Musicians are full of sage wisdom and useful adages. How often do we turn to our favorite bands when life hands us a bouquet of shit? Breakup songs and power ballads are one thing, but when it comes to the daily trials of every day life, can our beloved musicians really be our guiding light? I have taken the liberty to show you that, yes, there are plenty of songs that can be your common-sense-compass to get you through the hairy ups and downs of stayin’ alive. Here they are in, in no particular order whatsoever:
On being a musician
Shut Up n’ Play Yer Guitar- Frank Zappa
Feeling whiny? Sluggish? Are you one of those slacker musicians who expects to just find fame through three hundred Facebook likes? Well, Frank Zappa says it best: Shut up n’ Play yer Guitar! (Though I woulda thrown a “fuckin” in there for good measure…)
Anyone Can Play Guitar – Radiohead
Are other musicians’ delusions of grandeur getting you down? Is megalomania threatening to drown you? Remember that playing guitar is not a permit that allows you to be an asshole, nor does it give you a bigger penis. Not necessarily, anyway.
Like Radiohead says, anyone, yes, anyone, can indeed play the guitar. And hey, armed with three chords and a bad attitude, you could be the next punk band. Or Bob Dylan.
On physical well-being
Don’t Smoke in the Bed – Peggy Lee
A great way to prevent house fires and lung cancer. Thanks Peggy!
Keep It Healthy- Warpaint
Just some general advice here. Keep it healthy. Can’t hurt.
Take Pills- Panda Bear
If all else fails, take your medicine. Whatever that medicine might be.
Hang onto your Ego – The Beach Boys
The first step in a long process of reverting from your asshole ways.
Free Your Mind and Your Ass will Follow – Funkadelic
Eloquently put, and about as profound as it gets
Talk to God – Goat
I don’t think Goat is referencing some fundamentalist, froth-mouth, inbred, white man’s God here, alright? If you’re feeling exploratory, pensive, introspective and intrigued with your spirit, chuck this on and have a lil’ dance.
On being politically active
Speak your Mind – Immortal Technique
An MC that bristles with ferocity to the point of making you feel exposed, the practice of unapologetically speaking your mind in a world full of hypocrites is essential.
People Have the Power – Patti Smith
Always did. Still do. We just forget sometimes. Here’s your daily reminder.
Get Ready for Love- Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
In between lovers? Desperately perusing the bars, websites or bowels of your hungry soul? How about you relax and put on this song. If you ain’t ready, you won’t find it.
Do What you Gotta Do – Nina Simone
Applicable in just about every circumstance. Keep it real. And do what you gotta do.
Musician and writer, Ceilidh likes to provoke your thoughts, make music, and challenge anyone who takes life too seriously. Her favorite quote from Lester Bangs says it best: “The real question is what to live for. And I can’t answer it. Except another one of your records. And another chance for me to write.”