The Morning Ritual to Fight Off Negativity

It’s a beautiful day! Smile!

One day I decided I don’t want to be negative anymore. It was after I had pondered crashing a car into the trees on my way back from a terrible encounter with a client. I didn’t know how can one suddenly stop being negative. But I knew I needed some tools. And being a music freak I am, I decided to start with a playlist.

Most of the time I try to start my day playing a wake-up playlist consisting of various feel-good tunes. This playlist is not limited only to the time of an actual wake-up. I like to listen to it prior to potentially stressful situations (like a visit to a particularly troublesome client) as well. Starting the day with a smile on your lips can help your body and mind to follow with positive attitude. It’s therefore a part of my morning routine.

Of course, the choice of tracks would be different for every person out there, but I’d like to share with you my compilation. Keep in mind this playlist changes over time. Sometimes I add things to it. Sometimes I change the order to avoid boredom. It lives its own life as my responses to certain tracks can change.

I usually press play when entering the bathroom. This way the tracks follow me during my daily grooming activities. But it works great in other settings as well. All that’s important is to find a selection of tracks that will make you smile. Your smile should be wide and wild. And contagious. Keep this memory of your smile with you all day long. That’s one of my tricks.

Here’s what I have.

Welle:Erdball “Welle:Erdball” (from “Die Wunderwelt der Technik”)

I have no sensible reason why it’s here. I like the form of the introduction to a radio programme. Maybe it’s my fondness for theatricals. This way I can imagine a personal programme playing just for me. Silly, isn’t it? It opens the day and it opens the playlist. Then…

The Cog is Dead “Prepare for Adventure”

The very first sounds and words set my mood for good! I am mentally preparing for a great adventure waiting for me in the day.

Personal note: this one has such a powerful effect that it helped me break the record twice. When I was preparing for a plank challenge I often put on my headphones, turned on music and started with the exercise. There were two situations when I was reaching my limits and “Prepare for Adventure” started playing. When confronted with this track I immediately gained the strength needed to get past the fatigue. This is how I managed to conquer a 12 minute plank.

Roxette “How Do You Do!”

When this one plays I am usually past my shower. Per’s

I see you comb your hair, give me that grin

brings a huge smile on my face. The great part comes with a chorus.

How do you do […] the things that you do.
No one I know could ever keep up with you.

Each time I listen to these words I want to be that person. Already it’s hard for people to keep up with my crazy ideas most of the time.

Queen “It’s a Beautiful Day”

I guess this does not need any special explanation. Pretty much each and every verse is self-explanatory.

See for yourself:

It’s a beautiful day
The sun is shining
I feel good and no-one’s gonna stop me now, oh yeah
It’s hopeless — so hopeless to even try

Personal note: when I was around 10 years old I got my first money as a birthday present. I went with that money to a local music store and bought “Made in Heaven” on a cassette. I still have this very cassette.

Irene Cara “Fame”

This one is one of the songs I recall from the TV when I was a kid. The “Fame” TV series was playing on one of Polish channels and the song stuck in my head. I remember absolutely nothing from the series itself. When I grew up I came to understand the lyrics and the song started to become something of a credo for me.

The lyrics are written as affirmations. We see through them a person willing to overcome all the obstacles that may prevent her from reaching her goals. There are no “wants” or “wishes”, only affirmative statements about the planned future.

I’m gonna live forever
I’m gonna learn how to fly 
I feel it coming together
People will see me and cry
I’m gonna make it to heaven
Light up the sky like a flame
I’m gonna live forever
Baby, remember my name

Absurd Minds “The Focus”

I have to admit I like to think of myself as an artist. A creator. I write as a manifest of my creative needs.

This track shows my feelings towards creating. The chorus says it all (I admit I rarely disintegrate my creations, I guess I am too weak for that as yet). And the melody itself is quite catchy.

A godlike act I create creation.
I experience it, then I disintegrate it.
I’m the viewer, the one who creates creation
To experience it and then disintegrate it.

Vintersorg “E.S.P. Mirage”

Honestly, I have no idea how did it get here. But the truth is, it has some positive vibe in the chorus. This track gives my mood a positive boost and that’s what counts.

Lindsey Stirling “The Arena”

This one is first and foremost about the quote that inspired the title. It’s not that the track itself is bad or less important. It is still a great tune and the dancing violinist is basically pure joy.

