Songs To Kill Procrastination
January 17, 2007 10:29 AM   Subscribe

MotivationFilter, MusicFilter: What particular songs motivate you?

This is my year for finally putting cool ideas into action and I was hoping to gather a playlist of good, procrastination killing songs that will help me to start and keep motivated.

I already have a lot of music that is enjoyable to work to (once I've actually started) and which helps to maintain flow, so what I'd like are indie, punk, pop, folk, any genre songs which inspire me to do the "starting".

Hidden amongst the responses to this old Ask MeFi post about motivation was a link to the lyrics of Little Acorns by The White Stripes. If you're familiar with the track you'll know that there's a voiceover introducing the concept of "Take all your problems // And rip 'em apart". And every time I listen to the song now, I remind myself to take that advice.

So, what tracks can you suggest?
posted by pipstar to Work & Money (34 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
You're the Best! Around! Nothin's gonna ever keep you down!
posted by klangklangston at 10:34 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Kraftwerk's Tour De France Soundtracks album is amazing for this. Much of their music is, but that album in particular will have you one with your inner robot/cyclist in no time. It's more of a "getting into the groove" thing though, you may want to start off with some other tracks.

The stuff the really gets me going is Rammstein. "Ich Will" or "Benzin" come to mind. It's very... invigorating.

It would seem I associate work with Germans.
posted by phrontist at 10:38 AM on January 17, 2007

Stuff that gets me going is anything by Rage Against The Machine. Unfortunately it gets me going in an anti-corporate-empire kind of way, so its better for personal stuff than it is for work most of the time.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:43 AM on January 17, 2007

Loud and fast and melodic. When I have to have a soundtrack to get me off my ass, I usually put on Sleater-Kinney.

If we're talking broad psychoacoustics, tempo is important to me, content less so. I don't need to hear and parse motivational words—I need to feel thumping, driving, go go go energy. Angry raaawr music works better than Frente, even though Frente makes me happier.
posted by cortex at 10:44 AM on January 17, 2007

Eye of the tiger by Survivor of course
posted by BSummers at 10:45 AM on January 17, 2007

I'm trying to write me thesis right now, and Motörhead's song Live To Win has come in extremely handy. Also, the entire Overkill album. If that can't spur you to action, you probably don't have a pulse.
posted by koeselitz at 10:49 AM on January 17, 2007

In my job, I occasionally get stuck with the task of doing technical documentation - to the tune of about 100 pages of solid requirements documentation, graphs, charts, tables, etc.

All of which is very important, and usually very dull. Couple that with the fact that I'm doing this writing on a computer attached to the internets via a series of tubes to sites like this...well, distractions are easy to come by.

What do I use? Music. Strangely, though, I usually listen to 3 albums, random tracks from each, over and over until I'm through with the task. The albums are:
1. Kashmir: The Symphonic Led Zeppelin
2. Vince Guaraldi Trio's A Charlie Brown Christmas or Greatest Hits (depends on the season, of course)
3. Any Dave Brubeck/Paul Desmond/Gerry Mulligan live disc. There are a number of them out there, I usually go for this or this.

The key for me is no lyrics - nothing to distract you.
posted by ca_little at 10:49 AM on January 17, 2007

Oh, dude, KMFDM. Better than the best!
posted by phrontist at 10:49 AM on January 17, 2007

You Can't Stop the Beat from Hairspray, the Musical puts a bounce in my step
posted by spec80 at 10:51 AM on January 17, 2007

When I need to get started at work, I listen to Gasolina by Daddy Yankee. Warning! the linked video may contain ladies wearing only bathing suits.
posted by drezdn at 10:58 AM on January 17, 2007

Some strong coffee and Any Day Now by Elbow gets me in the mood:

Any day now, hows about getting out of this place. Anyways. Got a lot of spare time, some of my youth and all of my senses on overdrive.
posted by Robot Rowboat at 11:00 AM on January 17, 2007

Guns 'n Roses - You Could Be Mine
2Pac - Hit 'em Up
Rage Against the Machine - Entire first album
Eminem - Sing for the Moment
Phish - Down With Disease
Grateful Dead - Eyes of the World
Prince - Pimp and Circumstance
Janes Addiction - Idiots Rule
posted by Roach at 11:01 AM on January 17, 2007

Response by poster: Good, keep them coming on. But I am looking for more lyric based motivation. However, so many of these tracks will be great once I actually get started doing said great ideas.

BTW: These are more personal projects than work related, so RATM, Rammstein etc are good.

You may have noticed that my procrastination is at the level of gather songs, prepare playlist, refine playlist before I can even start an action!

I suppose that I'm looking for more "psyching up" / positive feeling songs that reduce any niggling fear of failure thoughts. Eye Of The Tiger is great, though sadly I do associate it with previous employment in telemarketing.
posted by pipstar at 11:01 AM on January 17, 2007

Calypso. Definitely. Specially the more acoustic/orchestra oriented, not the keyboardsy kind.

