Listen And Lift: The Confidence-Boosting MixtapeS

Whether you're getting ready for a date, your first day at school, or showdown with your boss, it never hurts to have the right music to psych yourself up.

Quick background: In a previous edition of Dress Code, I mentioned that I liked to listen to a "Confidence Playlist" to psych myself up for dates. This idea sparked some interest, so let's roll with it.

Of course, the confidence soundtrack's utility is not limited to dating; it's useful before a meeting or an interview, or when you're walking down the street being awesome, or whenever you need a pick-me-up. The confidence song isn't always the coolest or the most impressive. In fact, it's often the opposite. Sometimes you don't love the artist in real life (see: R. Kelly.) Sometimes you even find the song itself "somewhat problematic" (see: "Cherry Bomb.") But whatever; this isn't about judgment. It's about that song that, for whatever reason, acts as your personal "Eye of the Tiger." My lists always involve a lot of 80s pop. But everyone's is different, obviously.

When I polled the other 'belles, I got a wide range of responses, although Bjork made a very strong showing, mentioned by both Dodai ("Bachelorette") and Jenna ("Army of Me.") Some, like Hortense ("Don't Stop Me Now") Jessica ("Rudy Can't Fail") and Irin ("Cherry Bomb") went classic. The past decade contributed Maura's ("The World's Greatest"), Anna North's ("Sons and Daughters") and Katy's ("A Better Son/Daughter.") Obviously Mary J earned a spot: Tracie's plays "Just Fine" before going out. And "I Touch Roses" gets me out of bed every day.

Some people need entire confidence playlists (perhaps there's also something there about the happy nostalgia for mixtape culture); others just a need a certain song at the right time. But whatever the motivation, the outcome should always be good. With that in mind, I assembled our staff picks — which are pretty varied — into one master playlist of uber-confidence. And I gotta say, it's an uplifting half-hour. Enjoy.

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But that's just our mixtape. What's on yours?