Rock & Read: Music for Every Mood


Just as there are different genres of books for every reader's taste and state of mind, music also matches all kinds of moods, and each individual has their own song preferences. Below are a couple music categories or scenarios; some of our Library staffers have opened up to tell us what tunes make them turn up the dial, shed a tear, or bust a move.    

And whatever your bookish proclivities may be, you still have time to log your books before the 2018 Summer Reading Program ends on July 31. Read and record five books, claim your Rock & Read prize! (Kids get a book bag, adults get a pint glass.)  Be sure to tag any Summer Reading social media posts with #KCSummerReads.

ADULT SUMMER READING         YOUTH SUMMER READING

CATEGORIES
> Signature Song
> Guilty/Not Guilty Pleasure Song
> Romantic Song
> Sad Song
> This Song Changed My Life

 


Signature Song

It's your theme song. The one that you have set to repeat. The one that gets you on the dance floor. The one you bravely belt out alone in your car or in front of a crowd at a karaoke bar. What's the one piece of music you can't live without, and why?

 

‘You Make My Dreams Come True’ -- Hall & Oates.”
- David Cox, Interlibrary Loan

‘10,000 Emerald Pools’ by Borns --  I have not been able to get this song out of my head since the very first time I heard it! I love everything about it; from the lyrics to the sound of the music!”
- Tiffany W., North-East Branch

 

‘Carl Perkins' Cadillac’ by the Drive-By Truckers.”
- Ron Freeman, Plaza Branch/Children's Librarian

‘Ain't No Mountain High Enough’ -- can't not sing it--ever!”
- Carrie Coogan, Public Affairs

“Artist: Primitive Radio Gods. Track: ‘Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth.’
- Buddy, Outreach / Family Engagement

‘The Wild Hunt’ by Tallest Man On Earth has this adventurous, untamed energy that just strikes right into the part of me that wants to climb, jump, wander, journey, and explore!”
- Nash High, Central Library

Alice In Chains -- ’Them Bones.’
- Jakob VanLammeren, Central Reference

Lizzo, ‘Good as Hell.’"
- Mick Cottin, Delivery Services

“My go-to karaoke song (which you will rarely find me ever singing in front of people) is ‘Cecilia’ by Simon & Garfunkel. But pretty much any song that's full of energy gets me on the dance floor! Walk the Moon's ‘Shut Up and Dance’ gets me every time, although it isn't hard to get my feet a' tappin'.”
- Laura McCallister, Public Affairs

“I love the Hamilton soundtrack. I am not picking just one song from it because, as my mood changes, so too do my preferences. There is enough variety here, though, that there is almost always something that connects for me. As a poet, the wordplay is slam-worthy. As someone who grew up in theater, the character motivations are clear and intriguing. As a librarian, I know that you can listen to the whole album on hoopla.
- Anna Francesca Garcia, Central Youth Services

‘Fighting Fish’ -- Dessa.
- Lauren Olson, Youth & Family Engagement

‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ -- Will Smith.”
- Alisha, Central Library, OneNorth Technology Center

"’I Will Survive’ by Gloria Gaynor.  Even though this song is about heartbreak, it also serves as a reminder that no matter how much you feel life - or a certain someone - has beaten you down, you won't  give anyone else the power to make you feel weak!”
- Stacey M., Central Library Reference

"’I Don't Wanna Know’ by the Indigo Girls -- my signature songs will change with my experiences, but this one remains. It reminds me that I don't have to accept poor treatment from other people and I can take control of my own life.”
- Julia, Plaza Branch

"’You Shook Me’ by Led Zeppelin. I heard this song from their first album at a seminal time in my early life and it seemed to encapsulate everything in music that I was looking for but didn't know how to articulate. It is a remake of an old blues song, which is ironic, because blues is probably my least favorite genre of music. I was a struggling guitar player just starting to learn the basics of the instrument, and hearing Jimmy Page for the first time sparked a desire to emulate his sound that is still with me today. All the elements of what made a tight rock band with only four people were present and remains a template for newcomers today.”
-  Bob, Outreach

