The other day Spotify recommended a great playlist to me called “Summer Healing Session: You Matter” (which I would encourage you to check out). But, aside from loving the list as a whole, there was one key inspirational song on there from years ago that I just loved them for reminding me about: “Get Up” by Amel Larrieux.
For those who are too young to remember this chill inspirational gem, here’s the old trippy video (thank you DailyMotion for even having this semi-complete version — Tidal has this song’s video under lock and key)…
I’m not going to pretend to be the biggest fan of Ms. Larrieux. I am sure I know other songs she’s done, but I couldn’t name them. This song was IT for me.
To put this in perspective:
- I have shed tears to this song.
- I have worked all-nighters to this song.
- I have contemplated my Blackness in the context of this song.
And while I didn’t NEED the pick-me-up when I re-discovered it this time around, it was nice to get the reminder. I figure maybe someone else out there could benefit from the vibe it gives off.
Why I Love Amel Larrieux’s “Get Up”
To understand that we have to look at the lyrics. The beat is amazing, but you have to take in the hook as a mantra of sorts – and then the rest of the lyrics begin to follow.
Check out the hook….
Whether someone else is telling you that or it just floats through your head in your own voice internally, it’s uplifting. There is both acknowledgement and action in the rhythmically questioning turn of phrase.
I really do think this song single-handedly did more to program my “no excuses” mentality than anything else in my life I may have seen or read simply because of how many times I played the track.
And the rest of the lyrics, while brief, carry their own specificity for some and abstraction for others.
6 AM – Gettin’ out of bed again
Can’t get back in – ‘Cuz sleep ain’t gonna pay the rent
Day after day – They got you workin’ like a slave
Takin’ credit for the work you gave
And stealin’ your raise, but I…
People try – To pull the wool over your eyes
Don’t know why – They want to profit from – your demise
They lie – To cover up how weak they are inside
Ooh, baby, baby don’t you cry
All you got’s your pride, so I
The other words of the song are literally the hook and scat-breaks.
The song is super minimal, but I used to take so much out of it. At times I would literally think about work. Other moments made me think about school or combating my own inherent laziness. I’ve meditated on these lyrics to get over breakups and other moments of grief. I deal with depression – and the hook alone often moves me from any negative mental spots when I pause, acknowledge my current situation, and then repeatedly ask myself the most meaningful question: “When you gon’ get up?”
I have thought about the status of my family, friends, and culture as I’ve listened to this song again and again.
I don’t know why, but this song puts me in a trance-like state of being where I don’t care about the world yet care about it SO much all at the same time. Hell… Voodoo? (j/k)
I always feel good after I pull a solid session of listening to this song a few times in a row. Not that many things or people have that impact on me or inspire me like that. Period. I can literally count them and have room to spare on my 10 fingers.
I Share This Because…
I know that there is someone out there who needs this pick-me-up in their life.
I know what it’s like to suffer alone in silence.
I know that everyone is dealing with their own struggle in life.
I know someone is tired. Could be as simple as that.
But — I also hope this song makes one of the great truths of human existence apparent to anyone who listens to it a few times repeatedly. At the end of the day, we all have two states of being: You can either choose to (1) let things bring you down or (2) you can get up.
That is it.
Life can be hard sometimes. And at other times (like what happened in Atlanta recently), the world can outright suck. R.I.P. to those victims.
But fortunately, no one determines how we react to the bumps of our existence other than ourselves. We are the Captain and Commander of our own internal state. We choose when to free ourselves of the weight.
Peace, and thanks for reading.
The soundtrack for this post provided by…
– Cover Image © Dusan Petkovic (Shutterstock)
– Body Image © BUNDITINAY (Shutterstock)