I love to feel all the feels, but sometimes a girl just needs to move. Whether that means struttin’ your stuff on the way to work, doing barre exercises in your apartment, or running balls-to-the-wall on the trail, these playlists will get you moving and keep you going.
How Soon is Now was my first Spotify dreamed-up playlist. The ease of magically drag songs into a neat little chart astounded me. It opens with “Top of the World.” I have no idea how I came upon this song, as it’s outside my usual genres, but, man, did it make me want to live big. This was the winter I dreamt of moving to New England. That first line, “By this time next year I’ll have enough to buy the whole damn thang,” was my vision of standing tall on a quaint, fall leaves-dusted college campus as a career counselor, livin’ my best life. Or so I thought at the time. The playlist then jumps into jammin’, sexy “Chain my Name,” and exuberant “Pumpin’ Blood,” before easing into dramatic “Destroyer” and “Shot at the Night” and ending with the sweeping “Bygone.” How Soon is Now, a nod to The Smiths song, was about big dreams and big moves.
Pretty self-explanatory. Sometimes work can be a real drag. But let me tell you, if you can wriggle into a pencil skirt and slip into a pair of smart yet supportive flats and wiggle your sexy self over I5 on Denny on your morning commute, you aren’t doing that bad. At least I wasn’t. It starts with a lil’ hangover cure from “Last Nite,” powers up into “The Look,” and maintains the strut with “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” My god, when all five minutes and fifty four seconds of ”Lazy Eye” wailed on, I wished that morning walk to work would never end. Strut on, sister.
I took the phrase from barre studio teacher who repeated it as we stood at the barre lifting our legs and burning our buns for what felt like hours. The first track, “Heartlines,” sets the tone for those mini movements. But “Tiny Lift” also takes you through big movements. It’s the music I needed when small movements, like leg lifts or a short run because my plantar fasciitis just wouldn’t go away, were the only things that felt doable. Then sometimes, those mini-moves propel you to bigger ones. And before you know it you’re doing deep lunges, squats, and high kicks to any one of the five ODESZA tracks and ending your relationship. Sometimes moving small feels like all we can do. That’s ok. It’s the beginning of the work we do to get big.
This was one of the hardest playlists to make. If you look at the dates the songs were added you’ll see why. The morning after 2016 Election Day with a few hours sleep, I crawled out of bed, turned on KEXP to “We Float,” and started crying. Is this what the next four years would be like? Floating in a haze, “taking life as it comes” as PJ Harvey said? Like many, I moved through the following weeks and months in a cycle of tears and rage. And so I made this playlist to cry through Moby and the National and the delicate, broken voices of Alice Boman and Birdy. But I knew it had to be about more than tears, because that’s just what they want. Then Leonard Cohen died and I was like, “I give up.” So I wrote to senators, gave to the Democratic National Committee, arts organizations, the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, synced up my own 5K in 50 States charity for SPLC and raised $1,125 to date (please consider donating), and added tracks 16-27. Those tracks are for action. Honestly, for me action mostly meant running and throwing more money at the problem. But any movement helps. And as Bobby Brown said in the theme song from
II, “You want something done, you gotta do it yourself.” So please go ahead and cry. And then get moving.