What songs do you recommend about survival against odds or in the face of adversity?
March 25, 2006 9:28 AM   Subscribe

What songs do you recommend about survival against odds or in the face of adversity? I am putting together a CD of songs to remind me I can push through anything. Examples of what I am looking for are: 18 Wheeler by Pink I Get Knocked Down (Tubthumping) by Chumbawumba I Will Survive by Cake (I like their version best, sorry) Any suggestions are helpful, but I am not particularly interested in breakup songs. If it is not a song where you can not sum it up into something along the lines of "Bring it!" or "Is that the best you got?" then it is probably not what I am after.
posted by slavlin to Media & Arts (51 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Queen's "We Are the Champions"?
posted by Marit at 9:38 AM on March 25, 2006

Scorps, Someday Is Now.
Eight steps till I reach the summit, my line breaks and I fall down the rocky terrain
My bones are broken into pieces, my mind can't wait to get up and do it again
I can feel I'm getting stronger, the longer I'm pushed to the limit...

posted by Wolfdog at 9:40 AM on March 25, 2006

(1) Why not "The Distance" by Cake rather than "I Will Survive"?

"The arena is empty, except for one man, still driving and striving as fast as he can"
"The sun has gone down and the moon has come up, and long ago somebody left with the cup, but he's striving and driving and hugging the turns, and thinking of someone for whom he still burns"

(2) Cheesy as it sounds, "You're the Best," from The Karate Kid. Bill Conti is the artist (I think). That song rules.
posted by AgentRocket at 9:44 AM on March 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Most of Andrew WK's lyrics are along these lines - "Got To Do It" (from "I Get Wet") is a good example, but this is a pretty common theme in his songs.

We were nothing but kids on top
Never gonna stop
We never let down
We gotta keep up
Keep our heads on 'high'
Never gonna die
'Cos we gotta keep it alive

posted by Gortuk at 9:46 AM on March 25, 2006

"Eye of the Tiger"
posted by box at 9:46 AM on March 25, 2006

"Like a Rock" by Bob Seger
posted by scubbadubba at 9:51 AM on March 25, 2006

Christina Aguilera - Fighter
Destiny's Child - Survivor

Also, a lot of Pantera's entire output is based around this mindset.
posted by fire&wings at 9:53 AM on March 25, 2006

The Distance, duh. Forgot that one. I found another one myself, Nina Gordon has a cover of Straight Outta Compton by NWA on her site and that is a mind scramble if I ever heard one. But it is a good break point for the playlist, I think.
posted by slavlin at 9:54 AM on March 25, 2006

The entire Bend it Like Beckham soundtrack?
posted by jdroth at 9:55 AM on March 25, 2006

"Invincible" by Pat Benetar. That song always get me revved up.

While we are on Ms. Benetar, there's also "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" and "You Better Run"
posted by kimdog at 10:06 AM on March 25, 2006

Gonna Fly Now (from the first Rocky movie). Ends up playing in my head almost every time I go jogging.
posted by teleskiving at 10:11 AM on March 25, 2006

Stan Bush - "The Touch" from the Transformers movie.

From the lyrics:

"You never bend, you never break, you seem to know
just what it takes. You're a fighter
It's in the blood, it's in the will, it's in the mighty
hands of steel. When you're standin your ground.
And you never *give in* when you're back's to the wall
gonna fight till the end and you're taking it all."
posted by Espy Gillespie at 10:14 AM on March 25, 2006

"You're the Best," from the Karate Kid, and "Eye of the Tiger." Classic 80's cheese to be sure but sufficently manipulative if you can for temporarily forget you have any taste at all.
posted by Heminator at 10:18 AM on March 25, 2006

English: Sinatra "my way" French: Piaf, "Je ne regrette rien" Spanish: Gipsy Kings, "A mi manera." I guess these songs are more about after the survival part though...
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 10:18 AM on March 25, 2006

Doh! Didn't see the second suggestion from agentrocket...
posted by Heminator at 10:19 AM on March 25, 2006

Oh, and props for 'eye of tiger'
posted by prettyboyfloyd at 10:20 AM on March 25, 2006

Ain't no stoppin' us now - McFadden & Whitehead
posted by dash_slot- at 10:23 AM on March 25, 2006

Oh, for fun I would stick "Montage" from Team America on there as well.
posted by teleskiving at 10:24 AM on March 25, 2006

"Break My Stride" by Matthew Wilder
posted by amro at 10:25 AM on March 25, 2006

Dropkick Murphys - The Gauntlet

and, of course, if you wish your cd to melt faces, as well as be inspirational, then:

Dragonforce - Through the Fire and Flames.

