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Powerful Playlists: Back Up

by Seth Woolcock

We must walk a fine line between being optimistic and blind to life’s challenges. Recognize progress isn’t always linear. There will always be setbacks along the way.

However, how we respond to these twists truly matters – as sometimes it’s the only way we can grow as individuals.

This edition of “Powerful Playlists” is dedicated to all those ready to mount their own comeback moment, eager to get back up when life knocks you down.

Curator Note: The playlist blends hip-hop/rap music to alternative, pop and rock music.

1. “Rolling Papers 2” – Wiz Khalifa

Pittsburgh’s pride Wiz Khalifa made his own comeback in 2018 with the album “Rolling Papers 2.”  The hard-hitting title track is an anthem telling listeners that anything we want is obtainable as long as we can make appropriate changes along the way.

While this groove is a chest-pound to Khalifa’s success, it explains that it didn’t come without sacrifices along the way. Sometimes we have to be able to let go of the past and even certain people to achieve what we set out to.

2. “Love Lost” – Mac Miller

From one Pittsburgh rapper to another, Mac Miller’s “Love Lost” was just officially released on streaming platforms today, nearly 11 years after the mixtape “I Love Life, Thank You” was initially released. 

“Love Lost” is an upbeat breakup banger that samples the lesson that we often must be lost to find ourselves again. It’s an instant mood-changer, staging anyone for a rebound.

3. “up again” – mike.

mike. continued taking over today’s music earlier this year with his release of the single, “up again.” What’s unique about this track is its effort to humanize mike through optimistic lyrics and a chill beat, showing that it’s not always easy to get back up. But it does tell listeners if we do get knocked down, we better “make it look good.”

4. “Upsides” – Nic D

Nic D is also continuing to make his mark on the hip-hop/rap genre, coming in with his new single, “Upsides.” 

A mesmerizing backtrack with clever lyrics creates a slow-paced song that swells with confidence and the feeling of being content in life. A lot of the Los Angeles-based artist’s music is very carefree, but this track is exceptionally smooth with its low-fi feel.

5. “Chosen 1” – Polo G

Polo G rose to popularity partly due to his unique approach to drill rap, a form of rap music that highlights the violent side of the streets. 

However, this song off his 2019 debut album, “Die a Legend,” leaves an optimistic feeling, reminding us to look back at all we’ve accomplished. It astonishingly combines soft guitar strings with some heavy bass, making it a pleasing listen with high-quality headphones or subwoofers.

6. “1-800-273-8255 (feat. Alessia Cara & Khalid)” – Logic

I included this track by Logic, as a study showed that it helped prevent suicides by 10-19-year-olds. The song uses the suicide hotline as its title, and takes you through the cycle of someone struggling mentally.

Logic and company extend a hand to anyone struggling and reinforce that things do get better and that there is so much in life worth living for.

7. “9 Lives” – Machine Gun Kelly

For whatever reason, Machine Gun Kelly gets a lot of hate anymore. Although, some of his more recent music is underlyingly uplifting. “9 Lives” changes tempo quickly multiple times throughout the song before picking up for a punk-rock chorus with the lyrics, “One day, our dreams will come to life / We’ll be forever and never say goodbye.”

8. “The Fighter (feat. Ryan Tedder)” – Gym Class Heroes

OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder lends his distinct vocals to this uplifting 2011 hit crafted by Gym Class Heroes. “The Fighter” paints the story of well, a young fighter during his come-up – ultimately telling us that we should “never have our head down.”

This was simply fantastic upon release and still holds that same optimistic outlook a decade down the road.

9. ”Best of You” – Foo Fighters

You can’t have a playlist about getting back up without including the Foo Fighters anthem, “Best of You.” This iconic 2005 hit sung by Dave Grohl tells us that the first step to moving on from anything getting the best of us is admitting the problem. Only then can we come back stronger.

10. __________

It’s tough to know when the next time life will knock us down, But when it does, and it probably will, I hope this playlist can bring listeners/readers some peace and inspiration to get back up. And it begins here, customizing the playlist’s 10th and final track yourself.

This playlist can be found for streaming and/or download on Apple Music. And for more feel-good content, you can find me on Twitter @Between_SethFF.

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