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Tune in Tuesday: 5 Playlists to Make You Feel All the Feels

Welcome to Tune In Tuesday, where I’ll be sharing some of my favorite Spotify playlists. And in true Katie J form, each has a theme. The first Tune in Tuesday highlights five playlists for emotional mini-journeys.

Coffee-fueled? Orthotic-lined sneakers laced up? Standing desk raised? Headphones in? Good. Let’s jam.

Spring of 2014 was a rich time, musically, and whatever possessed me (wink!) to create a playlist of songs with religious and under (and over) tones I do not know, but it’s hell of a lot of fun! From its title taken from a line from the opening track “Mysterious Ways,” this is one heavenly trip down music’s memory lane. The slamming church doors in the first six seconds of “Like a Prayer”… the boisterous strumming on “Faith”… the tender cries of Merrilee Rush’s “Angel of the Morning”… I was really onto something. Note I also incorporated songs that don’t explicitly reference religion but do feature a choir such as “I Want to Know What Love Is,” “Man in the Mirror,” and “We Don’t Need Another Hero.” And I gotta say, I’m real glad I could work in Eddie’s Money’s “Walk on Water.” All in all, it’s a super dramatic, sweepy, sexy, swoony one hour and eighteen minutes of genuflection. On your knees, boy.

“Haunting” is one of my favorite words. It makes me think of memories barely recalled, dusty shoe-boxes filled with ephemera, and music videos from the late 1980s. This playlist is an ode to all those things, and more. “Said I Loved You But I Lied” reminds me of a road trip to Door County with my high school girls, weeping and singing along in the backseat. I dream of dancing to “You Are” at my wedding reception. “Don’t You Know What The Night Can Do,” with its gentle synth intro, takes me back to a cliff in Maine on a warm summer night when I could feel my life changing. And if you’ve haven’t listened to Dan Fogelberg’s “Same Old Lang Syne” sitting alone in your car in Madison’s Lake Street parking garage after leaving a new year’s party at 10 pm, you haven’t felt true emotion. So get emotional. Remember those memories. Then go make new ones.

Ah the summer of 2015. A light, easy, breezy time and—dare I say—my dating peak. This playlist is named for what a fellow once said to me as we were coming back from a trivia night. We stood at five-way intersection, the streets lights illuminating his perfectly chiseled yet boyish face as he gazed down at me in wonderment and exclaimed, “Gosh, Katie, there’s so much to know.” There is so much to know! So, I made this playlist to capture his wonder and the high school romance feel—even though I was a wizened 36—of that summer. That summer I also fell in love with the charming film, “The Spectacular Now” as well as its charming and boyish star Miles Teller who reminded me of my “so much to know” fellow. Many of the songs are from the soundtrack. Others capture the playfulness, lust, and tears of young love. All are meant to be listened to as you lie in bed on a warm Saturday afternoon painting your nails and flipping through magazines waiting for the phone to ring. Teen angst is optional, wide-eyed wonder is not. There’s so much to know.

As if you didn’t already know what this was about. JK. I made this after re-watching “9 ½ Weeks” which is a damn fine, but disturbing, film that is all too true today. But you can’t deny the genius of its theme song, “Slave to Love.” So I made a playlist to capture that film, from shadows to billowy sheets. And since I was feelin’ the 80s, urban, evening vibe, I grabbed a few hits from “Flashdance,” “Ghostbusters,” and “Purple Rain” and then lightened it up with a little synth fun from “Breakfast Club” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” Did you know Miami Vice’s Don Johnson was also a pop singer? Neither did I! Listen to his breakout hit “Heartbeat” and return to the familiar with “Take Me Home.” The 80s are here to stay and as Phil Collins says, “noooo, I, I don’t mind….”

This is my most recent playlist. As we dip into the archives you’ll see that I have many playlists suitable for running, including this one. But what makes “I’m not done. I’ve just started.” different is its motivation is rooted not in running but in releasing your energy—whether you’re running, writing, dancing, singing, or pumping your fists. How else do you emerge as a warrior princess than with “Back in Black?” How else do you proclaim that, “yes, I may be doing it a little bit different, but I’m doing it” than with “Renegade?” How else do you wrestle with transitions than with “Disturbia?” And so it goes, following Tori’s fragility to fortitude on “Space Dog,” to the “Nope!” anthem of “Don’t Come Around Here No More,” to Cold War Kids “First,” a song about the phases of doubt and strength. And then, boom!, just as you’ve grabbed hold of all your confidence during “Dog Days Are Over,” Jeff Lynne and his screeching guitar plow in with “Do Ya?” asking the world if they’re ready for it. And by the end of the playlist, it doesn’t matter if anybody else is ready, because you are. You got this.

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