One of the best things that has come about because of personal computers is the ability to play around with music. A few years ago I ripped my entire CD collection onto my hard drive, thereby reducing scratching from handling, and making my music easier to access. And it’s fan-freaking-tastic to be able to purchase individual songs once again via digital download.
There was a horrible, gaping void for music lovers for several years in between the death of vinyl as the primary medium–and thus the death of 45 rpm singles–and the rise of digital music. Releasing singles on CD wasn’t as practical, so it wasn’t often done. Anyone who loves music can relate to refusing to pay for a whole album when you know for a fact you only want one song.
But what pleases me most is the ability to infinitely customize how I listen to music. There are few albums that I consider excellent as a whole. CDs introduced the ability to easily skip songs; computers introduced the ability to easily combine them in whatever way makes me happy.
I have over 100 custom playlists on my computer. Some of them are for a single artist with the songs I like best. For my favorite artists I often make several playlists, each with different tempos and moods. Most playlists are mixes, based on theme, style, or whatever other classification I come up with. Some playlists I create specifically for burning to CD for use in my car stereo.
A few months ago I posted a song playlist, inspired by reading a similar one on Stacia Kane’s blog. That list was mood music for moping.
It was fun doing that, so figured I’d do another one. But this time it’s happy tunes. These songs are great for when you need a little perking up, already feel fine and want to express it, or just need sunny summer day type music. The list is arranged in an order that plays with a good flow.
1. “I Can See Clearly Now“ by Johnny Nash. For when you need a little uplift, or are already feeling good, having overcome an obstacle. I’ve always loved it, but the lyrics took on a whole new meaning for me, and it became my personal coming out theme song in the mid-80s. Now it’s mostly back to being a general, all around great song.
2. “Ventura Highway“ by America. This one always makes me think of mellow summer days, lying in the grass, watching the clouds.
3. “Back to Avalon“ by Heart. A going home (literally or metaphorically) song.
4. “Jazzman” by Carole King. Nice saxophone, and the lyrics say it all about music and moods.
5. “Good Morning Starshine“ from the Hair soundtrack. An early morning singing song that always makes me smile.
6. “Stoned Soul Picnic“ by The Fifth Dimension. For groovin’ on a warm summer day.
8. “I’m Alright“ by Kenny Loggins. Title of the song kinda says it all. Good beat and a chorus that encourages loud singing.
9. “Bright Side of the Road“ by Van Morrison. Van the Man singing about sharing the load to a tune that’s irresistibly upbeat.
10. “Sky is Falling” by Beth Hart. Not sure how to describe this one, but it always grabs me and gets my head bobbing*.
11. “I Take My Chances“ by Mary Chapin Carpenter. Carpenter is one of the greatest lyricists ever, and I love her voice too. This one is about throwing caution to the wind, with no regrets.
12. “Montuno“ by Gloria Estefan. Not knowing Spanish, I haven’t a clue what Gloria is actually singing about. But listening to this one makes me feel like I’m drinking margaritas and dancing at a fiesta.
13. “Crystal Blue Persuasion“ by Tommy James and the Shondells. For that positive, optimistic vibe. I can’t resist smiling and singing along.
14. “Here Comes the Sun“ by The Beatles. Quintessential.
(Link is to the CD. No Beatles music is available for digital download as far as I know.)
It probably doesn’t escape notice that at least half of the songs listed fall into the “golden oldies” category. I like a lot of newer music too (though at my age, “newer” is defined as anything from the 1990s on). But I think most people have a soft spot for the music we grow up with, and it’s what we return to again and again when wanting to evoke a specific feeling.
* Beth Hart is a horribly under-appreciated artist. “Sky is Falling” is from Screamin for my Supper, which is a great album. I’ve linked to the CD, since songs are not available digitally. I couldn’t find anything online for “Sky is Falling”, but here’s a link to Hart performing a different song, “Delicious Surprise,” from the same album to get a taste of her style. (Though the sound quality on the video isn’t very good.)