If you're going to download that, make sure you turn your speakers up before pressing play. Dragonforce is far too epic for regular volume.
posted by Drunken_munky at 10:31 AM on March 25, 2006

Eminem - Lose Yourself
posted by probablysteve at 10:50 AM on March 25, 2006

"Stand Up", Al Green
"Stand!", "You Can Make It If You Try", Sly & the Family Stone
"Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere", The Who
"A Change Is Going To Come", by Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Bettye Swann, and many many more
"Stone Free", Jimi Hendrix
"Keep On Keeping On" and "Move On Up", Curtis Mayfield
"I'm Not Down", The Clash

and for your 80's questionable-taste playlist, "Breakin'...There's No Stopping Us" by Ollie and Jerry.
posted by Vervain at 10:57 AM on March 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Jimmy Eat World's The Middle. I feel like this song could make me feel positive about any situation.
posted by FissionChips at 10:59 AM on March 25, 2006

Cowboy Mouth pretty much specialize in this sort of sentiment, but "Easy" is perhaps the best example. The very Up-With-People refrain:

"Easy to bitch/ Easy to whine/ Easy to moan/ Easy to cry/ Easy to feel like there ain't nothing in your life

"Harder to work/ Harder to strive/ Harder to be glad to be alive/ But its really worth it if you give it a try"
posted by kittyprecious at 11:16 AM on March 25, 2006

Anthrax's 'P&V', and possibly 'Fueled'

Always good for getting me reved up.
posted by quin at 11:18 AM on March 25, 2006

Eminem, 'Rabbit Run'

"I'll be back baby, I just got to beat this clock—fuck this clock, I’m-a make them eat this watch… If I gotta scream till I have half a lung, If I have half a chance I'll grab it!"
posted by Firas at 11:21 AM on March 25, 2006

The only way is up / Yazz
We made it more / Ocean Colour Scene
posted by ceri richard at 11:25 AM on March 25, 2006

the harder they come - jimmy cliff
songs for the dumped - ben folds
vindicated - dashboard confessional
posted by triv at 11:46 AM on March 25, 2006

"The Ballad of El Goodo" - Big Star
"Keep On Pushin' " - Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions
posted by scody at 11:48 AM on March 25, 2006

OK, it's a little overplayed lately, but Natasha Beddingfield's new one, "Unwritten", still packs an inspirational wallop after about the 15,000th listen for me. It's more about the unlimited possibility of the future, but it seems to fit your theme.

"Dirt Off Your Shoulder" by Jay-Z if you're feeling the HOVA.

KanYe West's "Through The Wire" and "Jesus Walks" have coming through adversity as themes.

Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You" and "Since U Been Gone" are about moving on and growing from dysfunctional relationships.

Steve Burns (yes, from Blue's Clues) has a great album featuring "Mighty Little Man" (it's not children's music).

If you are into faux-lesbian teen techno-dance-pop from Russia (and who isn't), t.A.T.u.'s "Not Gonna Get Us" is good.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:12 PM on March 25, 2006

Björk "Army of me"
The Hives "Hate to say I told you so"
John Fogerty "Centerfield"
Heather Small "Proud"
Des'ree "You gotta be"
Eminem "Till I collapse"
Aaliyah "Try again"
Al Green "Don't look back"
Johnny Nash (- or The Temptations' version) "I can see clearly now"
Anastacia "Paid my dues"
Queen "Don't stop me now"
Tower of Power: "Ain't nothing stopping us now"
Bobby Darin "Don't rain on my parade"
Average White Band "Pick up the pieces" (it's 97% instrumental, but should work anyway)
posted by iviken at 1:31 PM on March 25, 2006

The Aquabats-"Look at me, I'm a Winner!"
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 1:36 PM on March 25, 2006

Lunatic Fringe by Red Ryder - from the Vision Quest soundtrack.
posted by vronsky at 1:56 PM on March 25, 2006

No More Drama by Mary J. Blige
Fighter by Christina Aguilera
I'm Coming Out by Diana Ross
Whether You Fall by Tracy Bonham
Beter Version Of Me by Fiona Apple
Rise Up With Fists by Jenny Lewis
One Trick Pony by Nelly Furtado
posted by heartquake at 2:23 PM on March 25, 2006

No Surrender, Springsteen.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:32 PM on March 25, 2006

Leaving the Past, by Immortal Technique
Fuck the World, by Tupac
Purple, by Nas
Quills, by the Roots

Hmm, to get away from hip-hip a bit...

