by Max Sirak
This month, in the midst of my grief and loss, I decided to self-medicate.
No, not like that. I didn’t go on some sort of drug-fueled bender. Nor did I delve the depths of the bottle. Instead, I took some of my own medicine.
What I mean is, throughout my life, whenever a person I cared about was down in the dumps, my go-to move was to make them a mixtape. In high school this was because a friend was going through a breakup. Until last week, the most recent mix I made for a friend was over the loss of a pregnancy.
However, a handful of days ago, I decided to do for myself what I’d always done for others. Meet “It’s Gonna Be A Good Day,” the music-baby I made for me.
It’s 53% hip hop.
There’s some language that may offend.
But, should you happen to find yourself with an open mind and the desire to have a good day, I encourage you to give it a spin. Who knows? You might like it. And it might work.
It did for me.
“Let’s begin now.” Simple uplifting piano. “I woke up this morning and I said, ‘You know, instead of waiting for a good day to happen, I just said look…’”. Kids singing. “Enjoy your 24. Do your thing. Rep’ your hood.”
Q: What’s the best thing about Tweezer?
A: The Twe-prise.
That’s a joke for a very few.
This is a live recording from a Phish show. The song is one they typically play as a encore. Notice how the guitars and piano seem to push each other forward in the beginning and then the whole track explodes with the cymbals and drums. Yeah, Phish.
There’s something about this track that’s like a nice, long exhale. Wispy air sounds fade from left to right and back again, soft female vocals, and some wisdom from Grouch – yep. “Well you can make any day the greatest day…”
The Show Goes On
A little bit more production on this track. There’s a lot here. Don’t think too hard. Just close your eyes and pay attention to the somatic senses the song supervises.
This track is old enough to legally drink in the US.
“I got so much funky shit inside my brain. I couldn’t explain. I couldn’t explain. You wouldn’t understand. I couldn’t explain…”
It’s time for some electric guitar, don’t you think? Play it, Mick. David Bowie is like mashed potatoes and meatloaf, my musical comfort food. “Keep your ‘lectric eye on me, babe.”
Can you feel it? In your heart? In your soul? Right now? What’s happening around you doesn’t matter. This song isn’t about being in love with something specific. It’s about making the choice to cultivate an inner-loving-feeling you can carry with you wherever you go.
Doin’ It Again
Such a beautiful stripped-down production. John Legend on keys. ?uestlove laying down the drums. A little bass and plenty of space for Blackthought to speak. “Forever grimy.” (I see you, cuz.)
The chorus says it all. “Good people. Good lovin’. Good music in my life it makes me happy.”
Keep Running Away
Holy hand drums! Hello, horns. Good god. This is some fiery funk from a dude named Clifford. “Can’t you feel it coming? You know it’s a special treat.” Yes it is, Clifford. Yes it is.
“This goes out to anybody whoever felt like sometimes the world just wasn’t meant for you…” I think it’s safe to say we’ve all felt like this a time or two, but you know what? “It’s okay to fall down off your horse, but you gotta keep it movin’.”
I Will Not Apologize
As a self-avowed, life-long people pleaser who’s just now coming to terms with the truth, there’s something I find really satisfying about this track. Guess what? I don’t care if you don’t like it. Or me. Plus one of Fela’s baselines? Sold.
After a little self-asserting anger, feel how light those keys are. They sound so good “even the birds are bumping.” (Love you, John.) “Sometimes you’ve gotta give in to win.” Ain’t that the truth?
Listen Here, Cold Duck Time
Didn’t see the Latin jazz coming, did you? That’s the beauty of the mix. Give Pancho a chance. The man not only has something to say, but does it with some pizazz. “Everything I do gon’ be funky from now on.” Embrace your funk. You know you want to.
Run [I’m a natural disaster]
Every time I hear this song I feel like I should be in a high school musical. So, I’m on stage, right? Just an extra, but it’s one of the big numbers. When it gets to the chorus, everyone in the cast faces the audience and starts running in place. Then we throw up our arms with the biggest jazz hands and brightest spirit fingers as the children shout.
Redemption. Rebirth. It’s about finally feeling the light again. As a guy who’s gone through some dark days this summer, “They don’t know. They don’t know. They don’t know. What we’ve been through…,” speaks to my soul.
This track is over 12 minutes long.
Skip to the next song after the 3:00 minute mark.
We’re only here for the first quarter. Once Blueprint starts thanking people and giving love, it’s time to go.
“The experience you gained should be admired – not just whether you lose or win – ‘cause even gold must go through fire only to become brand new in the end .”
Another live track, this time from STS9. There’re no words, but there’s a lot of mood. Once it drops down to just the piano and then the other instruments start coming back until the build? You’re damn right. As simple as it sounds, I think the uplifting guitar strum on the fours might be my favorite part.
In the end, it comes down to belief. Belief in brighter days. Belief in yourself. Belief in your plans. Belief in your friends and family. Belief in love. So often, when in the throes of grief, these things feel so far away…
There ya go.
My “I’m Gonna Have A Good Day” playlist.
If you like it – rock it out.
And remember – instead of waiting around for a good day to happen – just say, “Look, It’s gonna be a good day,” and make it one.