Cheer-Me-Up Music (Don’t Bring Me Down)

Bruce Springsteen

It really depends on what I am feeling down about. First choice,  Bruce Springsteen gets me singing and rocking, rocking and rolling. You can count on him to elevate your mood; he’s better than Prozac. His music can get you out of your misery by the sheer joy of singing to his music. I even saw him in concert once, the best performer ever (Thanks, Claudine.)

When I need comforting and want to reminisce about the past and easier times it’s John Denver who comforts me. I think about high school and my friend Paula and our mini John Denver fan club. We were young, life was good, we just didn’t know it back then. Now we look back and remember the easiest time of our lives and probably the happiest. We lived, and breathed his songs, we argued endlessly about his lyrics, we had a crush on him. Hey, it was the 70’s, don’t judge! John Denver represented young people, happiness, nature and good times. When he died prematurely, we were crushed.

Also, old stand-byes like Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor and of course, The Sound of Music are guaranteed to bring a smile to my face.

More recent cheerful music includes: “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, “hey tonight’s gonna be a good, good night, woo-hoo,” Natasha Bedingfield’s “Pocketful of Sunshine.” I really could go on and on but instead, I think I will put on iTunes and listen to some music, right now.

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Music Therapy (aka as cheaper than the other kind)

Ever since my  friend Linda and I were eliminated from singing in the chorus in seventh grade (with mean Mr. Patterson) I haven’t been the same and still  think he was totally wrong (not that I hold a grudge).   I have moved on and his mistake did not stop me from singing out loud and enjoying it but even being placed in the chorus?  How bad were we?  I love to sing and while I may not have the BEST singing voice I’m not horrific. I think I can carry a tune fairly well, I don’t shriek or scream, doesn’t that count for something? People don’t look askew when I sing or give me dirty looks. I have said before I enjoy it no end; the world needs people who love to sing.   Music makes me feel better and since I can’t afford therapy as much as I would like or need,  I have relied on this blog ( which has gotten me into serious trouble with some family members) and music. Music, trust me, is much, much safer.

I know I am dating myself and calling myself a nerd at the same time but in the early seventies, John Denver could take me out of any vile mood and make me smile and sing along. No, I was not “passing the pipe around” as he sang but he could always make me feel better. Always. Until he divorced Annie and then when he died. My best friend Paula and I were devastated. After not being in touch for months, we called each other that day. How could John Denver die?  We barely had forgiven him for divorcing Annie. She “filled up his senses,” he named the song after her, they adopted children ( oh wait, am I confusing him with Tom Cruise again?) Apparently  after the divorce from Annie, who we felt we all knew I think he remarried.  I mean, really.  Then there were viscous rumors, a lot of rumors about his excessive drinking, cavorting and doing major drugs.  Allegedly. That was when the John Denver fan club ended.

But dying?  That was a whole new and last chapter and one that was really sad and unbelievable to us. How could he have died in an airplane? What was he thinking? It seemed too horrible to think about; after all he was our first musical crush and the first ever concert we went to.

It took a long time after his death to play his music again. First it made me sad and angry and then with time, like everything else, I began to remember the John Denver that made me happy when Paula and I were in High School filled with some type of drama. Now I can still play his music  (and yes, I do still play his music) and feel the happiness I felt when  I was 15; kind of.  It’s not  really the same, of course, but now it’s better and soothing and I know every word to every song he ever made. RIP.

My latest choice of songs to make me forget my troubles and to smile is a song by The Kinks called “Better Day” which I have been playing every day since my friend Scott posted it. It is going to be my theme song for 2010. It’s upbeat and it makes one feel happy and hopeful like no other song.   For variety, my happy mood music always includes Bruce Springsteen( that’s for you Claudine).  I have different music for different moods; there is Josh Groban, Neil Young,  CSN&Y and of course The Beatles. There’s also time when you just need girl music: Sarah Mclaughlan, Sheryl Crow, Wynonna, The Corrs, Carole King and Carly Simon, Madonna and yes, Barbra Streisand.

Of course this is all biased but we should never, ever forget Simon and Garfunkel whose songs I think should follow the National Anthem o or at least played in the Smithsonian.  They sing Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline at Red Sox games, there should be a place for Simon and Garfunkel, somewhere.

There aren’t many people I would see in concert again. Saw James Taylor and he was rude and sarcastic, saw Crosby, Stills and Nash and their voices were….umm…different.  There is/was  Peter, Paul and Mary who I could not enjoy since another legend, Mary, died.

I would see Simon and Garfunkel again (perfection)in concert and maybe Carole King. I leave the Rap bands to my 2 teenagers, I know they like it but they also like that we hate it. Works every time.  It would give my husband and I a headache to go to a Rap concert, but it might be worth it to totally embarrass our kids!

So next time, before you head for the Xanax container or your favorite cocktail or 5, take a deep breath, turn on the music and listen. Listen until you find the song that makes you feel good, or if you want to cry, try a sad song. Therapy is very expensive and it is worth it bu give music therapy a try first.  Music therapy, the first step for intervention, give it a try. Because even though it helps to have someone nod his or her head at something you said, music is relatively cheap, it’s always available and you never get charged for an appointment if you don’t cancel 24 hours before the session. Try it because the beat of music, really does go on and on….

For Paula, Scott and Claudine