The link goes to a myspace page with two songs by the Mighty Sparrow. King Sparrow. Nothing like that voice and rhythm to fill you up with energy.
posted by micayetoca at 11:11 AM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

I have a whole playlist of highly motivational/empowering songs for my workout mix. I like 'em over the top - the kind of song I can't hold still to and won't get off the elliptical during. So while many of these aren't literal "you can do it" songs, they are very much "I can do anything" songs, or they feel like it.

1. Sex Bomb - Tom Jones
2. Total Eclipse Of The Heart - Nikki French
3. Infected - Bad Religion
4. Mony Mony - Billy Idol (like a nerd I tend to skip a little while on the elliptical crosstrainer because this beat is so sweet)
5. Blister In the Sun - Violent Femmes
6. Time Bomb - Rancid
7. Another One Bites The Dust - Queen
8. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
9. Shake It Up - The Cars
10. Rebel Girl - Bikini Kill
11. Short Skirt, Long Jacket - Cake
12. We Gotta Get out Of This Place - The Animals
13. Lucky - Britney Spears
14. 9 to 5 - Dolly Parton
15. Damn Good Times - They Might Be Giants
16. Take Me Out - Franz Ferdinand
17. I Hope You Die - The Bloodhound Gang (this is always first, right as I walk in to the gym... heh heh)
18. Can't Get You Out Of My Head - Kylie Minogue
19. Gloria - Laura Branigan (this is the best one. I always raise my heart rate way too high with this song)
20. Don't Bring Me Down - ELO
21. You Should Be Dancing - The BeeGees
22. Gimme Gimme Gimme - Abba
23. The Infanta - The Decemberists
24. Stonger - Britney Spears
25. I Wanna Be a Supermodel - Jill Sobule
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:32 AM on January 17, 2007 [4 favorites]

Make Yourself by Incubus (NSFW)
posted by ajr at 11:33 AM on January 17, 2007

Break My Stride - Matthew Wilder
7 - Prince
Tubthumping - Chumbawamba
Macho Man - the Village People
Bust a Move - Young MC
Today is the Day - Apollo Sunshine
Chick Magnet - MXPX

I used to listen to the Mission Impossible theme song on repeat on my way to take midterms and finals in college. (Usually the remix from the mid-nineties movie - by Moby? But sometimes the original, too.) It made me feel like a super spy who could accomplish anything.
posted by vytae at 11:54 AM on January 17, 2007

"Remember the Name" (original or Funkadelic Remix) by Fort Minor really pumps my nads for any reason. I like it to run to it, but it's equally good for getting me to write code.
posted by bryanzera at 12:30 PM on January 17, 2007

James Brown -- Super Bad
The Aquabats -- Super Rad!
posted by sleevener at 12:34 PM on January 17, 2007

Man, have I got suggestions for you.

Like electronica/techno? Try Shpongle - everything they do. It's so intense and magical you can't help but want to DO something! Especially "Once Upon the Sea of Blissful Awareness" - wow.

Enigma - The Screen Behind the Mirror (album) - kicks off with a BANG and guides you through a veritable universe of moods and feelings

Delerium - Karma (album)

ANYTHING by E.S. Posthumous - turns anything from walking to staring at the sky into an epic film!

as for songs?

Epic : Sean Callery - "Jack in the Limo" (from 24) and the "Theme from 24" (I'm serious)

Rock : Radiohead - "2+2=5 (The Lukewarm)" and "Sit Down / Stand Up (Snakes & Ladders)"

Rock : Tool - "Vicarious", "Parabola", and "Right in Two"

Dance : Rob Dougan - "Clubbed to Death", "Furious Angels"

Indie Rock : Dredg - all of their first album, "Leitmotif"... beautiful.

Nu-Metal/Pop : Linkin Park - "Figure.09"

Trip-Hop/Electrorap : Massive Attack - "Inertia Creeps", "Heat Miser", "Antistar"

Post-Rock : A Silver Mt. Zion - "Ring Them Bells (Freedom Has Come & Gone)"

Dance : BT - "1.618" (AAAAAH I LOVE), "The Great Escape", "The Antikythera Mechanism", "Never Gonna Come Back Down", and "Dreaming"

Dance : Hybrid - "Finished Symphony" !!!!!!!

Epic : J Ralph - "One Million Miles Away" (you may know it as "That awesome rainy-sounding Volkswagen song where everything is beating in time")

Progressive Rock : Porcupine Tree - "Trains", "Sound of Muzak", "Arriving Somewhere But Not Here", "Start of Something Beautiful"

Progressive Rock : Coheed & Cambria - "Welcome Home"

Electro-pop : Conjure One - "Years", "Manic Star", "Pandora" < -- especiallybr>
Rock : A Perfect Circle - "The Hollow"

Epic : AFI - "Prelude 12/21" (I cannot stand AFI, but this song is absolutely NOTHING like anything else they've done, lasts under 2 minutes and totally pumps me up)

and even chants! Hildegard's "O Euchari (in leta via)" is amazingly inspiring. A wonderful modernization of the song is known as "Vision (Euchari)" on a CD by Richard Souther of the same name. The Swedish band Garmarna's "Euchari" (from Hildegard von Bingen, not the one from Vedergallningen) is also exquisite.

