5 songs I can't live without inspired by Brené Brown

5 Songs You Can’t Live Without: What Makes the Cut?

Brené Brown asks her guests on the Unlocking Us podcast: what are 5 songs you can’t live without?

I was walking Dexter the other day while listening. I started thinking about what my 5 songs would be — just in case Brené Brown ever calls me to be on her show (hah!).

5 songs I can't live without. Inspired by Brené Brown

First I had to figure out how to even pare them down, all the songs from all the playlists I have complied, favorites from various eras of my life. SO many soundtracks, depending on if we’re talking the early years with my sisters and parents, my college years, my young adult years, our early marriage, my second childhood (aka raising-my-children years), or even other criteria that’s not timeline-based.

I settled on the criteria as this: songs associated with people. My people.

Here it is, my list.

5 Songs I Can’t Live Without

  1. Tradition from Fiddler on the Roof. My parents used to play it LOUD for me and my sisters. I love the part where the Papas and the Mamas and the Sons and the Daughters are all harmonizing about their expected roles in their culture. Makes me happy to hear this song and be transported back to a Saturday morning in my childhood home.
  2. Lollipop by the Chordettes. This song came out way before our time, but my sisters and I have always liked to sing 3-part harmony to it (as well as to this song). It’s such a simple and happy song, and it takes me back to simple and happy times.
  3. Rags to Riches by Tony Bennett. My husband, a fan of Scorsese films and Goodfellas in particular, chose this song for our wedding recessional. The choice has turned out to be prescient. We are rich in all the important ways. (Runner up).
  4. Loves Me Like a Rock by Paul Simon. I used to sing this to Tessa and Reed from their baby years long into their tween years. I wonder if they’d let me do so again, and maybe even join in? (Runner up for Tessa; runner up for Reed).
  5. Good Riddance by Green Day. This one is a shout out to friends over the years, with the sentiment more in line with the subtitle, “time of your life.” When I hear this, I think of my high school friends, my college friends, my Japan friends, my Syria friends, my Vino Support Group, my blogging friends, my mom friends, on-the-sidelines friends, my yoga and energy friends. My heart swells with so many fond and funny memories.

Didn’t Make the Cut

Ohmigod, this is hard, y’all (said in my best Brené Brown voice).

I had to leave out Jesus Christ Superstar and Rent and Grease. Also Beethoven and Bach and Satie. And Michael Franti and the Alan Parsons Project and Indigo Girls and the Hues Corporation. Plus Miley Cyrus and twenty-one pilots and Pharrell Williams and Bruno Mars and Aloe Blacc and Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias and One Direction and Michael Kiwanuka. And Billy Joel and Fleetwood Mac and the Eagles and Wilco and Ingrid Michaelson and Meatloaf and Queen and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones and a Ganesha mantra and the B-52s. Also Cheap Trick and Jovanotti and Supertramp and the Kinks and Aimee Mann and the Mamas & Papas.

And and and…

As painful as the process has been, at least now I’m ready for Brené Brown’s call.

Your Turn

Who knows? Brené Brown might call you. Better be prepared.

What would be on your list? How would you even choose? How do you bear giving up all the other songs?


This post is part of #MicroblogMondays. Whazzat? A post that’s not too long. Head to Stirrup Queens to join the fun.


guide to living in open adoption

Lori Holden, mom of a teen son and a teen daughter, writes from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.

Lori was honored as an Angel in Adoption® in 2018 by the Congressional Coalition of Adoption Institute.

6 thoughts on “5 Songs You Can’t Live Without: What Makes the Cut?”

  1. I loved this! Choosing five would be very very hard. And I’ll admit to getting a bit emotional at the thought of you singing Paul Simon’s song to your kids. So sweet.

  2. This is really hard. There are things I would put on there because they’re meaningful—like “Sister Goldenhair” or “Brown Eyed Girl”—but I love them because they’re meaningful vs. loving them on their own. I return to “Uncle John’s Band” a lot. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen. “Brown Girl in the Ring.” “Minguley Boat Song.”

  3. I’ll play along, but my choices are pretty mood-dependent. Maybe Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, In Between Days by The Cure, A Sort of Homecoming by U2, Freedom ’90 by George Michael, and First by Cold War Kids?

    Like Mel, I have definite associations with songs – Brown Eyed Girl was playing on the oldies station almost every afternoon when I got in to work at my first job out of college. I associate it with my friend Jim, who was the cranky old dude who (unofficially) ran the lab. He passed away a couple years ago. You Oughtta Know by Alanis Morrissette and Head Like A Hole by Nine Inch Nails are like the soundtrack to my 20s. Mad About You by Belinda Carlisle was the song my baby would nap to every day when she was an infant. Big Girls Don’t Cry by Fergie was her favorite as a toddler. Now we sing Lizzo songs together.

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