Updated: Mar 23, 2020
Music really is a universal language. Most people identify music as one of their main coping skills because it’s cathartic, inspiring, relaxing, energizing, or really whatever you need it to be. Music can really speak to the heart of a problem and help release ache and distress. It can also resonate to the core of your values and outlook on life. Here are some of the songs that Nick relates to so you can get to know him a bit better. (They are presented in no particular order.) They relate to parts of Nick personally and professionally. Some of these song embody elements of Nick's core values that he brings to therapy sessions.
1.Ukulele Anthem - Amanda Palmer (vulgar language)
This song is pure joy. It is one of *the best* sing along songs - so learn the words (or don’t, as Amanda will point out). It is something that I blast almost weekly to remind myself that sometimes coping with life is just as simple as strumming the same four chords over and over again. It exemplifies the care-free attitude I try to bring to life so often but can’t because of what's in my way. But I can be cool with that, too. I can come back to this song for inspiration and to knock down the walls I’ve put up between me and creativity. It’s great to not have to be good at something sometimes.
2. Lost - Amanda Palmer
Okay, two Amanda songs. This song has a GREAT drum beat and drives through the whole song. First, I definitely relate to the first verse. I lose my phone/wallet/keys frequently and the first thing out of my mouth is “but I had it when I got here!” More important than that though, this song has helped me with my understanding of loss. I believe in every word of the final refrain. It connects with my spirituality and my upbringing around the spiritualist church. There have been experiences I’ve had I can’t explain easily and I chose to hold space for the possibility that my lost loved ones were visiting me. And even if they weren’t - they aren’t gone forever because we hold a part of them with us. TeenVogue even shared a study recently about how positive it is to talk to your dead loved ones.
3. Falling for the First Time - Barenaked Ladies
I have to say that I have no idea what this song is supposed to be about, but I can speak toward my interpretation of it. When I was in college I went through an extended period of elevated stress to the point where I was breaking out in hives. Part of what was going on was that I had pushed my limits too far. I wasn’t sleeping because of the amount of work I had to get done for school, had rehearsal for two different plays, went through a break up, and was working as an RA so my room was also my office when I was on call. This stress sent shockwaves through my being as I began to doubt my abilities and sometimes my sanity. The verses plainly state some of those negative self beliefs we can all face, but the chorus is such a beautiful mantra that brings things back into perspective. I carry that mantra with me now.
4. Don’t Let me Cave In - The Wonder Years
Let’s start with: I have a tattoo for this song on my leg. There are so many songs by this band that mean a lot to me and are mighty powerful. The lead singer and lyricist, Dan “Soupy” Campbell has always been upfront about his own struggles with mental health issues and a lot of his read like poems out of his journal. This realness is one of the reasons I listen to their albums through and through, over and over again. The Wonder Years are my go-to band for when I’m angry about something and need to scream along in my car until my voice gives out. This song is also my anthem for letting people in to help me instead of trying to carrying everything on my own. Let this song be a reminder that even your therapist has tough days and needs some good old fashioned emo jams to get through the day sometimes.
5. For Now - Avenue Q
If you want to know anything about my approach to life and to therapy, listen to this song. For those of you who don’t know, this song is the closing song to the broadways musical, Avenue Q (written by the brilliant mind behind Frozen). It is the adult version of Sesame Street, so the entirety of the music is NSFW (and they do shout the word “sex” in this song). This song is unapologetic in its message that sometimes life sucks and it will suck again after this, but everything in life comes in waves and is sometimes good, or even great! It can be hard to let the good be temporary just as it can be difficult to find your way out of difficult times. Ultimately the message is to accept that it’s “only for now” so we do what we can.
6. It’s OK - Frenchy and the Punk
Want a dancy punk rock bop played on a medieval sounding acoustic guitar? Look no further. It’s a fun song about not having any cares and remembering that you don’t have to sweat the small stuff because everything changes. Do you see a theme here?
7. No Shortcuts - Heather Maloney & Darlingside
If you are listening along, you can probably tell that I like songs where the chorus is kind of like a mantra. Here’s yet another one to help you “get to where you’re goin’.” Sometimes the road is ALL uphill and it take a lot of work. This is certainly true of anything we are going to do in therapy. Sometimes we will do things to soothe, but sometimes you might leave feeling frustrated or exhausted from the work you just put in.
8. Live Right, Love, Give, Die and Then… - River Glen
It’s really cool to get to know musicians. Both River and Frenchy and the Punk I’ve known for many years through different events. Getting to see River perform brings a certain je ne sais quoi to the intent behind the music. There is something to be said about the power of live music and how the music can feel healing and transcendent. This song already has that, as it speaks to his beliefs on life and death. This song resonates with me, too, and my values. Every time he sings “I’ll just have gone beyond the vail” I get one of those indescribable sensations in my head or possibly my brain because it resonates so deeply.
9. Mon Esprit - Sweet Crude
Speaking of brain tingle. What could be better than a powerful ballad with all the crescendo of a pulsating rock organ and the might of drums with increasing intensity? Nothing. This song is one that ALWAYS leaves me breathless, and part of it is because of how engaged I am in belting along to it. In English, this song is about how ”I sing to free my spirit.” This is music. This is life.
10. What's Up? - Four Non Blondes
Just because it's maybe the best song to act a fool to when it's about 2:00 in the morning and you're exhausted.
I could definitely keep going, but these are some of the highlights for me right now.