It does not matter whether you listen to soul or Sinatra, classical or Kanye, music improves your health. It has been shown to lower stress, boost mood and elevate workout performance. It is also linked to better memory, sleep and blood pressure.
As our tunes play in the backdrop of our lives, we may tap, dance, or tap-dance to the beats behind us. We might sing along. We might think deeply. We might not even notice the words or rhythms. But here is the best part about the universal language — whatever we do hear, we can take a songwriter’s story and apply the lyrics to our own lives.
Who would have thought so many musicians unintentionally had health on their minds?
The Lyric: “My insides shake like a leaf on a tree.” –Elvis Presley, “All Shook Up”
What I Think: After taco five.
The Lyric: “You had my heart inside of your hand.” –Adele, “Rolling in the Deep”
What I Think: I really need to lay off the tacos.
The Lyric: “I fell into a burning ring of fire/I went down, down, down, and the flames went higher.” –Johnny Cash, “Ring of Fire”
What I Think: Reminds me, I need to refill my anti-fungal prescription.
The Lyric: “I knew you were trouble when you walked in. So shame on me now.” –Taylor Swift, “I Knew You Were Trouble”
What I Think: When the pizza deliverer drives away.
The Lyric: “Something evil’s lurking from the dark … You see a sight that almost stops your heart … As horror looks you right between your eyes/You’re paralyzed.” – Michael Jackson, “Thriller”
What I Think: In the seconds before I step on the scale.
The Lyric: “I’ve been thinking/I’ve been thinking/Why can’t I keep my fingers off you?” –Beyoncé, “Drunk in Love”
What I Think: Would everyone pleeeeease stop keeping candy jars in their offices?
The Lyric: “Get up, get on up.” – James Brown, “Get Up”
What I Think: During a set of damn burpees.
The Lyric: “Last name Ever, first name Greatest.” – Drake, “Forever”
What I Think: RIP Burrito Bros.
The Lyric: “Strike a pose.” – Madonna, “Vogue”
What I Think: Need. More. Yoga.
The Lyric: “Welcome to the jungle/It gets worse here every day.” – Guns N’ Roses, “Welcome to the Jungle”
What I Think: When I get a glimpse of my shoulder and back hair.
The Lyric: “Brown sugar how come you taste so good.” – The Rolling Stones, “Brown Sugar”
What I Think: Brown sugar, how come you do taste so good?
The Lyric: “There’s vomit on his sweater already: Mom’s spaghetti.” – Eminem, “Lose Yourself”
What I Think: Maybe try whole-wheat pasta, or limit your intake of simple carbs and emphasize healthy fats, protein and vegetables. That might agree with your digestive system a little better, or at the very least, keep your blood sugar at healthy levels.
The Lyric: “Baby, you’re much too fast.” – Prince, Little Red Corvette
What I Think: This applies to every single person I am running a race with.
Have some of your own? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post some of the best.
Ted Spiker (@ProfSpiker) is the chair of the University of Florida department of journalism, as well as a health and fitness writer. He is the author of DOWN SIZE, a book about the science and soul of weight loss and dieting.