"’Karma Chameleon’ -- Culture Club.”
-  Bailey, Outreach

"’Pretty Girl Rock’ by Keri Hilson. When it comes on, the volume goes up. I turn it up when it feels good. The first time I heard it I thought, ‘boy she's full of herself.’ But then you realize that's the point! The lyrics ‘I can talk about it 'cause I know that I'm pretty, And if you know it too, then ladies sing it with me’ invite every woman to stand up and sing out loud that she's beautiful. And what is wrong that? Not a dang thing.”
- Courtney Lewis, Public Affairs

"’Shake it Off’ by Florence + The Machine - it's so good. Whether it's first thing in the morning and you need a wake-up song, working out and needing motivation, or trying to settle down at the end of a stressful day -- shake it off! It literally makes me want to dance in the car.”
- Diana Platt, Plaza Branch

"’Make a Move’ by The Main Squeeze, because even the opening sequence gets me moving. It is a song that demands to be felt.”
- Beccah Rendall, Outreach

‘Carry On Wayward Son’ by Kansas. (Do we ever leave behind the defining song of our teen years?)”
- Crystal Faris, Youth & Family Engagement

 



Guilty/Not Guilty Pleasure Song

Huey Lewis said it best: It's hip to be square. There's no shame or guilt in enjoying music we love, no matter what popular tastes may be. What's your favorite "uncool" song/album/musician/band that gives you joy, haters be damned?

 

‘Nutbush City Limits’ - Tina Turner (REALLY COOL SONG!).”
- David Cox, Interlibrary Loan

Taylor Swift, ‘22.’ There is something about this song that gets me every time! It's so fun and catchy; I can't help but like it!”
- Tiffany W., North-East Branch

“‘Ben’ by Michael Jackson.”
- Ron Freeman, Plaza Branch/Children's Librarian

‘Can't Smile Without You’ by Barry Manilow -- in fact I love anything by Barry Manilow!"
- Carrie Coogan, Public Affairs    

“The Knight Rider theme song.”
- Buddy, Outreach / Family Engagement

Paula Abdul -- ‘Cold Hearted.’”
- Jakob VanLammeren, Central Reference

“Kenny Loggins, ‘Playing With the Boys.’"
- Mick Cottin, Delivery Services

“There was a period of time where my friends and I (who were a bit older than [this band’s] desired demographic) were really into One Direction. We may have belted some of their songs in an Offkey Karaoke Bar suite during a birthday bash…”
- Laura McCallister, Public Affairs

“‘’Hit Me Baby One More Time’ as performed by Britney Spears.
- Anna Francesca Garcia, Central Youth Services

‘Cut to the Feeling’ -- Carly Rae Jepsen.
- Lauren Olson, Youth & Family Engagement

‘All Star’ -- Smash Mouth.
- Alisha, Central Library, OneNorth Technology Center

"’80s music in general. That was the generation I grew up in, so the songs and lyrics are always familiar to me and I tend to sing along when I hear them!"
- Stacey M., Central Library Reference

"’Ways to Be Wicked,’ performed by the cast of The Descendants 2 (a Disney Channel movie).  It's a very un-Disney-like rock song, and my daughter and I love to dance to it!”
- Julia, Plaza Branch

"’Ooh Aah..Just A Little Bit!’ -- Gina G. If I'm being honest, no matter how hard I try to fight it, this one takes over and evokes happy feelings the Spice Girls tried but couldn't quite pull off.”
-  Bob, Outreach

"’Bad Blood’ -- Taylor Swift.”
-  Bailey, Outreach

"First, I will never agree to this category. Ain't no shame in my musical game. It's hard to think about something that I consider uncool or would feel guilty about. BUT in the interest of the category I will say Katy Perry's ‘Roar.’ It's not the greatest of songs. It's sort of immature, simple, and sounds a heck of a lot like ‘Brave.’ It's also fun to belt out in the car, sing with your girlfriends, and throw on when you need a confidence boost. It makes me roar.”
- Courtney Lewis, Public Affairs

"’One Night in Bangkok’ by Murray Head - I wasn't familiar with the musical Chess when I first heard this come up on the radio as a child, but my mom would always sing along. I loved something about it, and I always will, no matter how much synthesizer it uses.”
- Diana Platt, Plaza Branch

