franchesca Ramsey introduced me to this song in her eternally watchable Snapchat (@cheschaleigh).

So if you’re feeling down, or just need that extra kick to take over the world, please let Janelle remind you that haters gonna hate, but you need to do your thing.

Mood Music: Sad Songs for Lots of Feelings

Kina Grannis - Elements album cover, a good source of sad songs and happy songs.

I’m a sad songs junky. I think it has something to do with never having personally experienced epic love and heartbreak, but instead just a regular life of the stresses and sadness that don’t get songs. Shitty things are so easy to romanticize if you haven’t gone through them, after all. Other peoples’ (ideally, fictional peoples’) tragedies become fun to wallow in because you can leave.

So for somebody else’s sometimes melodramatic sadness, please enjoy a few of my favorites.

Tegan & Sara, 100x
I will fight you about Tegan & Sara and how great they are.

Christina Perri, A Thousand Years
I know this was played at Bella and Edward’s wedding, I don’t even care.

Lana del Rey, Dark Paradise
Honestly most of her songs creep me out and this one does too but I suspect that’s the point. Video Games is also a sad song but more for a “girl no come away from there” reason, so it didn’t make the list.

Death Cab for Cutie, I Will Follow You Into the Dark
I’m not sorry. I could listen to this on repeat in high school. Look, Evanescence isn’t on this list, that’s all the slack I can cut you.

MAGICI, Rude (as covered by Kina Grannis)
Only listen to the Kina Grannis cover of this song. Hers is sweet and sad and the best version. Kina Grannis is overall a great source of sad songs, whether she means to be or not. Sorry Kina.

Taylor Swift feat. The Civil Wars, Safe & Sound
As inspired by the book series that made me cry on public transit.

Any favorite sad songs to share? (NOTHING ABOUT DOGS.) Drop them in the comments!

People Who Inspire You

If you want to be a creative person, surround yourself with people who inspire you.

Despite being a devoted introvert and homebody, I went to Kina Grannis‘s concert last Wednesday at Billboard Live in Tokyo.

Kina was beyond amazing. She was so sweet and gracious and genuine, and a real pleasure to hear live. I’ve been a fan of her music since Angry Asian Man tipped me off about her Elements album release, and I find myself more in love with her music and creativity and skill every day.

One of the best things about the concert was hearing Kina talk about her inspiration. Songs that I was familiar with not only gained a face but a context. This creative expression that I had enjoyed in a vacuum, ascribing my own meaning and importance to songs, became more real and grounded in the person and the mind and the life they had emerged from.

It didn’t diminish the meaning the songs personally had for me, but it broadened and deepened the meaning the songs had overall. It also reinforced that inspiration is not a magical thing, that even for this talented artist songs didn’t come fully formed out of the ether. They came from a place and a way of thinking and hard work.

Knowing all that gave me more to think about. And when you’re trying to be a creative person who makes art, thinking is a thing you need to do a lot of and be good at.

Find people whose own creativity makes you think.

Writing Playlist

At the time, it probably would have been better to just sit down and write rather than come up with a playlist that would help me sit down and write. But now that that time-wasting endeavor is over, it’s actually pretty handy. I play this on loop when I’m writing Power – or when I should be writing Power and need to nudge myself into it.

The Beginning is the End is the Beginning, Smashing Pumpkins
Evil Wing of Swift Wind That No One Can Catch, Taku Iwasaki
FALL – Cleaning Apartment, Kronos Quartet
Memory, Yoko Kanno
Catastrophe, Rainer Maria
Scene 03, Casshern
Fatal, Yoko Kanno
Ghosts of Things To Come, Kronos Quartet
Ashes, Danzig
Mad World, Gary Jules*
Ghosts, Kronos Quartet
Hope Overture, Kronos Quartet
Scene 149, Casshern
The Last Scene (156), Casshern
Green Bird, Yoko Kanno
Promises Not Necessary, Yoko Kanno
24, Jem
Clair de Lune (piano version), The APM Orchestra

*I remember someone writing once that “Mad World” put to anything made it feel poignant – videos of puppies, cake-baking, whatever.