Blow Up the Outside World, by Soundgarden
14 Years, by Guns'n'Roses
Learn to Fly, by Foo Fighters
Basically Disturb's entire album The Sickness, although it doesn't quite sound like what you want.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 3:02 PM on March 25, 2006

If you are looking for something a little... louder, then 'Proven', 'Perseverance', or 'I Will Be Heard' by Hatebreed (a fairly mainstream metal/hardcore band) are good choices. If you were to go deeper into more underground hardcore, you could probably countless more examples. Every hardcore band has at least one song like this.
posted by The Wig at 3:47 PM on March 25, 2006

Ease On Down The Road - Michael Jackson and Diana Ross from The Wiz soundtrack
I Believe I Can Fly - R Kelly
Control - Janet Jackson
Hero - Mariah Carey
You Can Do Anything - Carole King
Slippin - DMX
I'm Still Standing - Elton John
Everyday - Dave Matthews Band
Reach - Gloria Estefan
Cream - Prince
Fight the Power - Public Enemy
Cup of Life - Ricky Martin
Higher Ground - Stevie Wonder
Sisters are Doin it for Themselves - Annie Lennox & Aretha Franklin
Say it Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud) - James Brown
"You'll Never Walk Alone" - Rodgers and Hammerstein

I like the "fuck you" sentiment in these songs:
The Way I Am - Eminem
You Don't Own Me - Leslie Gore
It's My Prerogative - Bobby Brown

And for your cheesy playlist needs:
Greatest Love of All - Whitney Houston
Hold On - Wilson Phillips
posted by nooneyouknow at 4:20 PM on March 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

The Crystal Method - Keep Hope Alive
posted by PurplePorpoise at 5:00 PM on March 25, 2006

The Show Must Go On - Queen
Times Like These - Foo Fighters
The Pretender - Jackson Browne (not a hard rocking song, but if you have days when you've just had to get up and do it again, this song will help.)
and a ninth recommendation for "You're the Best" by Joe Esposito. That whole Karate Kid soundtrack is full of positive cheese.

Also, any of the instrumentals from The Matrix soundtrack are good adrenaline boosters on a motivational playlist.
posted by sciatica at 6:04 PM on March 25, 2006

Jill Sobule does an awesome cover of Destiny's Child's "Survivor" that is worth seeking out.
posted by hermitosis at 6:05 PM on March 25, 2006

Henry Rollins made more than a couple of songs covering this territory in the late-eighties and early-nineties. The high point in this effort is probably the album "The End of Silence" where just about every song is about looking within, self-confrontation, and/or overcoming something. It was excellent work-out material at the time, though I'm not sure how it holds up now. He also penned a song called "Do it" which is on an earlier Rollins Band album as well as delivering the goods on "Rise Above" by Black Flag (Greg Ginn).
posted by safetyfork at 6:22 PM on March 25, 2006

Others I forgot...

"Payback", "Talkin' Loud and Sayin' Nothing", and "The Boss", James Brown
"Open Up", Leftfield
"If They Could See Me Now" and "I've Gotta Be Me", Sammy Davis Jr. (these might be for the cheeselist)
"Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" and "On Top Of The World", Shonen Knife
"Renegades of Funk", Afrika Baambaataa
"Bra", Cymande

...and I highly recommend the Ozzy Ozbourne cover of "Stayin' Alive", if you can find it.
posted by Vervain at 8:24 PM on March 25, 2006

PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) -- Bad Brains
Reignition -- Bad Brains
New Day Rising -- Husker Du
(I've Got) Straight Edge -- Minor Threat
Suspect Device -- Stiff Little Fingers*

*not really a life-affirming anthem, but the riff is so great that it'll kick-start your heart
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:34 PM on March 25, 2006

The Sade song, "It's Only Love That Gets You Through" would be a nice closing song for the mix because it's super-mellow. It's actually not about romantic love, despite the title -- more like self-love.

"Girl you are rich even with nothing
And you know tenderness comes from pain
It's amazing how you love
And love is kind and love can give
And get no gain

It's down a rugged road you've come
Though you had every reason
You didn't come undone
Somehow you made it to the other side
You didn't suffer in vain

You forgive those who have trespassed against you
And you know tenderness comes from pain
It's amazing how you love
And love is kind and love can give
And love needs no gain"
posted by wetpaint at 2:13 AM on March 26, 2006

So Sue Us — Dance Hall Crashers
Til My Head Falls Off — They Might Be Giants
posted by notbuddha at 7:35 AM on March 26, 2006

I'm all right, by Neil Zaza
Knock on Wood, by Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Definitely in the realm of "I can do it".
posted by fox_terrier_guy at 8:20 AM on March 27, 2006

Gotta add "I Love Myself Today" by Biff Naked.
posted by TeamBilly at 10:23 AM on March 27, 2006

Not a song, but I've always liked the poem by Dr. Seuss. Maybe you could put it on your CD cover!

"I've heard there are troubles of more than one kind.
Some come from in front, and some come from behind.
But I've bought a big bat. I'm all ready you see.
Now my troubles are gonna have trouble with me."
~Dr. Seuss
posted by UnclePlayground at 10:54 AM on March 27, 2006

I though of another one

Paid My Dues by Anastacia
posted by heartquake at 12:17 PM on March 27, 2006

I thought of another one myself. "A Boy Named Sue" by Johnny Cash. Not only does it have the Screw the World attitude, it is sung by the man in black and written by Shel Silverstein. Does it get better?
posted by slavlin at 10:34 PM on March 27, 2006

« Older What job should I look for in China?   |   Why does my Media Center CPU spike? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.