‘Baby’ by Justin Bieber.” 
- Beccah Rendall, Outreach

“Also ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ by Kansas. :)”
- Crystal Faris, Youth & Family Engagement

“‘Against All Odds’ by Phil Collins. Such earnestness. Such pain. Such a crescendoing declaration of love gone wrong. This number used to be a regular karaoke performance among friends. For more in-depth enjoyment, there’s a fantastic episode of This American Life in which Starlee Kline talks about this song being her break-up anthem, and even goes so far as to interview Collins by phone, and he and Kine ultimately end up sharing heartbreak stories. It’s an epic exploration of this genre (listen to the episode or read the transcript).”
- Andy Dandino, Public Affairs


 


Romantic Song

What's the tune you think expresses a sense of romance ranging from secret crushes to endless love? If you're selecting a passion-filled song that would make Cupid proud, what would it be?

 

‘Hold on to the Nights’ -- Richard Marx.”
- David Cox, Interlibrary Loan

‘Adore’ by Amy Shark. I love this song right now! Her voice is beautiful and I love the theme of unrequited love.”
- Tiffany W., North-East Branch

‘Pictures of You’ by The Cure.”
- Ron Freeman, Plaza Branch/Children's Librarian

‘Let's Stay Together’ - Al Green.”
- Carrie Coogan, Public Affairs    

“Artist: Shakespears Sister. Track: ‘Stay.’”
- Buddy, Outreach / Youth & Family Engagement

"’Bandit Queen’ by The Decemberists is my favorite song for when you've got a ruthless vagabond royalty.”
- Nash High, Central Library

Beyonce -- ‘Drunk In Love.’”
- Jakob VanLammeren, Central Reference

Prince, ‘Adore.’"
- Mick Cottin, Delivery Services

“I've always loved ‘I Could Fall in Love’ by Selena. A more recent favorite is First Aid Kit's ‘Emmylou’:

I'll be your Emmylou and I'll be your June
If you'll be my Gram and my Johnny too
No, I'm not asking much of you
Just sing little darling, sing with me


- Laura McCallister, Public Affairs

“‘’It Had to Be You.’”
- Anna Francesca Garcia, Central Youth Services

‘Wild Horses’ - The Sundays.”
- Lauren Olson, Youth & Family Engagement

‘All About You’ -- McFly.”
- Alisha, Central Library, OneNorth Technology Center

‘In My Life’ by The Beatles.”
- Stacey M., Central Library Reference

"It's a little fast for a love song, but I love ‘Fire Escape’ by Andrew McMahon. When I listen to it I can dream that someday someone might feel that way about me.”
- Julia, Plaza Branch

"’Possession’ by Sarah McLachlan. This one is a little dark on the surface, but a closer look shows a deeper commitment to the idea of someone else being ‘the one’ without being clingy.”
-  Bob, Outreach

"’Little Plastic Castle’ by Ani DiFranco. It's not what you think of when you think of a romantic song, but boy is it fun. It's hard to sing it without a smile on your face.”
- Courtney Lewis, Public Affairs

"’I'll Follow You into the Dark’ by Death Cab for Cutie -- it's not a cheerful song, but it's short, and direct: one day, we will die, but don't worry - I'll be with you to face that, too.”
- Diana Platt, Plaza Branch

‘We'll Be a Dream’ by We the Kings ft. Demi Lovato.”
- Beccah Rendall, Outreach

“‘At Last’ - Etta James.”
- Crystal Faris, Youth & Family Engagement

‘Bring It On Home to Me’ by Sam Cooke. His soulful voice paired with the piano just kills it.”
- Andy Dandino, Public Affairs

 



Sad Song

There's a perverse enjoyment in dwelling on sad music. As Tom Waits said, “I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things.” When you're feeling blue, is there a song that matches the mood?

