Make a playlist

“More than a feelin, more than a feelin … I see my MaryAnn walkin’ away.” You’re welcome. Boston planted in your head’s playlist is my gift to you. If you aren’t familiar with Boston, you are probably younger than I am. Okay, and maybe it’s just not your cup of tea. In that case, you probably shouldn’t ride in my car. My kids know — if Boston is playing in the car, conversation is forbidden, volume is up, and air drums will be played at stoplights, no matter how much you roll your eyes and say “Mom, stop!” Same goes for Queen, actually. Just pipe down and enjoy the ride.

Let’s get physical

Why does music feel so intensely personal and emotive to many of us? Reasons for our individual tastes in music are a bit mysterious, but most likely have to do with associations to memories and feelings in the past. As an example, I simply cannot hear “Come Away With Me” by Norah Jones without getting choked up, as I have such strong memories of rocking my firstborn to sleep every night with that song playing. What is less mysterious is the effect music has on our physiology, and its health benefits, such as reducing stress. A study from Wisconsin evaluated 45 patients who had suffered heart attacks within the previous 72 hours. All the patients were still in an intensive care unit but were clinically stable. Some subjects listened to classical music, while others received music-free care. All were closely monitored during the 20-minute trial. Almost instantly, the patients who were listening to music showed a drop in their heart rates, breathing rates, and need for extra oxygen. (1) Classical music isn’t the only kind that has documented effects on our bodies. Truly fascinating is brain research that demonstrates how much of the brain is ignited when we listen to music.(2)

She blinded me with science!

Many credible studies validate that music has the power to positively affect your health. But can music make you smarter? One phenomenon regarding this very thing is called the “Mozart effect.” In an effort to find a connection between music and mathematical abilities, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, investigated how listening to music affects cognitive function. In their first study, they administered standard IQ test questions to three groups of college students, comparing those who had spent 10 minutes listening to a Mozart piano sonata with a group that had been listening to a relaxation tape and one that had been waiting in silence. Mozart was the winner, consistently boosting test scores. (1)

Let’s groove tonight

Spotify is my favorite music app, and because of it, I have remembered and collected songs I hadn’t thought of in years, as well as some new wonderful discoveries. There are many apps to help you get that playlist up and running, though. Here is a website listing the top nine free ones that can assist you in your musical journey today.

What is great about these apps is that they can help you remember songs you can’t recall, and find songs that are much like the ones you already love. The art of making a playlist takes talent, as John Cusack will proclaim in High Fidelity. Giving your lists themes is essential. No one wants to hit the trail for a power run in need of some adrenaline and hear Enya. She’s for bath time, of course.

What are my jams, you ask?

Speaking of playlists, sharing them is awesome. As you may already know, some apps allow you to share your playlists to inspire your friends. That’s the beauty of music. It is not only associated with personal emotions, but also with our favorite people. Much like smell, music latches onto memories and can conjure them up immediately. And now, the moment you have been waiting for … top 10 jams to get us going, shared with you by our writing staff.

Kara (me):
Boston – “Peace of Mind”
Queen – “Under Pressure”, “I Want to Break Free”, “Somebody to Love”
Guns and Roses – “Sweet Child of Mine”
Elton John – “Rocket Man” “Someone Saved My Life Tonight”
Earth, Wind and Fire – “Let’s Groove Tonight”, “September”
Enrique Iglesias – “Bailando”

Dyland and Lenny – “Balada”
Marc Antony – “Vivir Mi Vida”
Sugarland – “Stuck Like Glue”
Shania Twain – “This Kiss”
Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart”
English Beat – “Pressure Drop”
J Boog – “Sunshine Girl”
Idina Menzel – “Defying Gravity”
Robin Williams – “Friend Like Me”
Anything from Natalie MacMaster

Flo Rida – “Good Feeling”
Meghan Trainor – “Me Too”
Bruno Mars – Uptown Funk
American Authors – “Best Day of My Life”
Andy Grammer – “Good to Be Alive”
Lady Gaga – Born This Way
Nicki Minaj – “Pound the Alarm”
I like to throw in a few cheesy/funny songs to make me laugh when I’m jogging, like LMFAO – “Sexy and I Know It” and Pitbull – “I Know You Want Me”
A couple of tough girl songs are always good for motivation too!
Pink – “So What” and Eminem – “Lose Yourself”

Freemasons – “Uninvited”
KDA – “Just Say”
Imagine Dragons – “Polaroid”
R.O.U.D.O.S. – “Know Some Things”
Jem and the Holograms – “Youngblood”
Nelly Furtado – “Promiscuous”
Meghan Trainor – “NO”
Nickodemus – “Peace Pipe”
Thievery Corporation – “Sound the Alarm”
Bob Marley – “Roots, Rock, Reggae”


Read the whole article and watch fascinating This is your brain on music video on CNN’s site:



  1. Music and health. Harvard Health Publications. Accessed Feb 15, 2017.
  2. Landau E. This is your brain on music. CNN: Health. Feb 2, 2016. Accessed Feb 15, 2017.


Kara Chine

About Kara Chine

Kara Tabor Chine lives in Encinitas, California with her husband and two teenage children. She is a native Texan, but graduated from San Diego State with a degree in Communication and Journalism. After getting her teaching credential at Point Loma Nazarene, she taught high school literature for 6 years, followed by a decade of designing video and web-based teacher training. Kara has also taught English abroad off and on for 10 years, to both children and professionals, in Italy and Switzerland. Her passions include travelling back roads of Italy, beach volleyball, hilarious dark comedy, wine drinking on the beach with the hubs, and laughing with her wacky creative kids.

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