What am I listening to.

Music is one of the most important things in my life. Throughout all of the best and worst times, music has been there. It is capable of both changing my mood almost instantly and reflecting my feelings so perfectly.

As a child of the early 90s, I grew up with a love of pop-punk. Green day, Blink-182, Jimmy eat world; these are the soundtrack of my life. Like most people as I’ve grown older a wider variety of styles have begun to appeal to me. The grandiose sound of Angels and Airwaves is a particular favourite, although that might owe a lot to my love of a certain Tom Delonge.

My current go to album though, is one that is a bit of a left field choice for myself. A group that I have only recently discovered. Pale Waves’ Mind makes noises is this album. There is a strong mix of melodic female vocals, strong thumping bass lines and grand, distorted guitars. This mixed with just the right amount of electronic sounds and a subtle Cure like element make them one of the more interesting bands I have come across lately.

I was first made aware of this act when I heard a cover they did of Dua Lipa’s One kiss in the Radio 1 live lounge. The original song is not one I am personally in to, but I loved the cover.


Creating a stess reducing playlist

The effects of music on the brain are well known and have been documented by scientists for years. Listening to music is known to activate our whole brains, so the potential for it to modify our moods is great.

By thoughtfully selecting music, you can create playlists that will allow you to combat stress, evoke positive emotions, increase relaxation as well as many other positve benefits. The starting point is to determine what your current state of mind is and what you would like to acheive instead. Using this goal, it is important to gradually build in the change, starting with songs that empathise with your current mood; before slowly building towards your goal.

Using familiar music is a good place to start here. Songs that you are used to listening to will evoke certain emotional responses based on your previous associations with them. Memories are stimulated by music, therefore we can be transported back in time in an instant through music. Based on your ideas of songs that you know have a certain impact on your mood, suppliment them with songs that have similar characteristics.

One important thing is to never use music you don’t like. This is only going to have a negative impact on your mood. If, after creating your playlist, you find you don’t react the way you intended to a certain piece of music, remove it.

If you are using music to try to relax, consider using instrumental music. When listening to songs with lyrics, we use a lot of our brains trying to process these lyrics. Lyrics can also increase the stimulation of memories which may not be what you want when trying to relax.

The most important thing is to trust your own music intuaition. You will have almost certainly discovered songs in the past that make you cry, or ones that motivate you to push a little bit harder while exercising. If this is the case then you are already aware of the huge impact that music can have on your brain. Trust in this knowledge and you will be able to harness the power of music to cmobat stress, improve your motivation or help you relax.


13 hour drive (music project)

For the last 2 and a bit years I have been working on and off (mainly off if I’m being honest) on a music project under the name 13 hour drive. This name comes from a lyric in the song There is by the band Boxcar Racer. As this is a longterm project, I will post what I have so far here. Hopefully, a bit more exposure will provide the push I need to really drive this and a couple of other creative projects forward.

Here is the music video for the first song finished for the long-planned 13 hour drive ep.



Photo by Stephen Niemeier from Pexels

Surviving the morning.

Some mornings I am so full of energy that I will get up 3 hours before work. These mornings I will go for a run, have a healthy breakfast and then walk to work. Other days I get up less than an hour before I need to be at work, skip breakfast, challenge the world record for the fastest ever shower and buy my coffee from one of those vending machines at the petrol station. Then there are the days after the sleepless nights, the slightly dead look that I rock up at work sporting. Hair that looks like one of those adverts for surf style gel, only without the effort. Eyes that are so bloodshot that you would be excused for confusing me with a zombie and a level of weirdness that goes far beyond that which I usually exhibit.

The only constant in all of these mornings, and truth be told the rest of my quiet time, is music. The music I listen to varies greatly with my moods, and often has a huge impact on it. Although I can be guilty of allowing myself to wallow in my less positive mind on occasion, because of the music I choose to listen to at that moment, in general it is one of the few things that can comp change my mindset.

This morning was a wet and dreary one. I got up about and hour and a half before work, showered, had some tea and then drove to work. Feeling reasonably good, I decided I would allow fate to choose the soundtrack of my morning, and so it was that I was treated to the delights of My chemical romance.

I have always found it amazing how music can evoke such strong feelings. Take the song “I don’t love you” from the “Black parade” album, I can’t quite pinpoint what it is, but something about this song just makes any feelings of stress or anxiety about the coming day disappear.

This is why I would recommend listening to music every morning. Create your own life soundtrack, think of it as a film, how dull would your favourite movie be without music? Don’t let your life be like a dull, silent film.

To buy the Black parade album mentioned in this post click here: Black parade – Amazon UK