You know the clients who make every day a joy, the clients who send you cupcakes and invite you to their weddings, the clients who bring you only the work you love and who approve all your first drafts and call you up just to see how your day’s going … wait a second, do you actually have any clients like this?
Yeah, me neither.
I had good clients and OK clients. And then I had a couple of awful clients - you know, the kind that make you want to throw in the towel and go begging for a fast-food job. Sometimes, when a client is being awful and there’s nothing you can do about it except wait for the project to be over, it can feel like you’re trapped in a no-win situation. When I’m in this situation, I like to listen to music that uplifts me.
Here are 15 songs you can enjoy when your work feels overwhelming and you've got a difficult client on your back:
(note: You can probably tell from this list where my particular music taste lies. I had to ask around the office for some tracks without screaming guitars. I make no apologies for this.)
I’d love you to share your feel-good music tracks or albums in the comments.
1. Survivor - Destiny’s Child
“I’m a Survivor. I’m not going to give up.
I’m not going to stop. I’m going to work harder.
I’m a survivor. I’m going to make it.
I will survive. Keep on surviving.”
On those days when you want to throw in the towel, this song can definitely get the back on track. The only people who lose in life are those that quit.
2. Let it Be - The Beatles
“Let it be, let it be
Ah, let it be, yeah let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be”
To me, this song is about accepting what you can’t control, and letting the universe sort itself out. The Beatles are classic good music at its best.
3. We are the Champions - Queen
“No time for losers,
Because we are the champions … of the world!”
Remind yourself that no matter what happens, your company and your team are awesome, and you’re kicking ass and taking names even when it doesn’t feel like it. Plus, who couldn’t help but feel uplifted after hearing Freddy Mercury’s soaring vocals?
4. Remember the Name - Fort Minor
“This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure, fifty percent pain
And a hundred percent reason to remember the name!”
I’m not a big fan of rap music in any of its forms, but this song has a wicked beat and a great message.
5. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life - Monty Python
“If life seems jolly rotten
There's something you've forgotten
And that's to laugh and smile and dance and sing
When you're feeling in the dumps
Don't be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle
- that's the thing!”
The ultimate in feel good songs from the kings of British comedy. Remember, whatever awful things your client is up to, it can’t be as bad as being crucified … can it?
6. Manowar - Warriors of the World
“Like thunder from the sky
sworn to fight and die
we're warriors, warriors of the World”
Manowar are one of my favourite bands in the world, and it’s easy to see why. Who doesn’t love a bunch of guys wearing loincloths who look as if they’d be at home on the cover of a bodice-ripping romance, singing about how they will kick the ass of anyone who dares to defy them? All of Manowar’s lyrics are about destroying posers and how awesome it is to be Manowar. You can’t help but be swept up in the silliness.
7. Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) - Kelly Clarkson
“What doesn't kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn't mean I'm lonely when I'm alone
What doesn't kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn't mean I'm over cause you're gone.”
A classic breakup song, but with lyrics that are applicable in any situation where you feel beaten down or like you’re on your own.
8. Sabaton - Coat of Arms
“Look north, ready to fight
Enemies charge from the hills
To arms! Facing defeat!
There's no surrender! There's no retreat!”
Sabaton are a German thrash band who focus the themes and lyrics on their albums around different historical battles and wars. If you want a history lesson while you’re headbanging, then check out any of their albums. This is one of my favourite songs of theirs; it’s about the ancient battle of Thermopylae between the Greeks and Persians, and it makes you feel ready for battle, ready for anything.
9. Pocketful of Sunshine - Natasha Bedingfield
“I got a pocket got a pocketful of sunshine
I got a love and I know that it’s all mine. Oh, oh-wo-oh.”
Do what you want but you’re never going to break me,
Sticks and stones are never gonna break me. Oh-no.”
If you need a laugh after a hard day dealing with clients, check out the film Easy A, which is hilarious and features this song.
10. Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
“It's the eye of the tiger
It's the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival.
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he's watchin us all with the eye of the tiger.”
The theme from Rocky is all about never giving up, and it’s a great track to play just before you leave for a big, scary meeting.
11. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough - Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell
“Don’t you know that there ain’t no mountain high enough.
Ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no river wide enough.
To keep me from getting to you, baby”
I’ve always loved this Marvin Gaye song. If you want something bad enough, you will move mountains, forge rivers, cross valleys, all to make it happen. There’s nothing stopping you.
12. Skyscraper - Demi Lovato
“Go on and try to tear me down.
I will be rising from the ground”
I’d actually never heard this song before making this list. Ever since I heard it, I’ve been thrashing it. Demi’s voice is simply enchanting, and this song is about surviving and carrying on after impossible setbacks. Beautiful.
13. Alestorm - Drink
“I’d rather live my life in rags,
then chained to a desk with a wife that’s a hag.
We live each day like there’s nothing to loose,
But a man has needs and that need is booze.”
The boys at Alestorm write folky metal music inspired by … you guessed it … pirates. Their songs are fun and silly, and the more albums they release, the sillier their songs are becoming. Carry yourself away onto the high seas and join this band of merry pirates as they steal all the alcohol. If this doesn’t cheer you up, then you are un-cheerable.
14. Skyclad - Just What Nobody Wanted
“It seems that life's a big frustration
Why is everybody out to bring me down?
There has to be a simple explanation
Why failure is the fashion every time I come to town.
If life is sweet then I'm diabetic
The future looks rosy, I just went colorblind
I'm just what nobody wanted at all.”
Sometimes, when you’ve had an awful day and you’re feeling utterly useless, what you need is a bit of reverse psychology. English folk-metal pioneers Skyclad bring this track about the world’s most utterly hopeless person. With lyrics like “If high hopes were banknotes, I’d hold all of England,” after listening to this, you’re left feeling that it’s perfectly OK to be a bit down, and even revel in it a little.
15. It’s My Life - Bon Jovi
“It’s my life. It’s now or never.
I ain’t gonna live forever.
I just want to live while I’m alive.”
You’ve only got one life, and it’s up to you how you’re going to live it. Are you going to waste your precious time on people and projects that aren’t worthwhile? I DON’T THINK SO.
What songs / artists do you listen to when you’re feeling down? How do you motivate yourself to move past obstacles?