Motivational Music: Songs That Get Me Going

I was reading an article on music motivation and I started thinking about when I listen to music at work and what I seek out for motivation.

To be honest, I have a hard time listening to music when I’m writing — even classical music. But there are times when I’m not writing or editing and I need a pick me up. That’s when I turn on my iTunes and tune in. I try to keep it at a normal decibel level during normal office hours, but when I’m working late and the only one in the office I can turn it up and even — gasp! — sing along.

I’m a child of the 80s and 90s, and having graduated from high school during the “Jock Jams” era and grunge, my taste varies. Here are some of my favorite pump-me-up tunes:

I Like to Move it Move it (Reel 2 Reel)

This song has actually permeated my 3-year-old niece’s musical repetoire thanks to the movie, Madagascar.

Two Step (Dave Matthews)

I spent many a summer planning trips to Dave Matthews concerts with my friends during my college years. They’re some of my best memories of my early 20’s and his music always gets me revved up.

Fired Up (Ralph Falcon)

I also spent many a summer working at restaurants and nightclubs in the Boston area during college, so dance music always gets my body moving. The beat to this song is simply infectious.

Send Me On My Way (Rusted Root)

This is a great song to listen to in the car, but beware. I’ve caught myself speeding every time it comes on. It just makes you want to go fast!

What songs do you listen to when you need a little extra oomph?

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Melanie Brooks has written for newspapers, magazines, blogs, and websites from Maine to New Jersey. She currently works as an editor for Bangor Metro and Maine Ahead magazines.


  1. Jonathan on the 29th September

    When I’m on an upbeat kick, Huey Lewis & The News always gets it going! “I Want A New Drug” is at the top of my playlist right now.

    But sometimes I need something dramatic when I’m working late on a personal project or something really abstract. The score from Inception has been filling that niche lately.

    • Bryan Thompson on the 30th September

      The “Inception” score! Awesome! I hadn’t thought about that one. Great idea.

  2. Simon MacDonald on the 29th September

    Three songs that really get me going are:

    Going On by Gnarls Barclay
    Best of Your by the Foo Fighters
    Just Dance by Lady Gaga

  3. Jennifer Brown Banks on the 29th September

    I’m a big fan of “SHOUT, SHOUT, LET IT ALL OUT!” By Tears for Fears

    It’s an oldie but goodie…

  4. Chris on the 30th September

    Me First And The Gimme Gimmes – All Songs.
    Offspring – The “Conspiracy Of One”-Album, esp. “one fine day”
    some special german groups with fast punkrock-songs.

    Nothing better to kickoff a day and to wipe away some headaches.

  5. Anton on the 30th September

    For some move or for inspiration I like to listen soulful drum and bass:-) sometime for reggie and hip-hop (matisyahu,da budz or something old like wu-tang). And sometimes L.Armstrong makes my way to creative field and productive work!:-) music is a great survival:-)

  6. Bryan Thompson on the 30th September

    It depends on what kind of work I’m doing. If I’m doing office work, nothing gets me going like the blues or classic rock (including Huey Lewis, as Jonathan mentioned above).

    If it’s manual labor (i.e. mowing my lawn – I’m strangely an audio-book and podcast junkie so it’s Spoken Word/NPR in moments where I can absorb and listen).

    And when I’m freelancing, writing, or being creative, the more ambient the better – Moby, AIR, and Imogen Heap can usually do the trick.

  7. Gargi on the 1st October

    For me it would be:
    Let’s Get Loud by JLo
    Rock DJ by Robbie Williams
    Lovin’ Each Day by Ronan Keating

    Btw, I too have a hard time listening to music when I’m writing!

  8. Gargi on the 1st October

    For me it would be:
    Lets get loud by JLo
    Rock DJ by Robbie Williams
    Lovin’ Each Day by Ronan Keating

    Btw, I too have a hard time listening to music when I’m writing.

  9. Gargi on the 1st October

    For me it would be:
    Lets get loud by JLo
    Rock DJ by Robbie Williams
    Lovin’ Each Day by Ronan Keating

    Btw, I too have a hard time listening to music when I’m writing.

  10. Mark Szymanski on the 1st October

    When I need something to get me going, I listen to some crazy, hard dance song. But it is usually with Pandora so I never quite know what it’ll be. But if I need to listen to something on my machine, it will probably be some tune I got from NewGrounds ( or a song by Daft Punk. But I don’t use iTunes. I use cmus (

  11. William on the 4th October

    One word: Pendulum. Drum and bass is the best to get the body going.

  12. Jonelle on the 4th October

    For me, lately its been a lot of David Guetta, especially “Club Can’t Handle Me” when doing some serious coding.

    Although, nothing beats Snow Patrol, The Temper Trap and Metric when trying to get work done.

  13. john barnes on the 5th October

    For me if the music has lyrics or too much going on, i find it too distracting, so it has to be instrumental stuff really.

    I like to listen to stuff like steve reich, or some of aphex twins ambient stuff, keeps me relaxed and motivated without distracting me.

  14. Soumya on the 7th October

    I love listening to new age/ambient while designing. Currently I’m high on Australis and Amethystium. 🙂

  15. Federico on the 17th October

    I really love Shosholosa (
    I love it since I heard it in an italian comedy in 1979. It’s full of positive energy.

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