I’ll admit that it’s taken me a bit longer than I intended to get back in the game this semester; I blame it on winter break. After a solid month of rest and relaxation at home, it’s hard to readjust. Suddenly, I have to wake up early (maybe not early, but before noon), go to classes, read a seemingly endless number of dense articles, and pay attention to more deadlines than I really want to keep track of. Add in the bitter climax of the Poughkeepsie winter and my intense longing for home cooking and I think it’s understandable that I’m in something of a slump.
Have no fear, though, because things are looking up. Maybe it’s the fact that spring is less than a month away, but I like to think that my lifted spirits can be at least partially attributed to my trustworthy Comeback Playlist.
What’s a Comeback Playlist, you ask? Let’s start with “comeback.” To make a comeback implies that you’ve been down, but not out. Yes, it’s taken you a while to get back on your feet, but you will not be forgotten. You are back and better than ever, and a good Comeback Playlist should reflect this. It should make you want to spring into action, to get up and go. I highly recommend making your own comeback playlist for the days where you just need a musical pick-me-up. Here are my top five comeback songs to give you inspiration:
Mama Said Knock You Out—LL Cool J
This is perhaps one of my favorite old school rap songs. LL Cool J released it in 1991 in response to rumors that his career had reached a premature end. The song begins with the famous and memorable opening line, “Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years.” Between the infectious beat and the incredibly effective combination of trash-talk and shameless bragging, it’s impossible not to feel recharged when you hear this song. It’s the perfect opening number for an amazing comeback.
Flesh and Bone—The Killers
This song starts slow—so slow that you may not be sure it belongs in a playlist like this. Rest assured, though, it absolutely measures up. With The Killers’ trademark strong instrumental build-up, this song pulses with energy and spirit. The lyrics are poignant and relatable for anyone who’s ever faced a personal struggle. The song encourages you to face your demons and emerge triumphant. “What are you afraid of and what are you made of?” asks the song’s second hook. The very truth of the words lies in the title “Flesh and Bone.” We are all human, it reminds us. We all have fears, worries, and problems that seem too big to face on our own. This song serves to remind us that none of these things are insurmountable and we can always overcome them.
Love Is All Around—Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
Originally this song was released by Sonny Curtis as the mellow theme to the 1970s television series The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The muted instrumental and sweet lyrics made it a delicate and hopeful song perfectly suited to inspire a brighter outlook on life. Joan Jett’s 1996 cover offers a new spin on this old standard. First, the hard rock sound of the Blackhearts, as well as Joan Jett’s trademark guitar-playing, gives the song a tougher, fully charged edge. The mixture of Joan Jett’s rough voice and the sweet, inspiring lyrics are a magic combination. The song is both encouraging and dynamic, ending on a fantastically promising note: “You’re gonna make it after all.”
Every Little Gambino She Does Is Childish (Mash-up)—Childish Gambino, The Police, Paul Simon, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Mumford & Sons, Jonsi, Bon Iver
Usually I’m a little bit skeptical about massive mash-ups, but this one is absolutely flawless. It seamlessly combines seven distinct songs (Fire Fly by Childish Gambino, Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic by The Police, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon, Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, The Cave by Mumford & Sons, Sinking Friendships by Jonsi, and Towers by Bon Iver) into one smooth and rather uplifting blend. It’s definitely slower-paced than the other songs in this playlist, but somehow, it’s still a phenomenal comeback song. The intricate melody will have you swaying while the lyrics completely inspire an “eye of the tiger” mentality.
To the World—Kanye West and R. Kelly
To close out this playlist, I’ll really slow it down. This is the opening track from the 2012 collaboration album “Cruel Summer” by Kanye West’s record label G.O.O.D Music. It features two of hip-hop’s most controversial figures—Kanye West and R. Kelly—each doing what the do best. R. Kelly with his gentle and melodic voice creates the polished background for Kanye’s beat and reference-heavy wordplay. The mix is intoxicating and the product is excellent. The song flows easily while the lyrics tell us to forget our haters and focus on our own ambitions. Ultimately, the song is carefree and strong, everything a good comeback needs.