 

“‘Someone Like You’ -- Adele.”
- David Cox, Interlibrary Loan

“‘The Lonely, the Lonesome & Gone’ by Lee Ann Womack.”
- Ron Freeman, Plaza Branch/Children's Librarian

‘Yesterday’ -- The Beatles.”
- Carrie Coogan, Public Affairs    

“Artist: The Police. Track: ‘Every Breath You Take.’
- Buddy, Outreach / Youth & Family Engagement

Elliott Smith -- ‘Between the Bars.’
- Jakob VanLammeren, Central Reference

King Tuff, ‘The Other.’"
- Mick Cottin, Delivery Services

‘Vice’ by Miranda Lambert is one that I love when I’m feeling a bit edgy/angsty. ‘Hallelujah’ by Leonard Cohen -- and performed by many -- is one of the most beautiful songs ever, in my book.”
- Jamie Mayo, Youth & Family Engagement

“I feel bad that I relate Josh Ritter's music to that of sad songs, but I remember listening (and crying) to a lot of his music after a bad breakup many MANY years ago. Every time I hear any of his music, I'm just taken back to that time.”
- Laura McCallister, Public Affairs

‘Still Hurting from The Last Five Years’ by Jason Robert Brown.”
- Anna Francesca Garcia, Central Youth Services

‘South Tacoma Way’ -- Neko Case.
- Lauren Olson, Youth & Family Engagement

‘Ghost of You’ -- 5 Seconds of Summer.”
- Alisha, Central Library, OneNorth Technology Center

"'Yesterday’ by The Beatles. I love the orchestral instruments in this; it gives the song a sober feeling. It's so hauntingly melodic and beautiful.”
- Stacey M., Central Library Reference

"’Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac.”
- Julia, Plaza Branch

"’One More Day’ by Diamond Rio. Of all the people I've lost along the way, my maternal grandmother always comes to mind when I hear this song and a cathartic release happens as the last bars fade out. Some others that take me to melancholia are ‘The Sad Cafe’ by The Eagles and two by Sarah McLachlan:  ‘When She Loved Me’ and ‘I Will Remember You.’ She has a unique gift of an ability to dial directly into a place I usually avoid with her interpretations.”
-  Bob, Outreach

"’It's Not Over’ -- The Smiths.
-  Bailey, Outreach

"’Bright Eyes’ by Art Garfunkel. It's from the movie version of Watership Down. Enough said :).”
- Courtney Lewis, Public Affairs

"’The Stranger Song,’ Leonard Cohen -- there's just something so hopeless in this, both musically and lyrically.  Runner-up: ‘Casimir Pulaski Day’ by Sufjan Stevens, about a boy whose friend is dying and the complex emotions and crisis of faith involved in that, breaks my heart every time.”
- Diana Platt, Plaza Branch

‘Same Old Same Old’ by The Civil Wars.”
- Beccah Rendall, Outreach

‘Heart in My Hands’ - Andreya Triana.”
- Crystal Faris, Youth & Family Engagement

‘Don’t Let Us Get Sick’ by Warren Zevon. A moving lamentation from a master songwriter. The sad irony is that two years after this song, he passed away after a battle with cancer.”
- Andy Dandino, Public Affairs


 


This Song Changed My Life

Music can be transformational. Is there a song or album that you credit with opening your eyes to a new experience, capturing an idea or thought that you strongly related to, or simply inspiring you in some way?  Tell us about the music and explain how it impacted you.



‘Running Back to You’  -- Commissioned.”
- David Cox, Interlibrary Loan

‘Let It Be’ album by The Beatles. This album got me through some of my lowest mental moments in high school. The Beatles will forever have a special place in my heart because of how much their music helped me.”
- Tiffany W., North-East Branch

‘Safe European Home’ by The Clash introduced me to punk rock in college. I had to leave Jackson Browne behind.”
- Ron Freeman, Plaza Branch/Children's Librarian

“The soundtrack to Moulin Rouge -- I never knew I could love so many songs from a musical!”
- Carrie Coogan, Public Affairs    

“Artist: The Smiths. Track: ‘How Soon Is Now.’”
- Buddy, Outreach / Family Engagement

"The album The Milk-Eyed Mender by Joanna Newsom hit me with its pure, earnest reflection, clever lyricism, and fascinating arrangements, and its thoughtful, dreamy tone still perfectly captures the tone of autumn for me -- I listen to it every year!”
- Nash High, Central Library

