BesserFernsehen, Medien, Musik, Inspiration & Wellbeing

10 Songs for Life & 2 Songs for Summer!

Can you choose 10 songs for life? Not really. 1,000 songs would be more appropriate, sure. But that would fill a whole book – maybe written by Nick Hornby, a fan of all kinds of „music lists“. Or maybe by Karl Lagerfeld, a music lover with more playlists than most of us will ever have – together! Or penned by Neil Gaiman – who could add his experience with musician wife Amanda Palmer (who happens to be part of my little list).

In Nick Hornby’s book & film „High Fidelity“, the main character Rob says: “Is it wrong, wanting to be at home with your record collection? It's not like collecting records is like collecting stamps, or beermats, or antique thimbles. There's a whole world in here, a nicer, dirtier, more violent, more peaceful, more colorful, sleazier, more dangerous, more loving world than the world I live in; there is history, and geography, and poetry, and countless other things I should have studied at school, including music.”

Here comes my very subjective little list (no ranking, of course):

1. FOREVER YOUNG
2. PIANO MAN
3. IN MY MIND
4. TIRED OF BEING SORRY
5. HELLO (TURN YOUR RADIO ON)
6. THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND
7. VIVA LA VIDA
8. SOME BETTER DAY
9. I HOPE YOU DANCE
10. SO MUCH MAGNIFICENCE

More on that in a minute.

If you‘re up for some new tunes for summer – here are two lovely songs written by myself:

FALLING INTO PRESENCE is about the trouble, routine & numerous illusions of everyday life – the chorus illustrates the relief, magic & power of „falling into presence“ (song & video clip feature the „King of Cool“, Steve McQueen): „When all the final curtains fall / Illusions tumble down the wall / You leave behind the painful past / And time is on your side at last / You realise the present‘s worth / You feel the naked heart of earth / And see it’s all inside of you / The universe, the love, the clue / And Rilke adds, with poet‘s tongue / The hawk, the storm, the song / And Rilke adds, with poet‘s tongue / The hawk, the storm, the song ...“

SUN DECK SONG: The song shows that we would do many things differently in life, if we had another chance to do so. That we would take a much bolder approach to life – as a private person and as a society. We are sitting in a big „Ship of Fools“, so to speak, and hope the trip goes well once again: „And if I had another life and chance / I wouldn’t miss to ask you for a dance / The famous „Ship of Fools“ would come alive / And all of our cravings may survive / I swear the doctor would not die / Between the sun deck and the sky / In a world beyond just right and wrong / I’m Ground Control and you are Major Tom …“

http://www.besser-fernsehen.ch/songs.html

Sun Deck Avenue is my pseudonym, because I like the word „sun deck“ and „Sun Deck Avenue“ sounds like a band name – without having a band!

I hope you enjoy. And here comes my little list for life:


1. FOREVER YOUNG

„Forever Young“ – the soundtrack of my teenage years, forever in my head & heart. „Forever young“ is still the mantra, the heartbeat of this world – yet more commercial than back in the days. At the end of the video the protagonists want to step out into the light. And people still want to step out into the light – in every possible way. And they don’t want to look too old & wrinkled „on the spiritual way“. They want to be forever young on the in- & outside. And the song „Forever Young“ still sounds as fresh as if the musicians just came out of the studio 30 minutes ago, not some 30 years ago …

In the film „Rebecca" by Alfred Hitchcock, Maxim de Winter says to his young second wife: „Promise me to never wear pearl necklaces – and to never turn 40." Yes, we yelled back in the days, we promise! The pearl part was an easy task – but we didn’t succeed on the age side, I’m afraid ... I recently attended a class reunion – after some 30 years! It felt like a journey through time, different people & faces, but still familiar somehow. It was a lovely evening – without reservation.

