Actualize Behind the Music: Why we chose all those songs


When we hand-selected our 2021 playlist We’re Still Standing, we chose songs that have helped one or more of our team members keep going in a strange 2021.

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“Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift

Erik Schmidt,
Writer & Brand Strategist

“Our 4- and 7-year-old kids just love this song. They really kept us moving and believing throughout 2020 and 2021, so the song has taken on extra meaning beyond its already-wise title and lyrics.”

“Tell Me You Love Me” by Galantis

Justin Coats,
Graphic Designer

“This song reminds me of how good it is to have someone love me like my wife loves me, especially in the chaos of this world. It also reminds me to love people well, even if what they think or believe is different than what I do.”

“Colors” by Black Pumas

Dillon McElwaine,
Partner and Account Director,
Director of Operations

“It has this great Motown sound mixed with a modern rock vibe and is perfect to listen to while surfing.”

“Keep ‘Em on They Toes” by Brent Cobb

Kyle Senior,
Account Coordinator

“Lyrically, this song encourages me to be in the present, live simply, and to trust myself more than others when it comes to what I want out of life.”

“Fancy Like” by Walker Hayes

RyAnne Wallencheck,
Account Manager

“I didn’t choose it for its viral-ness on [TikTok] — I don’t even have one of those things (said in my most grandma voice ever). But I chose this song because every time I hear it, it makes me want to dance. Also, who doesn’t like Applebee’s on a date night?!”

“House of My Soul (You Light the Rooms)” by Langhorne Slim

Emily Bedenkop,
Digital Account Manager

“That song has never failed to put a smile on my face, especially since after getting engaged, Nick and I discovered that we had both separately heard it and thought it would make a great first dance song for our wedding next year.”

“Die Young” by Sylvan Esso

Emily Spenser-Weiss,
Senior Writer

“It gets me dancing, every time I hear it — a perfect song for letting out the pent-up energies of the past year.”

“Ride On/Right On” by Phosphorescent

Kathryn Smith,

“There‘s something about the beat of the song that always helps me forward out of a funk, especially during the height of lockdown!”

“Peach Fuzz” by Caamp

Jessica Emmett,
Partner and Account Director

“Caamp isn’t a new band, but I discovered them this past year with ‘Peach Fuzz’ and absolutely fell in love with them. It’s a great song that feels like those fun, endless summers in your 20s. It was a good way to daydream during lockdown. Ha!”

“The Rush” by JJ Wilde

Christy Maltby,
Account Manager

“The beat is easy to walk to and makes you want to keep moving.”

“Don‘t Stop Believin’ ” by Journey

Rachel McClure,
Content Specialist

“The song always makes me feel like singing along (loudly, happily, and off-key), which has been especially needed during the challenging times of the last year and a half.”

“London Calling” by The Clash

Greg Knoll,
Partner and Creative Director

“Pandemic angst. And our European vacation got canceled.”

“Fantasy” by Mariah Carey

Jordan Trevor,
Account Coordinator

“It’s just such a solid throwback! Every time it comes on, I can’t help but smile and dance around (my steering wheel is also probably tired of me singing it in the car, too, hahaha). Plus, when I heard it in ‘Free Guy,’ it made me love the movie even more.”