On What to Do When You Lack Inspiration…

Blogging four times a week was bound to leave me feeling uninspired. It’s hit me pretty early on, but I think writing four times a week is helpful in not only being an outlet for ideas, frustrations, etc., but also in keeping my writing and editing skills sharp. I’m aware that I’m not creating anything spectacular up in here.

So for tonight I perused the Internet and watched an episode of Girls and hoped for something to give me an idea, and all that seemed to help were some blog challenges on Pinterest. One told me to put my iPod on shuffle and list the first 10 songs that come up. I haven’t used my iPod since 2012 so we’re going to go with my iTunes instead. Are you guys ready for this? We’re about to get all livejournal-y up in here!

1. “If She Wants Me” by Belle & Sebastian

I own this song and first heard about it because of the soundtrack to Juno – a movie that still remains one of my favorites. There are very few Belle & Sebsatian songs with which I’m familiar, but I’ve enjoyed them all. This one in particular is a song that I never skip when it comes on. It’s a song that easily blends into the background of your day. It doesn’t distract you from what you’re doing, but supplements it by adding another layer of media to your surroundings. Know what I mean?

2. “That It Moves (Garageband Demo)” by Greg Laswell

Not gonna lie, not familiar with this one at all. There was a time when the dude worked for a media conglomerate that owns radio stations and billboard nationwide and he would get CDs for free and give them to me if I had mentioned the artist before. He got me into Greg Laswell and then I got the chance to see him live at City Winery when I interned for CMJ. He opened for Joseph Arthur and between the beautiful music and the delicious wine on tap, it was one of my favorite shows that I went to while with CMJ. Also, listening to this song, it’s pretty great! Even as a demo!

3. “Swallow the Sea” by An Horse

Yup, another from the radio station days…can’t say I’ve ever listened to this one. Just uploaded it to my iTunes and left it there. I’m pretty sure that I like An Horse though…and in listening to this song I’m confirming that. Seems like a song that builds as it goes and I’m generally a sucker for music that isn’t stagnant and finishes in a different place than it started.

4. “Living in America” by Dom

I LOVE this song. It reminds me of late spring/early summer, and I connect it to a specific memory. For some reason we were let out early at CMJ one day (I think the internet went out or something) and I had bought this song as part of a SXSW preview playlist, which I was listening to while this happened. I decided to walk from our office at 28th & Broadway to Chelsea Market and catch the PATH train from 14th St. My walk took me through the Garment District to Madison Square Park, through the Flatiron District and then down to Chelsea, and I remember it being warm enough to only need a warm jacket. It’s one of my more fond memories of NYC.

5. “Photography” by The Starting Line

I was a big fan of The Starting Line in my little punk days of high school. I still own this album on CD (and we might even have it on vinyl…) and still have a special place in my heart for this song. When the dude and I first went long-distance, he made me a bunch of mix CDs for me and this was one of many songs on the many volumes he made. It still reminds me of him whenever I listen to it 🙂

6. “Heartbreak Warfare” by John Mayer

If I had this album in a physical format, I would’ve worn it out in college. It transports me back to junior year when I lived in an on-campus apartment (where the kitchens didn’t have stoves and you had to use a communal kitchen, but hey, they tried) and my room was about the size of a walk-in closet, but it was all mine. I had had my own room all my life until I went to college, and though I made great friends in my roommates it was amazing to finally have a place to retreat where I didn’t feel obligated to engage with anyone. I would play this song and hum along while doing my accounting homework, because it was pretty much the only way I could get through it. My love for this song also stemmed from a string of college heartbreaks, but those aren’t my primary association with it.

7. “Congratulations Smack + Katy” by Reggie & The Full Effect

This is the only Reggie & The Full Effect song I know and I played the shit out of it in high school. It was one of the first songs that left me wanting more – probably because of how abruptly it ends – and so I would play it on repeat. I rarely do that anymore because I’ve learned that’s the best way to get sick of a song you love (unless it’s a Beyonce song). I recommend it for running and workout playlists – super high energy and bright!

8. “Relax, Take It Easy” by MIKA

Oh god, every time I listen to MIKA I’m reminded of how good he is. You’ve probably heard many of his songs in commercials, TV shows, films, you name it. And if you’ve enjoyed that, you owe it to yourself to listen to all of his albums. Not only are his vocals impressive, he has a way of maintaining his signature style while giving each song its own identity. I bought his first album my senior year of high school – I drove to Best Buy with a friend after school, truly showing my 18-year-old independence, and it was one of the first things I bought with my debit card. I was then scolded for using the card, but the $7.99 I spent on that album was worth it. This song in particular was also on the store music for dELiA’s when I worked there during high school, and it brings back memories of spending hours folding graphic tees all for that sweet, sweet 40% employee discount.

9. “Better Together” by Jack Johnson

I went through a pretty intense Jack Johnson phase when I got to college and it continues today, though it’s not nearly as strong as it was then. This music was my go-to study music: mellow, thoughtful, and happy. All things college students need while freaking out about how this upcoming final will affect their future (hint guys, it won’t). I also had the privilege to interview Jack Johnson at my job in the city and nearly had a fan girl moment when I found out. He was incredibly nice – as you’d expect a surfer from Hawaii to be – and he likes Fugazi!

10. “Watch the Tapes” by LCD Soundsystem

Another song that I never skip. I can’t remember how I was introduced to this song – I want to say it was the 21 soundtrack (I was really into soundtracks my freshman year of college…), but that doesn’t seem right. Either way, it was the second song I heard by LCD Soundsystem – “Daft Punk is Playing at My House” was the first – and it made me realize why people lose their shit over James Murphy.

There it is y’all – the first 10 songs that came up on shuffle in my iTunes. If you can’t tell, I haven’t bought music from iTunes since about 2011. Give them a shot! Expand your horizons! GET INSPIRED.

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