However: Five (!) former colleagues could not be found at all – they disappeared without a trace. Is this possible in the age of internet, Facebook & Co.? Apparently it is. At least for the rest of us they will stay forever young …

Forever Young – Alphaville
www.youtube.com/watch?v=t1TcDHrkQYg


2. PIANO MAN

Did Billy Joel write new songs in the last 30 years? At least we didn’t notice – but people still come to his concerts all over the world. And belt out tunes like the „Piano Man“, a song written some 40 years ago – but the superb music & lyrics still enchant the audience. „It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday / And the manager gives me a smile / 'Cause he knows that it's me / They've been comin' to see / To forget about life for a while“. „To forget about life for a while …“ So lovely, so true …

As a child, I had a piano teacher of the old school, Mrs. Frankenberger. She preferred difficult, not very melodious piano pieces with many black keys. When I forgot to close my mouth for concentration, she tapped my chin from below, and my teeth chattered slightly … When I suggested to rehearse the „Piano Man“, madam was not amused. I guess she made many students hate the piano – but for me it was the beginning of playing by ear. Whatever & whenever I liked – without just making the best out of something others threw at me.

„Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage“ described writer Anais Nin so accurately.

Piano Man – Billy Joel
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxEPV4kolz0


3. IN MY MIND

A charming little song about our weaknesses & insufficiencies. About everything we constantly want to eliminate & improve & optimise. We work our butt off to become & be someone, to represent something. Half of today’s life is a stage, a showroom, a goldfish bowl.

Working on our body, mind & image, i.e. „personal branding“ gets more & more important, if not essential in the modern society. „Brand yourself!“ is the modern battle call, show who you are and how you differ from the crowd. As a person and as a „brand“. As employee in the supermarket, in the advertising business or in financial services, as start-up entrepreneur, on a media stage or wherever.
Many people seem to be some kind of actor in their life. And have completely pushed aside the fact that our self-perception ultimately is nothing but an illusion. So often a painful illusion.

We forget about being ourselves, being a voice, not an echo. We forget to express – we are too busy to impress.


In My Mind – Amanda Palmer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9WZtxRWieM


4. TIRED OF BEING SORRY

Is it the Latino charme of Enrique Iglesias (inherited from father Julio) which made me choose this song? Who knows … But more likely it’s the groovy rhythm of this sing-along song, suitable especially for car trips at night! And yes: a dull drive can become a joy ride …

Sir Peter Ustinov – who liked to sing-along while driving – used to live at the Lake Geneva in Switzerland for many years. One day he got caught on the Swiss highway with almost 200 km/h – allowed are 120 km/h. „That was expensive“, he said, „but the police sent me a photo – me driving with a stupid expression of pure joy …“ Reminds me of musician Ry Cooder who puts it so accurately: „All the money in the world is spent on feeling good.“

The Scottish singer/songwriter Amy Macdonald even uses cars to write her songs. She likes to cruise around the Scottish Highlands in high-class cars while composing. And the result sounds pretty good – doesn’t it, „Mister Rock & Roll“ ...

Tired Of Being Sorry – Enrique Iglesias
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X86S5oZzzh4


5. HELLO (TURN YOUR RADIO ON)

„We're bingo numbers and our names are obsolete / Why do I feel bitter when I should be feeling sweet? (…) / Does anybody really listen when I speak? / Or will I have to say it all again next week? / Hello, hello, turn your radio on / Is there anybody out there? / Help me sing my song / La, la, la, life is a strange thing / Just when you think / you learned how to use it / it's gone“ – Not too bad a summary of our short earthly existance …

We all know this temporary disorientation, these emotinal roller coasters in an increasingly lunatic world. Nick Hornby puts it like that in „High Fidelity“: “I had a bad week. – What happened? – Nothing happened. I had a bad week in my head, that‘s all.”

No big deal. Things will eventually get better, become clearer – not only in the streets of London and not only in the heads of these two ladies. In the meantime a little help from two old American sayings: „Give up the hope that the past could have been any different.“ So true – it was the way it was. And: „Give up the need to know what happens tomorrow.“ Good things sometimes fall apart, so better things can fall together. And sometimes they just fall apart, and it hurts … and we have to go all the way through the hurt, the pain, the anger & confusion ... and eventually step out of the pits with renewed confidence & curiosity ... „You live out the confusions until they become clear,” so Anais Nin.

