Being a creatively-minded person isn’t always the easiest life. In addition to the pressures of “the process” and that perpetual quest for inspiration, you have the actual “lifestyle” to contend with. The late nights, the deadlines, the stress of your day job (it’s ok, most of us have one), the pressure to succeed and the sacrifices you make to get there—all these things weigh heavily on “creatives.” It can be overwhelming at times, and in those moments, it probably makes you question whether all this time spent on your writing/music/photography/etc. is worth it. The following 8 songs are the ones I listen to in such moments.
These songs are the ones I play when I’m tired and have to go cover a show. They’re the ones I put on repeat when I’m on a deadline, and they’re the ones I play to remind myself that being single isn’t as bad as being uncreative. These songs will not inspire you. They are not motivational songs. They are not songs to get you pumped up. (If that’s what you’re looking for, I have five words for you: “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” Boom. You’re welcome.) These are songs for when you simply need to put your head down and plow ahead.
“No Church in the Wild”, Kanye West
You could probably fill this entire list with Yeezy songs, but I’m going to limit it myself to just this one. Dark, moody, brooding—we know that feeling pretty well, don’t we?
“Beast”, Nico Vega
Sometimes you just need to get good and pissed off, and Aja Volkman’s snarling vocals will definitely put you in that mood.
“Take a Walk”, Passion Pit
While you may not have immigrated to this country and built a business empire (if you have, props to you), I think all of us can identify with the perils of chasing the American Dream… and how overwhelming it can be if you fail.
“Make The Money”, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Macklemore has a lot of songs about being a struggling artist and staying true to your artistic principles, but “Make The Money” sums it up most succinctly.
“Applause”, Lady Gaga
The one and only time I had to interview for a blogging gig, I listened to this song on repeat for the entire drive to and from the meeting. If you don’t think you’re looking for external validation, you’re lying to yourself. We all live for the applause; Lady Gaga’s just the only one who’s honest about it.
“How You Like Me Now”, The Heavy
People will doubt you. People will criticize you. People may even break up with you. So when you finally make it, play this song.
“Hunger and Thirst”, Typhoon
A haunting little number (by a band from my hometown of Portland) about the dark side of Writer’s Block. I may not be a songwriter, but when Kyle Morton sings, “I’m hoping for a song that will come to me while I’m asleep,” I think, “Yeah, I feel ya, bro.”
Thomas Mars may be talking about relationships and the perils of fame (which I suppose is pertinent, too), but I choose this song to close out the list because it’s also a good reminder that most of us who create do so for consumption. It’s not always an easy process, but you’re doing it to make the world a more interesting, entertaining place. Keep at it.