Wow… It’s been 580 days since I last wrote a blog post on here, and my follow up to my awful year of singing around Europe is going to be another post about music.
A lot’s gone on in those 580 days, I’ve spoken at conferences, won some awards with my kick ass company, been filmed for TV (should hopefully be on next week or so) and a load of other yada yada that I probably shouldn’t be sharing with the internet as a whole.
So instead, as I’m going through another big music phase, I thought I’d write about the Power of Music for me. I say a big music phase; it’s not like I’ve recently been overwhelmed with a bunch of new music that I want to listen to. Far from it in fact, I’ve been going through a phase of not finding anything new really that excites me.
I recently did some speaker training to improve my delivery when giving talks and was asked to give an impromptu talk on the spot with no preparation about any topic I wished. So I talked about how I’ve been finding more and more that the music I listen to has a powerful influence on how I’m feeling at a given time.
I tweet quite a lot about music and was reviewing my Twitter Analytics this morning and noticed that I had noticeably higher engagement rates on the hashtag #seomusic than most of my tweets that I post (except those with pictures – if I was really smart, I’d start adding pictures to my #seomusic tweets). Sometime’s it feels like I’m rocking this hashtag alone, but I really don’t mind that much and I’d like to carry on what Alessio started a few years ago with this epic post Now That’s What SEOs Call Music (and the accompanying Spotify playlist that I put together).
Can’t quite believe that post is over 2 years old itself. But anyway, I digress..
…I thought I’d run through some of the songs I’ve posted up there over recent months, embed some videos so you guys can have a listen and talk about them a bit and how they alter my moods.
‘And if sleep be the cousin of death Then every time I blink’s one step closer to my last breath’ #seomusic, Blue Scholars, Blink
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) June 24, 2014
Quite a sad sounding beat, and quite sad lyrics really. But I find that this song helps me put the world to rights in my head. “Then every time I blink its one step closer to my last breath.” One of those songs that hits me with some “get up and go”, makes me think that life is too short and if I’m going to do stuff, I’m not getting any younger and need to just get on with it.
#seomusic CHVRCHES, We Sink… really, really fricking love this tune. This’ll do 😀
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 2, 2014
A band that I have really got into in the last year or so is CHVRCHES. Not the happiest album in the world, but one that really gets me thinking a bit. Something I put on when I’m in a pensive mood and want to order my thoughts a little.
Something I really like to listen to on headphones or alone really and forget about what’s going on in the real world.
#seomusic John Legend & The Roots, Wake Up Everybody! Common adds a lot to this tune too
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 3, 2014
John Legend is one of my favourite modern soul singers (alongside Raphael Saadiq) and The Roots are one of my favourite hip hop acts. Put them together, and you get a happy Pete, funking out.
#seomusic Reasons Not To Be An Idiot, Frank Turner… I’ve been given plenty of reasons to not be an idiot. tend to ignore most of them
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 4, 2014
I use this song as a reminder not to be an idiot. Simple. It’s quite easy to slip into doing things that are a bit stupid out of habit if nothing else:
#seomusic Common, Forever Begins. I think Common might be my favourite rapper love the tone of his voice
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 7, 2014
I love Common’s voice – definitely one of my favourite rappers. I’ve not been hugely fond of a lot of his more recent output, but this one is great. This is a song about new beginnings, and is another one that really helps get me going in the morning.
#seomusic Mayer Hawthorne, Designer Drug… Writing reports on the train & head bopping like a boss
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 9, 2014
Mayer Hawthorne IS someone that I’ve discovered relatively recently, and have really enjoyed working my way through his back catalogue. About as pop as my music taste currently gets, this is someone that really get’s me going through reports and proposals, typing at a speed I wasn’t entirely sure I was capable of!
Definitely uplifting tunes for whatever the mood.
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 7, 2014
A tune I was introduced to by my friend Samuel Crocker, this song talks about this dudes “simple”. Everyone wants “simple” right? Or part of them does… I’ve been thinking a lot about simple lately, and what makes up my simple and this helps me to clarify what simple really is to me. It’s just that simple.
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 10, 2014
What with the heat and general busyness of late, I’ve had some issues sleeping, and a love a bit of easy Jazz to soothe me to sleep (or Nick Drake, but I’ve not used him on the hashtag often). It helps my head to float away a little and forget the here and now for just long enough to get lulled to sleep.
A singer I’d really love to see sing live to see a version like this:
#seomusic Alabama shakes – I found you – and pondering. Lots of pondering. I think way too much
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 12, 2014
I love the Alabama Shakes. Forgetting that I thought the singer was a bloke until I actually watched any of their videos, I do love a bit of blues and I was having a particularly sad day this day. I’m not sure it made me happier, but it certainly helped me have some perspective and might have made me a bit less sad. The video below is a bit different from the album version, but I love this girls voice and its a really interesting live rendition.
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 15, 2014
Quite possibly my favourite song of all time (I don’t really mean this, as I have lots) and definitely the best record I own (thank’s to my lovely sister for my Christmas/Birthday present there – can’t remember which).
An obvious lyric as to what this song might be all about – but the uplifting tunes can certainly help to lift any worries you might have. That said, this song doesn’t require a bad mood to lift me up even further.
Stevie Wonder is almost certainly the best singer I’ve seen live – it might be that I love his songs so much, but I remember dancing like a loon that night in Hyde Park and was a moment I’ll never forget.
‘Yo ho ho oh and a bottle of rum’, Got My Favourite, Jack Penate #seomusic Morning of loud music. Sorry neighbours. Ish
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 19, 2014
I must confess, I do love this song in part because it goes “Yo ho ho oh and a bottle of rum”, but Jack Penate is an artist I turn to when I’m deep in thought and trying to work out what is going on in this over-thinking brain of mine. Simple thing about listening to this song is in it helping to work out what “your favourite” might actually be…
#seomusic Passion Pit, Little Secrets… trying to motivate myself to get stuff done… bouncy tunes are almost helping. A bit
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 20, 2014
Passion Pit are one of those artists that can really get me going in a morning. Not to everyone’s taste (not sure I know anyone else that owns any or would listen to it without me forcing it down their throats), I’ve loved both of their albums. Full of uplifting tunes, fun synths, bouncy melodies – this is something I put on when I really need to start picking up my pace, either at work or at home.
#seomusic Grace, Jeff Buckley… Don’t listen to this often anymore, but such a quality song/album
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 22, 2014
Whilst Jeff Buckley is an artist I often turn to when I’m a bit sad or feeling sorry for myself, I actually find his somewhat melancholy songs quite uplifting. I have turned to Jeff in many other sadder times in my life where it hasn’t had quite the positive effect that I’d seen here. Whilst I rarely listen to it, there is always going to be a spot in my life for this song and entire album (except maybe Hallelujah, which whilst seemingly the most popular isn’t one that ever did anything for me
#seomusic Fleet Foxes, White Winter Hymnal. Not really weather suitable lyrics, but floaty tunes do suit
— Pete Handley (@ismepete) July 23, 2014
I’ve been feeling a bit poorly of late and was enjoying the sunshine before seeking some shade to cool off a bit. Whilst White Winter Hymnal is not a song most would associate with summer (seeing as it’s about winter and snow and all), I felt the floaty melodies of this tune really helped soothe me a little and brought me back to a more comfortable place.
Well done if you’ve made it this far through my waffling post. Not quite sure this has delivered on what I’d thought it would at the start, but there you go, I was overdue writing something.
Should anyone prove interested in this post, there is potential for me delve further back and examine some other tunes too. Let me know if you want more!