Hello (Turn Your Radio On) – Shakespears Sister
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJcqDdjl5MM


6. THE WINDMILLS OF YOUR MIND

„The Windmills of your Mind“ is one of the most covered songs of all time – there are countless cover versions from different eras. This charming little version from 1970 especially appeals to me – simple, pure & beautiful. It’s not necessary to constantly excel in lavishness, eccentricity and/or potential for scandal in music clips. Of course you can ride a wrecking ball naked, and of course you can think of actions increasingly crazy & extreme – but you can also change down 5 gears and simply touch your audience with music & presence. And still enchant 45 years later …

We all feel „The Windmills of our Mind“ day in, day out – some 60,000 thoughts a day keep our minds more than busy. „60,000 thoughts & things“, so to speak. Because in the Western World, we possess some 60,000 things. Each one of us, on average. Fascinating – as 60,000 is also the number of our daily thoughts, on average! How many of those 60,000 thoughts are positive, inspiring, helpful? Only 3 – 5% on average, let’s say some 3,000 positive thoughts. What about the rest? Almost 1/3 of our daily thoughts is neutral or helpful to others, and almost 2/3 are more or less useless or even damaging or painful.

So yes: It makes sense to think positive more often! But don’t exaggerate! Be true to yourself, to your feelings – notice them, accept them, don‘t suppress „bad“ feelings, don’t push them away. You have to feel & live your anger, pain, frustration etc. in order to get it out of your „system“ (mind, body, everything). Only afterwards you can really move on – unburdened. Trying to think positive all the time is clearly harming you in the long run. Everything in life has two sides. For Rilke – and many others since –, the beautiful was only „the beginning of the terrible“ – and vice versa. There are many things in life, one can not suppress, sugarcoat or change with just a little well-meant, oversimplified „positive thinking terror“.

The Windmills Of Your Mind – Colleen Hewett
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpWiEkHvpf0


7. VIVA LA VIDA

Yes, this song is partly stolen. And yes – there has been an „agreement“ behind the scenes. But „Viva La Vida“ remains a great song, and it was the most successful one of the year (of release) not without good reason. Unfortunately, it wasn’t me all the „hush-money“ went to – although I would have liked to write this song!

„Viva La Vida“ can help to focus more on the real important topics in life. It is certainly advisable to find a subject you care about – and you wholeheartedly feel others should care about, too. A subject where you can express yourself with as much of your skills & enthusiasm as possible. In such a vocation, you feel a sense of purpose, a sense of achievement. You feel you make a contribution, you can make a difference. Of course the world has not always waited for our concerns of the heart, and it can be hard to progress in this field. However, there are so many people out there who don’t even know what they want in life. But if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there – as they say. Maybe we have only played the part given to us by whomsoever. Maybe we have to imagine a new story for our life, a new „Vida“ – and start to live it.

„Viva La Vida“! Enjoy life, enjoy music. But don’t look to the music clips (and the celeb world in general) to tell you what’s happening in your life – be what’s happening! Be your own Breaking Story!

Viva La Vida – Coldplay
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvgZkm1xWPE


8. SOME BETTER DAY

We all need some consoling songs for trying times. We all need the vague hope that eventually we will see better days again, that emotionally we can survive tragedies & losses somehow … Music might comfort us in our darkest hours of grief & despair. Where the words end, pictures begin. And where the pictures end, music begins … „Turn your wounds into wisdom”, as the Indians used to say.

Recently my father Freddy died – some 20 years after my mother passed away. The funeral took place the week after Easter, and my parents are finally „reunited“ again after two decades, so to speak. My father was a constant in my life – so far and sadly not further. I was so grateful that I could at least contribute my own song „Falling into Presence“ at the funeral – although it hasn’t been written with this intention at all. The song line „When all the final curtains fall / Illusions tumble down the wall …“ fit perfectly, and so did the rest. Although it’s much more a song for the living than for the dead. It was a beautiful & sad & terrible funeral – all at the same time. RIP, Freddy – thanks for everything.

I realised I have a song „attached“ to every important person I lost in my life so far. Songs I listened to many times in the final days/weeks of the beloved person. Songs are good companions, I guess. Anywhere.

