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Alex Koenig is not alone, because the TV’s on.

On his posthumous LP Life After Death, which was released in the spring of 1997, the Notorious B.I.G. rapped, “Stay far from timid, only make moves when your heart’s in it, and live the phrase ‘sky’s the limit.’” Consider this mixtape to foster the late Christopher Wallace’s beliefs in giving your blood, sweat, and tears to your craft. In this case, however, we’re trading our turntables for guitars: this is a rock and roll compilation.

You might initially roll your eyes at the obvious motivational platitudes of the song titles: “You Get What You Give,” “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” “Don’t Give It Up Now.” But motivation isn’t best delivered in a subtle way—it has to immediately lift you up like the bright, sinewy hook of a chorus or a scroll of lyrical wisdom, and those are what the following eleven songs provide. If spring break is about letting it loose, then this spring playlist is about pulling yourself together.

1. New Radicals – “You Get What You Give”
2. Nick Lowe – “So It Goes”
3. The La’s – “Timeless Melody”
4. Olivia Tremor Control – “No Growing (Exegesis)”
5. Pavement – “Blackout”
6. Lou Reed – “I’m So Free”
7. The Lyres – “Don’t Give It Up Now”
8. Richard Hell & The Voidoids – “The Plan”
9. PJ Harvey – “We Float”
10. Talking Heads – “Once In A Lifetime”
11. Neil Young – “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”

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