Life loves to throw punches – to the gut, to the heart, to self-esteem and sometimes right to the face. There’s always a moment of stunned, when you sit on the floor, looking around and wondering where those birds and stars came from. Then you shake it off and start to rise. On a good day you’ll make it up to stand wobbly kneed and on guard. Other days you make it up as far as one knee and there’s a second blow – a roundhouse kick to the head. Or maybe that’s just me.
Either way, there are tons of songs to go along with the post-punch rising. These are just some of my favorites that span the different types of strikes.
1. Tuesday Morning – Cowboy Junkies
A punch to the heart – for a lot of people, this is the hardest to rise up from. Not only is it a punch, but quite often the punch is accompanied by a swipe at the rest of your world too – there are habits to break, stuff to divide. But the rising always starts with one thing – the discovery of one tiny aspect of life that is better. Even if it is just a little more room in bed.
2. 32 Flavors – Ani DiFranco
Sometimes, some punches sting a bit more than others. And it seems when those are delivered, there is always anger swelling beneath the surface as you rise up. Ani has that nice little rumble of anger in this one.
3. Beautiful – Eminem
Love, love, love this song. And viewing it as from father to daughter, makes me love it a bit more – it is some of the most sound advice a parent can impart.
4. True – Concrete Blonde
This one’s been bringing me up after a punch since before high school. When you’re a bit left in those years, there’s a lot of mockery, a lot of punches. But I refused to fold, and just kept humming this refrain.
5. Rose – A Perfect Circle
Here’s Maynard James Keenan again. This song was on repeat after a particularly nasty post maternity leave job punch. “I rose, I roared,” became my mantra for the year and a half it took me to find a new, better job. The slap was viscous, but it led me to the unicorn job I have now – working from home by my own schedule.
6. Underdog – Spoon
This song will always remind me of a business convention I used to attend several times a year. Full of extremely powerful men telling their disciples how to get rich, rich, rich and live the life they’ve always wanted. But I’ve seen one of those powerful men sneer at a Dunkin Donuts clerk who took the moment to rummage a round under her counter to produce a pair of shoes she gave to the barefoot homeless man waiting nearby. He may be powerful, but that girl has a good heart – and I always hoped that good things happened for her.
7. Survive – Cake
Yes, I am old enough to know this was originally Gloria Gaynor. But I don’t care. I have a great appreciation for Ms. Gaynor, but Cake delivers this song in a tone that just screams snide, and when I get punched, my snide usually makes an appearance. Lethal sarcasm too – I’m just so cheery after a punch.
8. I Won’t Back Down – Tom Petty
I love Tom Petty – he’s like my secret sin. Recovering Goth chicks should not like Tom Petty. But I always feel like I’ve won Radio Roulette when this comes on.
9. Clint Eastwood – Gorillaz
I love the psyche talking here.It’s like hearing your own warring internal monologue.
10. Damn It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta – Geto Boys
I am so not a gangsta. Pasty white chick from the sticks with lingering streaks of both hippie and goth seeping out. But I’ve seen Office Space. I’ve wanted to go all baseball bat mad on a piece of equipment. Sometimes it’s just about the attitude, and attitude, I have. So wait! Maybe I am a gangsta. Awesome. I will be laughing about that for the rest of the day.