Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not because it kickstarts your metabolism or any of that nonsense, but because it is the meal that is most socially acceptable to pair with a huge mug of strong coffee. A second cup at lunchtime is also key to keeping your energy levels high well into the early evening. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to access another cup of coffee in the middle of the afternoon if you're at work, in class, or paralyzed by the heat of the summer sun. Or maybe you're trying that new fad where you cut down on your caffeine intake. Either way, if your eyelids are starting to feel like granite slabs around midday in the office or you recently fell asleep on the shoulder of a stranger on the subway, but you can't make it to a bodega or a Starbucks right now, we have a list of songs that will perk you up even more effectively than a venti latte.
1. "Tongues" by Joywave feat. KOPPS
The opening vocal line that repeats throughout this song sounds like a rush of caffeine powered inspiration flashing across the screen of your mind. This Joywave
jam is so distinctively peppy that I specifically remember the very first time I heard it. I was in the passenger seat as my friend drove down a winding, poorly lit road in the dark. Just like a cup of coffee, "Tongues" kept our minds focused and our eyes on the road, ensuring that we got home safely so we could listen to the rest of Joywave's music. Seriously, I'm so excited that they are finally starting to gain popularity. Stay awake for the release of their new album, Content
, on July 28th.
2. "Shine on Me" by Dan Auerbach
This single off of Dan Auerbach
's latest solo album, Waiting On A Song
, will make you smile so hard you wouldn't be able to fall asleep on your desk if you tried. The song's chorus can only be described as sunny and lyrics like "You've only got a couple miles to go/ If you're trying to drive me insane" will -- much like a cup of coffee -- allow you to deal with annoyances such as noisy, late night construction across from your apartment and your mother's seemingly endless stream of text messages.
3. "Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man
"Feel It Still" is an infectious rock track that feels like a sped up recording of itself. It's not just the song's pace that will have you powering through that late afternoon crash either. The song is about holding on to a sense of fun and positive energy from the past instead of becoming tired and jaded. Forget about the things that are weighing you down and recapture your youthfulness while you sing along with Portugal. The Man
4. "Fire" by Louis The Child feat. Evalyn
Much like most people in the first hours of the early morning, this song takes a minute to warm up. "Fire" starts off with Evalyn singing about wanting to escape into the starry sky to avoid too-real stresses like paying rent and waiting on a paycheck. The song builds during the pre-chorus to drop into one of Louis The Child
's wavering, neon beats after the kick-ass line "And if it goes down in flames/ The smoke gonna spell my name". These confident lyrics allow the song to achieve the rare feat of being inspiring and motivational without feeling cheesy or being called "Roar".
5. "Fleur de Lys" by Phoenix
This song off of Phoenix
's latest album, Ti Amo
, conjures up memories of the sparse theme from a retro video game before exploding with a colorful burst of synth chords and leveling off into a steady beat that carries Thomas Mars' falsetto voice throughout the song. I could envision "Fleur de Lys" backing a montage from the part of the movie where the protagonist grits their teeth and starts bulking up for the big game or getting into the groove of a competitive new job by virtue of pure determination. (Have I watched The Devil Wears Prada
too recently?) After consuming their daily cup of coffee, of course.
6. "Someone Who Can Dance" by Icona Pop
"Someone Who Can Dance" is like an extra strong cup of coffee with it's attitude-y, honest chorus that is perfect for those times when you've had enough of everybody's gossip. By midday on a Wednesday, you are halfway to the weekend and completely in agreement with Icona Pop
as they look for "Someone who can dance/ Not someone I can talk to". The duo's new single, "GIRLS GIRLS" wins an honorable mention for a place on this list, so check that one out for an extra shot of energy.
7. "Kaleidoscope" by Fenech-Soler
When I first heard about this British band, I read their name as French Soldier. Then I listened to "Kaleidoscope" and woke up enough to become literate again. If it doesn't have the same effect on you, with its spiraling synth line and its description of a love powerful enough to cause visual distortions, then I am afraid you are fated to a lifetime of sluggishness.
8. "Punching In A Dream" by The Naked And Famous
This song is the only reason I ever got out of bed and made it to high school on time. Five years later it is still on several of my workout playlists because I need nothing less than Alisa Xayalith's angsty indie vocals to cope with the fact that one of the only hills in New York City is directly in my running route. The surging beat drop and backup vocals give the chorus the vibrant liveliness you wish you could sustain long after the last drop of your morning coffee is gone.
9. "Caffeine" by Foreign Air
This song popped up on a playlist I picked at random at the beginning of an early morning shift way back in the depths of bleak February. The title was so appropriate that I began, slowly, to feel as if some vague deity was presiding over my playlist, using it as a conduit through which to send me energy. Then I realized this feeling was only the steadily rising effects of the actual caffeine I had consumed. Just like the artificial alertness you'll get from a cup of coffee, this song creeps up on you until you find yourself nodding in time with the chorus without even realizing that, at some point, you stopped wanting to sneak away from your responsibilities for a quick nap.
10. "40 Watt" by ELEL
Full volume only for this last song. Preferably with all the windows down and your hair streaming in the breeze. The high pitched chorus dances frantically on the border between infectious and obnoxious without ever crossing over to the wrong side of that line. The words "I jump and you spin/ Again and again" riddled with vocal trills will make you feel like you are capable of that exact energetic feat. Forget a cup of coffee, this song is the equivalent of a double espresso and a full eight hours of sleep.