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Mr. Russell's Music Recs

By Mr. Russell

Wow! I actually get to write for the Vivette Times! What an honor to be asked. Really, that isn’t sarcasm…at all…how could you tell, even if you know me? And when I was asked to follow Carmyn Grapperhaus’ music article, I was a bit intimidated. After all, who wants to follow a legend? And the great ones, like Carmyn, make it look so easy. But I decided to take my chances and follow a future University of Nebraska graduate and give you some music to listen to get through finals week. Yeah, finals are a drag, but you will survive. Even teachers that you think aren’t very bright (you better have not thought of me when you read that) managed to make it through their final weeks intact! So, if we, and especially I, did it, you can, too! I chose these songs for their optimism and message. (And no, the “Friday Song” as I call it, is not among the choices. For those of you that haven’t had my classes yet, you are going to love that song!) And, to make Mr. Schweizer happy, I think all these musicians play their own instruments!

So here they are, and in no particular order:

“Float On” by Modest Mouse (2004).

This is about always looking at the bright side when all things around you seem to be crashing. I simply like it’s optimism. I’ve made a bunch of mistakes in the past. We all have. I messed up a final exam or two (or a lot more) yet, I am still ‘floating on.” I try to use this song at the beginning of the year for my AP classes. Unfortunately, I ran into technical difficulties at the start of this year and didn’t use it. I guess I’ll just “float on," okay?

“Everything is Gonna Be Alright” by Bob Marley (1980).

Well, the title says it all. Regardless, everything IS gonna be alright! Once again, the optimism is outstanding! And, if you haven’t yet, buy the whole Bob Marley and the Whalers “Legend” album (or CD, or whatever they are called today). It really is that awesome! I have it on vinyl. Yeah, I’m that guy.

“Suit and Jacket” Judah & the Lion (2016).

Don’t grow too old, too fast. I’m getting older, but don’t feel it. Enjoy this time! Plan for the future, but enjoy the day! “So don’t tell me I’m getting older…Don’t tell me I’m growing colder, ‘cause I’ll decide when I do.” By the way, as I tell my students, “I’m living forever…so far, so good.”

“Good Time Girl” by Sofi Tukker featuring Charlie Barker (2018).

Sometimes you just have to click a song that YouTube “recommended for you.” So, I did, and this wonderful song popped up and quickly became a favorite of my last year’s advisory, or at least it was for scariest senior nominee Abby Quinn! And any song that contains an obvious reference to Viz girls with the lyric: “And here I am playing by myself, me and my superiority complex. And here I am playing by myself, me and my inferiority contest, I'm not winning. But I'm having a very good time.” And for what its worth, the video isn’t bad, either.

“Silver Lining” by Mt. Joy (2017).

I simply love the vibe this song puts out. Always look for the silver lining. And if you haven’t noticed by now, I really like cool lyrics. This song contains a true gem, and it holds true for teachers and everyone else: “And tell the ones you love, you love them. Teach only what you know, and oh, you better know it well.” So regardless of how great or poorly you do on your finals, always look for the Silver Lining. The song is also about friendship (in my opinion).

“Ali in the Jungle” by The Hours (2007).

I know it was used in a Nike commercial, but it’s still an amazing song. “Everybody gets knocked down, how quick are you gonna get up?” and “and it doesn’t matter how you start it’s how you finish.” And any song that uses the line: “it’s the greatest comeback since Lazarus” simply begs to be listened too! Also, any song that can reference so many people overcoming adversity is worthwhile. (The people mentioned in the song, if you don’t know who they are, Muhammad Ali, perhaps the greatest boxer of all time and a champion of civil rights, participated in one of the greatest fights known as “The Rumble in the Jungle.” Nelson Mandela, I shouldn’t have to mention who is! Joe Simpson, who overcame incredible odds surviving a mountain climbing accident, the book in Touching the Void is based on his experience. Helen Keller, once again, no reference needed. Tony Adams, an English soccer player that was arrested for drunken behavior, that’s the “Adams in the Dock” reference, overcame alcoholism to become one of the greatest players ever. And Ludwig von Beethoven, again, no reference needed.)

Honorable mention “Oh Sweet Nuthin’” The Velvet Underground (1970). Trust me. And buy their album “Loaded.” Again, trust me.

Well that’s it kids! Don’t sweat the finals too much.


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