"What Would Willie Do" by Gary Allan
I struggled mightily between Allan's cover and Bruce Robison's original recording, but I elected to go with Allan because his version is much less tongue-in-cheek...which makes it all the funnier, I think. It's an unusual song to open a playlist, but it establishes the tone of this disc immediately and in any event, I think it's less effective if it comes later.
"Blue Skies" by Willie Nelson
To be honest, I could compile an entire Therapy playlist just from Willie Nelson recordings. It was mandatory, I thought, to include one song by the Red Headed Stranger here, and after much deliberation I settled on this Irving Berlin classic from Stardust which, coincidentally, was released the same year I was born (1978 for those of you too lazy to Google it).
"Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne
I was thisclose to opening the disc with this. Regardless of where it appeared, though, I simply had to have this on here. It's a fun song, and as I've asked for the last two months: What's the point of having a mental health crisis if not to find laughter in it?
"Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys
The thesis of this entire playlist, ladies and gentlemen. Though, it's worth noting, this song is actually about having the sense that a woman is into him and that's not at all what's going on with me.
One of the most helpful things in the world to me these last two months has been the camaraderie from my friends, old and new. If I was asked to draw up a template for how I idealize such friendships, I would simply point to Cheers.
"Life Gets Away" by Clint Black
The first actually serious song on the playlist and it's just about perfect. My only problem with this song is that it makes my throat hurt to sing along with it, which happens with a lot of Clint Black songs. It's not that I'm futilely trying to emulate the sound of his voice; it's something to do with the way he constructs the lines he writes, combining various syllable sounds or some such. I have the same problem with "You Know My Name" by Chris Cornell.
"Do You Believe in Magic?" by The Lovin' Spoonful
Back to the positive feelings portion of the playlist. I've always loved this song. Its meaning has changed for me over the years; sometimes I associate it with someone in particular, and who that may be changes from time to time. Sometimes I don't think about anyone at all and just enjoy the song itself. Lately, I've thought about my niece and how refreshing it was to have her spend the night recently.
"The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis & The News
It's catchy, it's fun and you're welcome to consult Patrick Bateman if you want anything more about why this song should be here.
"I'm Going Bananas" by Madonna
This album cut is from Madonna's I'm Breathless, the only album of hers I own--and I only own that because it's a collection of her recordings for Dick Tracy. Anyway, this is an odd but playful song and I enjoy its energy.
"What a Little Bit of Love Can Do" by Jeff Bridges
I'm addicted to this, and I have been for months. In the context of my last two months, I was a little troubled by the line, "There ain't nothin' really wrong with you," but the point of the song is that love can go a long way toward the healing process. In the song itself, it's a come-on used to persuade a woman to take a chance on him but I take it here as a sort of allegory about love in general beyond the specific scope of romantic love. That all gets a bit heady, though, so I leave it: I'm addicted to this song!
"Paperback Writer" by The Beatles
Because I actually do want to be one. If you want this, you'll have to buy a CD or download from iTunes.
"Loco" by David Lee Murphy
Another song selected for the same reason as "Crazy Train" and "I'm Going Bananas."
"The Touch" by Stan Bush
If and when the music version of Flickchart ever comes out, this will almost certainly be my top-ranked song/recording. I could write an entire blog post about my adoration of it. Suffice it to say that I love it and it makes me feel good. I also considered "Dare" by Bush (also on The Transformers: The Movie soundtrack), which would also be a perfect fit for this playlist.
"Paint It, Black" by The Rolling Stones
I love the sound of this song. Its lyrics are about struggling with an inner darkness, and so it seemed particularly relevant here.
"Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head" by B.J. Thomas
Go ahead. Try to be sad or angry with this playing. I can't do it, and I suspect you probably can't, either. (It helps that I love the movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.)
"Pray" by M.C. Hammer
My contentious relationship with God and religion is well documented, but lately I've taken some comfort from praying. Besides, every feel-good playlist ought to have something by Hammer.
"I've Always Been Crazy" by Waylon Jennings
"I can't say I'm proud of all of the things that I've done/but I can say I've never intentionally hurt anyone." There's a reason Rodney Crowell is one of the most respected singer/songwriters of his generation, and this balancing act between candid confession and playfulness is a perfect microcosm of his talents. Waylon kills it.
"I Won't Back Down" by Johnny Cash
Yes, I know Tom Petty wrote and recorded it first. But there's something about Cash's weathered vocals that infuse it with a powerful defiance that makes this recording a masterpiece. I've written extensively about the importance of understanding that fighting depression is an ongoing, endless struggle and so hearing the Man in Black "stand [his] ground" is a source of inspiration for me.
"Brass Monkey" by The Beastie Boys
The absurdity of this song has always endeared it to me. Still does.
"You May Be Right" by Billy Joel
Another song making light of mental health issues in the context of a come-on, but it makes me smile so I try not to think too much about that part of it.
"Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson
The song is really about wanting to make the world a better place, of course, but I identify with the emphasis on making changes within oneself. I have made adjustments recently, but I know it's a work in progress and that I have to continue making changes--just as I have to ensure that the ones I've already made take hold.
"You Only Live Twice" by Nancy Sinatra
Bond: "I'm on my second life."
Blofeld: "You only live twice, Mr. Bond."
The title song from the fifth James Bond movie reflects my philosophy that I'm now living an entire part of my life I nearly denied myself. I don't see it as a rebirth, necessarily, so much as an unexpected continuation. Anything I've said, done, seen, heard, thought, felt, written, eaten, played, sung, read, or otherwise experienced since 6 October has been because I have extended my life beyond the point at which I was prepared to end it. The song has the line, "You only live twice, or so it seems/One life for yourself, and one for your dreams." I suppose now is the part of my life where I ought to live the life for my dreams--not that I've had many, but I'm growing to feel some measure of self-confidence about my chances at writing. I'd like to grow my blog readership and eventually have at least one work in print (and, hopefully, become filthy rich!).