I missed the boat so long ago and I've been trying to move on.
August 12, 2012 8:15 PM   Subscribe

Most songs are about the artist's relationship... with other people. I'm looking for songs that are about the artist's relationship with him/herself.

Like most people, music is a form of therapy for me. I listen to it in order to understand and resolve my feelings, to be inspired, to move on, to speculate.

But lately I've been a little dragged down by the enormity of my music collection that seems to be either the artist celebrating a relationship, mourning a failed relationship, analyzing a relationship, etc. I've been single for what feels like forever, and there's no one I want or need to dwell on. I also don't have any exciting new crushes. So nothing in the "OMG LOVE YAY!" or "OMG LOVE BOO!" categories really resonates with me right now on a deeper emotional level. Actually a lot of love songs are really bumming me out, and not in a good way.

What is resonating with me are the songs in which the artist seems to be talking to him/herself, providing some encouragement or words of wisdom or general self-reflection. So I'm making a playlist of songs like this, and I'm looking for help from you!

Some examples of what I'm looking for:

Shake it Out by Florence + the Machine
Rabbit Heart by Florence + the Machine
The Riot's Gone by Santigold
The Boat by Tin Sparrow

Semi-contemporary is good. General artist or album recommendations in this vein are good. Thoughtful lyrics are good.

Thank you in advance! I'm already looking forward to the awesome playlist in my near-future.
posted by aintthattheway to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Paula Cole had a song called Me that may fit the bill.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:22 PM on August 12, 2012

I Don't Want To Be - Gavin DeGraw
posted by SisterHavana at 8:41 PM on August 12, 2012

This isn't a happy example, but Behind Blue Eyes came immediately to mind.
posted by Miko at 8:43 PM on August 12, 2012

Oh my god, the new Fiona Apple album.
posted by blue t-shirt at 8:45 PM on August 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

The new John Mayer album seems to be along those lines as well.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:47 PM on August 12, 2012

Girl, you need some Dr. Nina Simone.
posted by cashman at 8:51 PM on August 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

Bjork is great for this. From her latest album: especially "Thunderbolt."
posted by hermitosis at 9:07 PM on August 12, 2012

The entirety of Darren Hayes's The Tension and The Spark is essentially him dealing with depression. Relationships are referred to occasionally (mostly in the "love gwargh" sense) but it's all very inward looking - even the songs about relationships are more about how he's observing & dealing with the situation rather than his feelings for the other person.
posted by divabat at 9:18 PM on August 12, 2012

When I was a Boy, by Dar Williams.
posted by bunderful at 9:40 PM on August 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

My Way by Frank Sinatra
Pale by Within Temptation
Stand My Ground by Within Temptation
What Do You Hear in These Sounds by Dar Williams
posted by datarose at 9:57 PM on August 12, 2012

Two brilliant songs about the artistic process, frustration, inspiration, and pushing through:

Kate Bush, Sat In Your Lap
Gossip, Heavy Cross
posted by mykescipark at 12:45 AM on August 13, 2012

It's cliche but I love my go-to ladies below!

Love love Fiona! Here's from an older album but all of her stuff is great.

Ani DiFranco is a must have on the empowerment list.

Joni Mitchell did a lot of self reflection. My favorite line in this one is, "I'm just living on nerves and feelings...".

Lykke Li, Everybody But Me...

Cat Power, Lived in Bars

Other feel good tunes for me that are not about relationships:
Float On: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTAud5O7Qqk
The World at Large: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNxa9pFwimk
Wilco, Born Alone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTqEB0MyGdY
The Head and The Heart, Lost in My Mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xjoA4nYBD5U

Wow that's a lot! I hope you enjoy!! :)
posted by MyMind at 1:09 AM on August 13, 2012

The song The Middle by Jimmy Eat World was written by the author Jim Adkins to himself, encouraging him and his band not to be discouraged by the haters, the record companies, and the critical press. The refrain got the words "little girl" thrown in when it had to be marketable as a boy/girl song, and the video reinforces the romance interpretation, but it's not the real meaning of the song.
posted by Harvey Kilobit at 1:22 AM on August 13, 2012

Wonder - Natalie Merchant
posted by amyms at 7:19 AM on August 13, 2012

Is Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson too obvious?

Then how about:

Float On - Modest Mouse
Fight Test - The Flaming Lips
Won't Back Down - Tom Petty
I Got A Right Ta - Common (lots of rap, in fact)
The Opposite of Hallelujah - Jens Lekman (he's addressing his kid sister, not himself, and in some ways it's a bit bleak but in other ways it's just joyous. I think it fits the kind of thing you want.)
posted by guessthis at 8:03 AM on August 13, 2012

Don't Get Down by Hayden.
posted by burnmp3s at 10:33 AM on August 13, 2012

The Competition - Kimya Dawson
This Year - The Mountain Goats
Things the Grandchildren Should Know - Eels
posted by ckape at 11:59 AM on August 13, 2012

Don't ever tell anyone I passed this bit of doggerel on to another human, but here's Charlene's "Never Been To Me".

Forgive me.
posted by skypieces at 5:41 PM on August 13, 2012

In My Mind by Amanda Palmer
posted by Acheman at 4:49 AM on August 14, 2012

two of my favorites:

jenny, you're barely alive - rilo kiley
one man guy - rufus wainwright (this is a cover of his (his dad) loudon wainwright iii's song but i love it very much)
posted by quiteliterally at 10:52 PM on August 15, 2012

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