Congratulations. You woke up today, and you decided to go for it. Maybe you’re finally asking out your crush, rejection be damned. Perhaps you’re going for that raise or promotion. Or maybe you’re gonna say “Fuck it” and quit to pursue your creative dream full time.
And because I believe in you (and also because I like to make playlists), here are 15 songs to get you pumped as you go about killin’ it today.
**While I’m not the boss of your ears or life, I highly recommend listening in this order.**
What better place to start than “The Middle”? The wordplay alone justifies it. But the message is relevant as hell! No journey worth taking starts without a little self-doubt, and Jimmy Eat World’s classic hit is here to tell you that it’s all right. It’s only the middle of the ride—everything will be just fine.
Now it’s time to get this motivational show on the road. Say what you will about Imagine Dragons, but this is a pretty on-point song when it comes to recognizing that the road ahead is going to be rough. But as long as you stay true to who you are, you’ll make it to the other side.
This song has such a great emotional build, and it’s taking the next step from the above tune by saying, “Well, if I don’t do it now, I never will.” (It even ends with singer Brandon Boyd repeatedly crooning “It’s time.” Symmetry!) This song is also an answer to anyone who might come at you asking, “What are you going and changing things up for?”
Keep sticking it to the naysayers; refuse to accept their rules and limitations. There’s no better poster child for this than Elphaba from the Broadway production of Wicked.
I’m going with the pop single version, which only features Idina Menzel. As much as I love the OG (Original Glinda) Kristin Chenoweth, I actually really love this version too because it includes a sound bite from another one of Elphaba’s songs—“My future is unlimited.” And you still get the vocal run at the end, so win-win!
Do you even need an explanation? If yes: Elphaba’s gravitational defiance turned her into a comet, and now she’s fire and light, ready to burn down the world with her brightness if need be.
Let’s be real. This isn’t the best Destiny’s Child song. But damn, does it belong on this playlist.
This IS one of Christina’s best songs, and much like “Survivor,” this is about using your haters as fuel. What better way to piss them off than by flourishing under their gaze, and then thanking them for their influence?
There’s literally no way to have a motivational playlist without Kanye. The man is confidence personified. Questionable lines about lesbians aside, the obvious lyric to focus on is “That that don’t kill me can only make me stronger.”
Now that you’re experiencing Kanye levels of arrogance, tackle your goal without giving a single fuck about what your critics might say. “If you don’t like it, take a long walk off of the shortest pier you can find,” sings William Beckett, and that’s how we should approach more things.
On your way to greatness, take time to give thanks to the people who helped you get there. Eminem, Royce da 5’9”, and Bruno Mars really know how to make a musical toast to friends, so raise your glass (or lighters).
I’m not gonna lie. This was one of the first songs I thought of. Taking a bit of a narrative shift, but coming off Bruno’s vocals quite nicely, this Canadian diva is inviting someone to take a chance with her, no matter the consequences. It’s the perfect song for when you’re waffling over a romantic risk.
Once again, I can’t lie to you: I don’t think I like the Beatles all that much—with or without Kanye. I’ve liked covers more than the originals, and I swear to God, if I hear “Blackbird” one more time, I will retaliate. But this is a good’un, and it fits the theme. Your long journey, ignited by a single “What if,” is coming to an end—hopefully the sun’s shining.
And Florence can confirm: You made it! The dog days are over, the dog days are done, and you lived to sing about it. Success!
DUH, y’all. Just duh.
“Sometimes in life, you just gotta say I don’t give a damn.” This selection is mostly to give you a laugh, but honestly, if you don’t get a little pumped for your next excursion down the “What if” highway, are you even alive?