These songs are all meant to put some pep in your step to start the day. They inspire confidence and purpose, make you feel like nothing is going to stop you, and just give you an overall sense of bad-ass-ness.
1. Trouble Man – Marvin Gaye
If catch-phrases had theme songs, this would undoubtedly have to accompany “Don’t let the smooth taste fool you!” When I hear this song, I imagine a coooooooool looking dude in a suit gliding down the street. And that suit is NOT meant to be trifled with, because it has seen some things. Marvin Gaye is best known for his tender love ballads and socially conscious soul standards, but this often overlooked gem gives us a glimpse at the tougher side of the Prince of Motown. He had a disturbing upbringing (to say the least), and lied his way out of the military on his way to achieving fame and the status of a music legend. The man did what he had to do though, and trouble was not going to get in his way.
2. Keep on Pushing – Curtis Mayfield/The Impressions
I start every day with this song. It’s the perfect bit of Motown Soul to start your day off right and will make you feel like you just can’t be stopped. It is one of those songs that makes you want to bounce on your toes every time Curtis hits those high notes. This song was tough – I almost added in another Curtis Mayfield classic, Pusherman, instead of this song. However, I figured most people probably don’t feel like starting out their day listening to a song about being a bad-ass drug pusher. Is that just me? I legitimately want to know.
RANDOM SIDE NOTE: This song is being featured right now in a couple LeBron James commercials, which, hilariously, are all centered around his hair. Now, for those of you who don’t follow the NBA, it is a running joke with everyone who covers the NBA that LeBron James’ hairline has been receding at a RAPID rate for the last few years, as evidenced here. So why he would agree to set himself with a commercial going to a barbershop is beyond me. But I love it. Cracks me up.
3. Higher Ground – Stevie Wonder (OR the Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Stevie. Ohhhhh Stevie. If only you could see well enough to strut your stuff the way this song makes me want to strut. Easily the funkiest song on the list (let’s face it, we can all use a little more funk in our lives), with this song ringing in your ears, you definitely have the big swinging *whaaat* in your vicinity. Throw on the sunglasses, undo that shirt all the way down to your chest, and play on playa.
4. R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Aretha Franklin
Ok, so maybe this one is a little too cliche, but come on. It’s Aretha. It’s RESPECT. Gotta have it. Enough Said.
BONUS: Ecstasy of Gold – Ennio Morricone
Alright, you caught me, this song has so little soul, I can’t even come up with a good analogy for how soul-less it is outside of comparing it to white rice or inanimate objects. But, this song is freaking EPIC. Every time I listen to this iconic song from The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, my chest swells up about five inches and I feel like I could go out and accomplish something insane that I usually wouldn’t even try, like eating a 3 lb tub of Red Vines in one sitting, or run through a desert graveyard looking for 200,000 gold coins buried in a coffin. You know, normal stuff like that.