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30 motivational songs to jump start your day

Lisa Wright

It’s the first day back to work after the Christmas break and you’re probably not feeling your best. Luckily, we’ve got the perfect remedy for New Year sluggishness. Who better to give you a boost than Kanye, Liam G or MIA? Here are 30 motivational anthems to kick start your 2018 and help you conquer the world.


Gary Lightbody apparently wrote ‘Run’ after going on a massive bender and falling down some stairs. “The words ‘Light up, light up’ gave this sense of a beacon. There had to be a light at the end of a tunnel,” he said.

Follow Franz’s lead and go where you’ve never let yourself before! Well, at least switch your usual lunch for an edgier meal deal tomorrow.

If any song’s going to make you politically motivated ahead of the forthcoming election, it’s this anti-Conservative rant from The Jam. “You choose your leaders and place your trust/As their lies wash you down and their promises rust,” Paul Weller sings. Let that be a lesson.

Two important things to know about ‘There Goes The Fear’. 1. It’s imperative you dance like your dad to the jangly bits that sound like the Grange Hill theme tune. 2. Make the most of the track’s passive motivational skills by letting the lyric “You turn around and life’s passed you by” give you the fear factor.

Do what La Roux says (go in for the kill, do it for the thrill, etc. etc.) on her sassy electropop debut and you’re sure to tackle whatever naysayers might come your way with aplomb.

Two parts aggressively energetic, one part hilarious (“I never eat a pig ’cause a pig is a cop”), ‘Jump Around’ has featured in at least two action movies, ‘Daredevil’ and ‘Rush Hour’, so is certified motivation music.

Combine forceful synth stabs with stirring lyrics – “We are your friends/ You’ll never be alone again” – and you have a track so powerful it’ll defeat even Hollyoaks Omnibus laziness.

Something about this synthy, bubbly, giddy tune turns tedious jogs through rundown towns into excited dashes through vibrant metropolises. It’s the ultimate ‘pretending to be in a movie’ exercise song.

What better way to begin the day than with double-drum-kit, full-throttle Arcade Fire. Just make sure you pick the “Now I’m ready to start/My mind is open wide” lyrics as your mantra rather than the “Businessmen drink my blood” bits. That would be weird.

Containing the word ‘adventuring’ 8 times and the word ‘adventurer’ 10 times, if Be Your Own Pet haven’t convinced you to head off on at least a mini-break by the time you finish listening to ‘Adventure’ you’re a stone-hearted individual.

Question: Wouldn’t life be 100% better if you lived everyday like you were Missy Elliot? Answer: Yes. Make sure you “Getcha getcha getcha getcha getcha freak on” and today will be a glorious day.

Surely The Strokes have missed a trick by not re-releasing this classic now YOLO’s a thing? Anyway, aside for the obvious hedonistic title, this track has the kind of good vibes

Don’t be fooled by the laid-back beat, this is a song about winning at life. Its title was taken from ‘Scarface’ in which Tony Montana makes the phrase his mantra.

a little because even lazy Sunday mornings can be motivational. The mix of hazy melodies and lyrics like “I believe you get what you give” is potent.

If Drake started at the bottom and got his whole team here so can you. He used to work all night, drive home through traffic, be hungry, live at his momma’s house and argue with her monthly but now nothing’s poppin’ off without him.

Okay, so this video has that weird ginger genocide storyline but let’s ignore that. The lesson to learn here is “Yeah I don’t wanna live for tomorrow/ I push my life today”.

This is probably one to listen to in the secrecy of your bedroom if you don’t want to ruin your street cred. It’s a bit, well, ‘X Factor final’ now (cheers Simon Cowell). Still, listening to ‘Dog Days Are Over’ puts an uplifting summer glow on dull, grey days.

If Kanye’s breathless ‘I Am A God’ doesn’t make you want to get up on your feet, not much will. It’s time to get stacking millions till you’re chilling with Jesus and remember, never ever accept sloppy service when it comes to croissant.

Life lesson to take from ‘Bossy’? Stop being nice to everyone. Remember: “You don’t have to love me/ You don’t even have to like me/ But you will respect me”. Now, dominate the office.

That riff, that anti-establishment attitude: whether you’re doing a 20 minute crosstrainer sesh or powering through your tax returns, try your hardest to channel ‘Teen Spirit’ in moments of stress.

The musical equivalent to your mum standing at the bottom of the stairs shouting “No, not in five minutes! Do your homework NOW”.

If you’re trying to psych yourself into getting out of a mundane job/relationship/town this is the song to scream.

Do we really need to explain why we chose this? No track is more hype than ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’.

Spike Lee commissioned ‘Fight The Power’ for his movie ‘Do The Right Thing’. “I wanted it to be defiant, I wanted it to be angry, I wanted it to be very rhythmic,” he told TIME magazine – and that’s why it’s the perfect motivator.

Originally used to slew Asher D in a rap battle, you can now use ‘Fix Up, Look Sharp’ to convince yourself that sweatpants are never office appropriate. Even on casual Friday.

Egyptian journalist Mono Elthahawy says of ‘Seven Nation Army’: “Every time I hear the opening lines it just takes me to Egypt, where people – I’ve never seen anything like it. Literally, nothing can hold them back.” If it’s good enough for the Arab Spring it’s good enough for you.


We imagine that when Beyonce faces the mirror each morning she looks herself in the eye and thinks “Who run the world? BEYONCE”. You should do the same.

Beth Ditto wrote Standing In The Way Of Control as a response to a US Amendment which would have outlawed same-sex marriage in the country. Explaining the ruling made her friends feel “helpless and cheated,” she said: “I wrote the chorus to try and encourage people not to give up.”


A stone cold motivational anthem, guaranteed to put you in the zone. When it comes to getting yourself in gear, look no further than the king of overconfidence.

Put this on, yell the lyrics at the top of your voice and pretend it’s 2am on Friday night, you’ve got your arms round your mates and anything is possible.