Nirvana -- ‘All Apologies.’
Jakob VanLammeren, Central Reference

D'Angelo, ‘Untitled (How Does It Feel).’"
- Mick Cottin, Delivery Services

“‘Brave’ by Sara Barielles; ‘Say’ by John Mayer; ‘I Hope You Dance’ by Lee Ann Womack; and a couple of others are songs I’ve used to speak and live my life the way it fits me in the face of invitations not to.”
- Jamie Mayo, Youth & Family Engagement

“I can't put my finger on a specific song or album, but I will say I'm so happy to have found the local radio station 90.9 The Bridge so soon to my move to KC seven years ago. I had worked at a college radio station for a couple semesters and they played unique music, but it was nothing like The Bridge. The Bridge has introduced me to so many great musicians locally and nationally and I've found a group of wonderful people who welcomed me when I started volunteering for the radio station.”
- Laura McCallister, Public Affairs

‘Children Will Listen’ from Into the Woods by Stephen Sondheim. Also ‘Found Tonight,’ the mash-up of Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen songs melded to support people who actively oppose violence following the Parkland shootings.”
- Anna Francesca Garcia, Central Youth Services

“‘Girl Anachronism’ -- The Dresden Dolls.”
- Lauren Olson, Youth & Family Engagement

“‘Jet Black Heart’ -- 5 Seconds of Summer.”
- Alisha, Central Library, OneNorth Technology Center

"May be a strange answer, but ‘Buckaroo Holiday’ by Aaron Copeland -- my senior year of high school I earned the spot as principal bassoonist for the state honor symphony, AND I had a short solo in this piece. While I haven't kept up with performing, it remains a very proud moment for me.”
- Julia, Plaza Branch

"’Warrior’ by Wishbone Ash. An obscure song by an even more obscure 70's rock band, but one of my first bands won a ‘battle of the bands’ with this song against some some extremely stiff competition playing the more popular music of the day. Our win was a complete, unexpected surprise and literally put me on a musical guitar path I follow today.”
-  Bob, Outreach

"’Southbound’ by The Allman Brothers Band. I heard it when I was 14 years old at a dive bar where my friend's brother's band was playing. It was an all-ages show, in case you're wondering why I was in the bar. The band was covering a lot of Southern Rock. Even though it was a cover, I couldn't forget the way the guitar opened the song. From the opening notes you know it's going to be a doozy. The next day I went to Sam Goody and bought The Allman Brothers Band: A Decade of Hits 1969-1979. I played ‘Southbound’ over and over and over. The dual drummers, Chuck Leavell on the piano playing dual leads with the guitar (!!), and just the relentless pushing of the song. ‘Southbound’ turned me into an Allman Brothers Band devotee for the rest of my life.”  (“Check out Allman Brothers Band playing ‘Southbound’ in 1973 at the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA. Dickey Betts on guitar and Chuck Leavell on piano -- you finally see him for his solo around 3:03 -- are life-giving https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUyjeiWz_6c”)
- Courtney Lewis, Public Affairs

"’Hallelujah,’ first by Rufus Wainwright, then by Jeff Buckley, then by Leonard Cohen. This is my order of discovery. Rufus Wainwright is arguably the musician that changed my life; as a teenager I grabbed his self-titled album on a whim, the first music I had ever purchased for myself, never having heard of him. I was blown away at how different he was from everything my family, friends, or the radio was playing, and it really formed the basis for a lot of my strange musical tastes. I discovered ‘Hallelujah’ on the Shrek soundtrack (which is a really interesting album, by the way, Smash Mouth aside), and it changed me. I didn't know music could DO that. Later of course I discovered that it was a cover, which led me first to Jeff Buckley and then to Leonard Cohen, both of whom brought something of their own, different life experiences in. The only thing I don't like about this song is that now I have to sit through it being played as a ‘Christmas’ song by some radio stations, just because it has the word ‘Hallelujah’ in it, which is almost intolerable!”
- Diana Platt, Plaza Branch

‘Holy’ by Pvris. I saw Pvris perform this song in front of a huge crowd of exhausted fans at a Warped Tour, and it was amazing. Every time I listen to it, I find something new to think about.”  
- Beccah Rendall, Outreach


‘Big Town’ by Ashley Cleveland: a rock/blues gravelly voiced version of living my faith.”
- Crystal Faris, Youth & Family Engagement

 

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