But back to the quote:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

By: Theodore Roosevelt

Röyksopp “What Else is There”

This one I should have learned to hate. When I began my studies I used to live with a friend of mine. We shared the same room and as far as entertainment is concerned we had books and his hi-fi. What we lacked, though, was records to play. All we got (besides the various radio stations of which only III Program Polskiego Radia ever played) was “Piła Tango” from Strachy na Lachy (got terribly bored of it) and some compilation from which the only track I remember was this one.

I recall hearing it thousands of times, though it was probably played much less. After all we lived there for not more than half a year and most of the time we spent at the university. By all the known laws I should have been disgusted with it after hearing it so many times almost on repeat. But the truth is I always liked it and I still like it.

Why is it here? It’s a mystery to me as well. I never mentioned that there’s a method in my madness.

Émilie Simon & Charlie Winston “Ballad of the Big Machine”

Not much to say about it. A great and pleasant duet. Good mood guaranteed for me.

Machinae Supremacy “Kings of the Scene”

MaSu is one of the bands I have organised a tour for. I like how they combine the metal sound with the SID synthesiser (as heard in Commodore 64 games). I’ve chosen this particular track because I like the chorus lyrics. Our past is buried behind us but we build our future now. Nothing is eternal. Neither our glories nor our failures.

Note: besides being a Machinae Supremacy singer, Robert Stjärnström also writes.

Rotersand “Electric Elephant”

Each time I hear it I think of Nantes. I love elephants so the idea of an electric elephant (do androids dream of such?) seems pleasant. Good cheerful tune with Hathi the Silent’s bretheren as a subject.

Helium Vola “Selig”

During my Grand Tour in 2017 I was at Deine Lakaien concert in Gewandhaus Leipzig. The gig lasted almost 3h30m and featured two mini-concerts. Side-projects of Ernst Horn (Helium Vola) and Alexander Veljanov (Veljanov) played twice as an intermezzo.

This reminded me of how great Helium Vola is. I haven’t listened to the band for quite some time before the concert. Somehow it imprinted in my memory an impression of a more serious medieval band than Qntal so I kept playing Qntal now and then, rarely visiting Helium Vola.

This changed when I heard “Selig” played live. I think the tune is cheerful enough to make it on my morning playlist.

Gorillaz “Feel Good Inc.”

This one came to me when I was yachting with a group of friends. The title basically says it all, but what actually hooked me to this was the lines:

Don’t stop, get it, get it
Peep how your captain’s in it
Steady, watch me navigate,

We were sailing on a boat and watching how our captain navigated. We lost our companions in separate yachts, we reunited, then we lost them again. Then we declared a naval warfare with all we got, mostly tomatoes and eggplants. I think we might have even boarded the hostile vessel. Great adventure!

Mesh “Taken for Granted”

I knew about Mesh’s existence for quite a long a time, but haven’t really known their works.

Things changed when VNV Nation was playing at a festival that coincided with my birthday. One of the other bands performing that night was Mesh and I remember having really positive feelings about them. The song that stuck inside my head was “Taken for Granted”. I like it because of two things, and I interpret them the way that is convenient to me.

I just can’t take for granted, all the things I did before

things change and people change as well. Taking anything for granted and not caring for it is the easiest recipe for thedisaster. We should be grateful for what we have instead of focusing on what we haven’t.

I need to start again, take me far away

Dead or Alive “You Spin Me Right Round (Like a Record)”

The stalker’s anthem. I have it here, because of its HI-NRG vibe. The point of a morning playlist is not only to make me smile but also to wake me up. Cold shower and this tune are guaranteed to do the trick.

Beastie Boys “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”

Similar origin to the aforementioned “Feel Good Inc.”. I don’t remeber now was it the same yachting trip or maybe another one. Point is we were going to the lake, driven by Katarzyna Korcewicz in a Honda Civic. We were listening to music far too loud. Playlist was rather eclectic so when we were almost at our destination Sisters of Mercy made way for the Beastie Boys.

We arrived with screeching brakes, pulled down window and with “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” blasting from the inside of the car. I think there’s no way we passed unnoticed. Since then this track is a travel anthem.

Lindsey Stirling “Roundtable Rival”

This girl again? Well, I have a confession to make. When I was originally setting up this playlist I put Roundtable Rival, since this one is actually something that lifts my spirits on itself.

Soon afterwards, at a gig in Poznań, I recalled the openining quote from“The Arena”. So “Roundtable Rival” got pushed to the end with “The Arena” taking its place.