Some Better Day – I Am Kloot
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJET0Rf_fQo


9. I HOPE YOU DANCE

„I Hope You Dance …“ What a lovely song. And what a lovely motto for life – in every sense …

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder / You get your fill to eat but always keep that hunger / May you never take one single breath for granted / God forbid love ever leave you empty handed / I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean / Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens / Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance / And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance / I hope you dance ... / I hope you dance ... / I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance / Never settle for the path of least resistance / Livin' might mean takin' chances, but they're worth takin' / Lovin' might be a mistake, but it's worth makin' / Don't let some hell bent heart leave you bitter / When you come close to sellin' out reconsider / Give the heavens above more than just a passing glance / And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance / I hope you dance... I hope you dance / I hope you dance / I hope you dance / I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean / Whenever one door closes I hope one more opens / Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance / And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance / Dance ... / I hope you dance / I hope you dance ... / I hope you dance / I hope you dance / I hope you dance …

A couple of years ago I was present when musician Kuba Kawnik proposed to singer Rebecca Lowe – with this charming song involved. Not a bad omen, I guess … Rebecca herself, by the way, is a wonderful interpreter of „I Hope You Dance“. May it not just be a song for the two of them – but their life

I Hope You Dance – Lee Ann Womack
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RV-Z1YwaOiw


10. SO MUCH MAGNIFICENCE

In the song „In My Mind“ (no. 3) Amanda Palmer sings: „I still have a tattoo to get – that says ‚I’m living in the moment‘“

Of course we know that presence, that living in the moment is the center of our existence. We heard the good news „Live in the Here & Now“ and „Cherish the Moment“ time & time again – and symptoms of fatigue emerge. Not again, not now, don’t worry, we know it – but right now we have some urgent matters to take care of … Even in our recreation time when we could relax somewhat in the „Here & Now“, we move on in our ordinary „If‘s & But‘s Mode“. What kills us isn't one big thing, but the thousands of tiny obligations we can't turn down for fear of disappointing others.

Take a break from time to time and enjoy the beauty of nature if you can. Leave your duties & open issues for a moment and try to fall into presence. Words tend to fill the mind, pictures – especially nature – tend to clear it. Next best thing to spending some time outside to relieve stress is a „virtual mental health break“ – for example with this beautiful song:

So Much Magnificence – Miten & Deva Premal
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgN8bpLwlHE

Take your pleasures seriously, we all know the old saying. However, in the daily routine we usually find something more important, more urgent we need to do. At least we think so – and very often fun, pleasure & recreation fall by the wayside. However, there needs to be a balance in life. You can’t live by fun & pleasure only, either.

According to meditation teacher Jon Kabat-Zinn, „The real meditation is how you live your life“.

We control space – but we are strongly controlled by time. Time & figures curtail so many of us. Despite the fact that we know from Einstein & others that time is ultimately just an illusion. But it feels of course very real in everyday life. We need time as essential construct for our workaday life, for our living together in society. We need time as essential construct for our thinking, which includes past & future as we can only think in processes, in stories. We „sell“ our time for money – and with money we „buy back“ some time. And we constantly think we don’t have enough time: Turn over twice – and you face the end of the year. And once again so many important things have fallen by the wayside. We usually run in the no-time-mode and rarely in the my-time-mode.

We are longing for a watch which ticks slower and provides us with a good, holistic feeling (and that is not the „Apple Watch“, I’m afraid …).

„The measurable side of the world is not the world“, so philosopher Martin Seel, „it’s the measurable side of the world.“ Instinctively, we all know that …

Music can help us fall into presence. Not the kind of music which is forced upon us (almost) everywhere in public – but the kind of music we enjoy, we consciously want to listen to.

Music is a wonderful companion – anywhere.
Into presence, into summer.
Through all your life.

Let the music play!



„Falling into Presence“ & „Sun Deck Song“:
http://www.besser-fernsehen.ch/songs.html

„The Sopranos, Episode 87 – The Final Countdown“:
http://www.besser-fernsehen.ch/blog/entry/the-sopranos-episode-87-the-final-countdown.html

Some more inspiration in English:
(most of my blog posts are only available in German):
http://www.besser-fernsehen.ch/blog/entry/10-inspiring-thoughts-videos-for-the-holidays-1.html

Inspiring videos (right column, all the way down,
behind German titles mostly English videos):
www.besser-fernsehen.ch




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