Positive Affirmations in Our Music

One the the things I said I was grateful for last week was Spotify. I have always been sincerely grateful for music, as it’s made me feel alive, put a spring in my step, and helped me dance through housework. Spotify is merely a vehicle through which to conveniently appreciate music and have all our favorites a click or two away. 

Each year, by providing us with a playlist of the 100 songs we listened to most in the previous 12 months, Spotify provides us with a glimpse of where our head was that year. I’ve been getting these lists since 2016 and in analyzing the songs they contain, I’ve noticed a few things.

First there are the songs that are consistent from one year to the next. These, not surprisingly, are songs that I’ve had as top songs in my head for a time that certainly pre-dates Spotify. They’d all be considered “oldies” by anyone’s account, and they all have a way of lifting my mood. Seriously, try listening to any of these and remaining in a foul mood. 

  • Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard 
  • (Your Love Keeps Lifting me) Higher & Higher 
  • You Sexy Thing 
  • I Can See Clearly Now 
  • Do You Believe in Magic 
  • Sugar, Sugar 
  • I Won’t Back Down 
  • Let Your Love Flow 
  • Come and Get Your Love
  • You Can Get It If Your Really Want

Link to complete playlist: My Top Songs of All Time. 10 songs. 30 minutes.

Then I noticed the differences in the playlists from year to year. 2016, I was still in a bit of a dark place and the in the top 10 on that list was most of the melancholy, bitter sweet sounds from Teenage Fanclub’s 2016 Release “Here” including The Darkest Part of the Night, I’m in Love, and I was Beautiful When I was Alive

There is a place for melancholy, bitter sweetness and in music we can find mediation and reflection. Music can transport us back to a time and place we want to remember, and some we’d prefer not to. We avoid those songs, don’t we? 2017 showed I was moving forward. My number one song that year was the bouncy, Strangers by Langhorne Slim, that I found about the same time I got the convertible. It’s one of the highlights of my “Cruisin’ with the Top Down” playlist. 

2018 included a lot of memories that I put on my “NJ to IL Road Trip” playlist for my drive out here. My top 3 songs that year were Everybody Loves You Now (Billy Joel), Here’s Where the Story Ends (The Sundays), and I Will Always Love You (Whitney Houston), thankfully followed by many more upbeat selections. 

It was last year that I noticed that out of 100 songs, only six were not upbeat, lively, and positive. I also noticed that was also a reflection of how I felt about my life that year. 94% of the time I was feeling upbeat, lively, and positive. Did the music create my outlook on life? Or was it my outlook on life that was creating the playlist? I guess we’ll never really know for sure.

Just in case though, back in January, I created a playlist for 2020. With the idea that they would all be positive songs. We’ve certainly needed them haven’t we? I think the music we listen to can have a huge affect on our demeanor. Best to choose something positive, right? Here’s hoping “Your Top Songs 2020” is a reflection on not such a bad year after all.

2 thoughts on “Positive Affirmations in Our Music

  • December 4, 2020 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you for the kick-start. I have always loved music, but as I got busier with life, I just didn’t have the time for that “distraction”. During the past year, while teaching remotely (depressingly), I found myself thinking of songs from the past, then searching YouTube after work and going on for hours. Subconciously I guess I needed those uplifting lyrics and energetic beats. Could not get “Shiny Happy People” out of my head today, singing the Kate Peirson (the B-52s) high harmony, even though I’m a tenor. Music is really helping during these Pandemic days.

    • December 5, 2020 at 9:52 am

      Thanks for reading, Chris. Glad you got some motivation from it. When our “Spotify Top 100 of 2020” was released this week, my daughter looked at mine and accused me of listening to the “same ol'” stuff. Not exactly. According to their summary of my listening for the year, I found 441 new artists! And listed to over 100 new genres (who knew there were that many?). The songs that were appearing at the top of my Top 100 however, were oldies, best defined as my “comfort music” – the mac and cheese or chicken soup of music. Yes, we certainly needed uplifting lyrics and energetic beats this year.


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