ishmaels corner

Go-to Songs for Those ...


A few years ago PR Moment asked me to pontificate on a playlist of songs that put a bounce in my step and might — emphasize on the “might” — do the same for others.

I decided to play these songs over the weekend during a catchup on loose ends.

It turns out that they still work. Clicking the songs will take you to Spotify for a listen.


quarter rest notation


“Donne” by Neri Per Caso

I discovered this Italian a cappella band during a stop in Singapore. My favorite album from Neri Per Caso, Le Ragazze, houses my favorite track “Donne” which showcases the band singing at 110 miles an hour like scat only with real words. As an aside, listening to music in another language means the lyrics don’t intrude on your concentration.

“Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen

I can’t listen to Springsteen without rewinding the tape to 1978 when I ended up on stage during his concert in Tucson, Arizona (a story for another time). There’s something about the start of Thunder Road with the harmonica in the background — that is a harmonica right? — that automatically puts me in a good mood. At the end I’m in a convertible with the air whooshing by. Life is good.

bruce springsteen record in bin with other vinyls

“Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles

Hey, I’m a baby boomer so of course the Beatles make the list. This song, which showed that George Harrison’s songwriting skills were equal to Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s, oozes optimism. It can also dislodge writer’s block.

“L.A. Is Burning” by Bad Religion

You might be wondering how a song about a city on fire puts a bounce in my step. The short answer: I don’t know. While I don’t often listen to punk — can’t discern the lyrics from most punk bands — there’s something catchy about this song and lyrics (which I can discern) that poke at the media:

“This is not a test
Of the emergency broadcast system
When Malibu fires and radio towers
Conspire to dance again
And I cannot believe the media Mecca
They’re only trying to battle reality, catch it on prime time, story at nine
The whole world is goin’ insane

“Us” by Regina Spektor

I am a huge fan of the movie “500 Days of Summer,” using the opening narration as part of our storytelling curriculum, “show, don’t tell.” The movie’s killer sound track includes the song “Us” with what sounds like an entire orchestra paving the way for Spektor’s voice. By the end of the song, you believe “they made a statue of us.”


quarter rest notation


At some point I’m going to write a post that ties lyrics to happenings in PR consultancy world.

Like this verse from a Beatles ’69 tune:

“You never give me your money.
You only give me your funny paper”

… what usually happens when an agency takes stock in lieu of cash from a startup to fund the communications campaign.


More to come.


Leave a Reply