And speaking of Garmarna-- HOLY CRAP. Try on "Gamen", "Herr Holkin", and "Sorgsen Ton". If you like the style but want a more electronic-y feel, check out Sorten Muld -- their latest album is beautiful, especially "Tor af Haavsgard" and "Roselil Rose".

I also really like chill music, like The Album Leaf ("Red-Eye" is one of my favorite songs of all time) and Thievery Corporation (with the inimitable "Lebanese Blonde," "State of the Union" and "Warning Shots")

You're bound to find one of those you like.
posted by dmaterialized at 12:56 PM on January 17, 2007 [2 favorites]

Off the top of my head, here's some of the music that helped me train for a marathon (uptempo, energetic, lyrics a bit more nuanced than 'you can do it' but still inspiring):

Disillusion by Badly Drawn Boy (indie)
Sam's Town by the Killers (pseudo-indie)
Choose Life by the Pilfers (ska)
Body Movin' (the Fatboy Slim remix) by the Beastie Boys
Slide by Ani DiFranco (folk-rock)
Five State Drive by Less Than Jake (ska)
Lights Out by Millencolin (punk)
Incarnation by Snapcase (hardcore)
posted by AV at 1:17 PM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Not happy, but will motivate you (this is gym music for me):

Low self Opinion by Henry Rollins

Step Back by Henry Rollins
posted by Bookhouse at 1:20 PM on January 17, 2007

"Absolute Beginners" by the Jam and "Walls Come Tumbling Down" by the Style Council are both good for this for me -- ah, young Paul Weller in his pre-cranky, still-idealistic days!
posted by scody at 1:35 PM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

Lyrically-impotent, but a melody that will drive you absolutely mad with intensity, try this one out:

!!! - Bend Over Beethoven.mp3

Shoots me into a productive mode with every listen.
posted by Mach3avelli at 2:07 PM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

"Club Foot" by Kasabian.
posted by good in a vacuum at 2:31 PM on January 17, 2007

Oops, forgot this: video for "Club Foot".
posted by good in a vacuum at 2:33 PM on January 17, 2007

The English Beat- Ackee 123, off of Special Beat Service

Built To Spill- Sidewalk

The Postal Service- Natural Anthem
Buddy Holly- Ready Teddy
Luna Speedbumps
posted by Sara Anne at 3:30 PM on January 17, 2007

I haven't read all the other answers. Did someone already mention these...?

* "Welcome to the Working Week" ('d better get to it) by Elvis Costello
* "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" by the Beastie Boys (good for all-nighters) (as is "Nothing's Gonna Change My Clothes by They Might Be Giants, but hopefully you're preventing all-nighters here)
* "Do it Imperfectly" by Ani di Franco
* "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey
* "Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson
* "From the Morning" by Nick Drake (to me this song means, life is short and beautiful, so play the game you want to play, right from the start -- also would be a good first or second song on the mix because it's slow)
posted by salvia at 7:55 PM on January 17, 2007 [2 favorites]

"When You Were Young" by the Killers
('Can we climb this mountain, I don't know, higher now than ever before ...')

"For You I Will" by Teddy Geiger
('I'm gonna muster every ounce of confidence I have')

"I Don't Want to Be" by Gavin DeGraw
('I don't want to be anything other than what I've been trying to be lately')

"Let's Get Loud" by Jennifer Lopez
('If you wanna live your life / live it all the way and don't you waste it')

And some self-explanatory ones:
"Let's Get it Started" by the Black-Eyed Peas
"Gotta Get Through This" by Daniel Bedingfield
"Live it Up" by Sheryl Crow
posted by scarlet at 10:07 PM on January 17, 2007 [1 favorite]

2nding KMFDM, particularly the album NIHIL.
posted by benign at 10:08 PM on January 17, 2007

Motivational Music Mix

1. Kraftwerk - Computer Love (Computer World)
2. Joanna Newsom - Monkey & Bear (Ys)
3. Frank Black - Johnny Barleycorn (Fast Man Raider Man)
4. Holst - Uranus "The Magician" (The Planets)
5. Mad Lib - Man In The Street (Blunted in the Bombshelter)
posted by ageispolis at 1:06 AM on January 18, 2007

I just read your follow-up that stuff like "Eye of the Tiger" is good, so here's a few from my 80s metal playlist:

You've Got Another Thing Coming by Judas Priest
Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue
Got the Time by Anthrax
Rock You Like A Hurricane by Scorpions
School's Out by Alice Cooper
Here I Go Again by Whitesnake

and of course: Final Countdown by Europe.
posted by AV at 6:29 AM on January 18, 2007

There are two Piebald songs that I think fit what you're looking for. They're indie/pop-punk, very upbeat, and they put me in a good mood when I feel like procrastinating:

Just a Simple Plan
American Hearts
posted by tipthepizzaguy at 7:46 PM on January 18, 2007 [1 favorite]

late addition: "Move on Up" by Curtis Mayfield (the Jam did a good cover of it, too).
posted by scody at 10:48 AM on January 20, 2007

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