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Traveling Barista Picks: Coffee Shop Playlist

Let’s face it, being a barista is sometimes a gruesome job.  We romanticize it, and how it allows us to pursue our dreams, and connect with people.  While that is all true, there is also the downside.  We’re often underpaid, overworked, and take crap from everyone.

The particular coffee shop I currently work in is definitely the busiest one I’ve experienced.  We’re never staffed properly and while I’m making drinks, a crowd of millennials are either glaring at me to see if I’m working on their frappuccino or they’re totally ignoring me while staring at their phone.

Still, there are those customers you connect with and look forward to seeing.  One moment, one person, can make or break our day.  I have selected a handful of songs that express our hot and cold feelings toward being a barista along with the romantic notion of connections over coffee.

Barista or not, we’ve all sat in a cafe with a friend, crush or a dream.

1. One In A Million – Backstreet Boys
This song was the one that inspired this playlist. When the Unbreakable album was released by BSB in 2007, of course, I felt like “One In A Million” was dedicated to me.

Notable Lyrics: The line’s out the door/Serving up fraps/Until she can’t take anymore/I see it in her broken smile

2. Taylor The Latte Boy – Kristin Chenoweth
We all love Kristin Chenoweth! This song is about a customer’s hilarious crush on a barista.

Notable Lyrics: But I saw him flip the lever and for me he made it triple/And I knew that triple latte meant that Taylor loved me too

3. Falling In Love In A Coffee Shop – Landon Pigg
What a sweet song! The title says it all.

Notable Lyrics: I never knew just what it was/About this old coffee shop I love so much/All of the while I never knew/All of the while, all of the while it was you

4. Starbucks! – Bobby Bones & the Raging Idiots featuring Kelsea Ballerini
A silly country ode to the coffee corporation.

Notable Lyrics: There’s a tip jar on the counter/I’m about to make it rain/Hey its Bobby I’m not booby/Please stop messing up my name

5. The Starbucks Rant Song – Christopher Cristwell
One of my former Starbucks co-workers played this song for me years ago. Most of us would never be so mean, but we can all understand some of these thoughts that go through this guy’s mind. P.S. – He got fired for making this song.

Notable Lyrics: You get cappuccinos. You’re the pickiest of all. You didn’t order it dry, but you didn’t want any milk at all.

6. Tom’s Diner – Suzanne Vega
This song reminds me of my childhood. It’s about a diner obviously, but that was the coffee shop of the 80s and 90s.

Notable Lyrics: I am waiting/At the counter/For the man/To pour the coffee/And he fills it/Only halfway/And before/I even argue/He is looking/Out the window/At somebody/Coming in

7. Cold Coffee – Ed Sheeran
A sweet love song about wanting the person in your bed to stay.

Notable Lyrics: I’ll wake with coffee in the morning/But she prefers two lumps of sugar and tea/Outside the day is up and calling/But I don’t have to be so, please go back to sleep

8. You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
Not a song about coffee shops or even coffee really, but I just love the line: “I had some dreams, they were clouds in my coffee”. One day, a newby barista and I listened to this song on repeat after I taught her my trick to make cloud-like foam.

9. Cigarettes and Coffee – Otis Redding
There is no one quite like Otis Redding that can set any mood. I can picture this story in my mind and absolutely love when a song can do that.

Notable Lyrics: People I say it’s so early in the morning/Oh, it’s a quarter till three/We’re sittin’ here talkin’/Over cigarettes and drinking coffee, now, lord

10. Java Jive – The Ink Spots
My mother used to sing this song, but I never knew what the hell she was talking about. When I heard the song recently, it made me laugh realizing she wasn’t just babbling about “a cup, a cup, a cup”.

Notable Lyrics: Oh slip me a slug from the wonderful mug
And I’ll cut a rug just snug in a jug

11. Sugar Shack – The Fireballs
A fun oldie that puts you in a good mood!

Notable Lyrics: Well, it’s just a coffeehouse and it’s made out of wood/Espresso coffee tastes mighty good/That’s not the reason why I’ve got to get back

12. The Sad Café – The Eagles
This is another one of those great stories within a song. They don’t make artists like The Eagles anymore.

Notable Lyrics: Some of their dreams came true/Some just passed away/And some of them stayed behind/Inside the Sad Cafe.

13. Tryin’ – Little Big Town
This song is for all of us who refuse to stop dreaming!

Notable Lyrics: It’s been six years since she left home and she hasn’t made it big yet/Oh but there’s no second guessing baby, she’s got no regrets/She still works late shift down at the Greasy Spoon cafe/When she brings you out your milkshake you just might hear her say/It’s about hoping/It’s about dreaming/It’s about never not believing

14. Down – Mat Kearney
This song was recommended by some friends of mine who are huge Mat Kearney fans.  It makes me want to listen to more of him!

Notable Lyrics: I’m working late again slaving to make the rent
I’m slanging coffee with dreams heavy as cement
They’re coming one by one the face of falling love
I write a song with a prayer as I slide the cups

15. Black Coffee In Bed – Squeeze
I love the imagery in this song.  I have tons of journals with coffee stains on the pages, and it brings me back to how I usually write with coffee by my side.

Notable Lyrics: The stain on my notebook/Remain all that’s left/Of the memory of late nights/And coffee in bed

16. Me And Mrs. Jones – Michael Bublé
Hearing Bublé’s version of this classic gets you dreaming of a secret affair with him, which is why I chose his version over the others. I used to have customers who were both married to other people meet in our cafe every morning before they went to work. Sneaky jerks! All kinds of stories unfold at a coffee shop.  Baristas get just as many as bartenders do, if not more!

Notable Lyrics: We meet every day at the same cafe/Six-thirty and no one knows she’ll be there/Holding hands, making all kinds of plans/While the juke box plays our favorite songs/Me and Mrs. Jones/We got a thing goin’on/We both know that it’s wrong

17. Caffeine – Psychostick
This is the song on the playlist that will surely wake you up. Two of my oldest/best friends recommended this screamo-esque song for this playlist, and I couldn’t leave it out. It is in fact the only song on this playlist that’s straight up about coffee!  Be warned: Pretty sure the band was on more than caffeine when writing/recording it!

Notable Lyrics: Cappuccino is my mother/Frappuccino is my lover/Makes me feel exhilarated

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Breaking The Moon Soundtrack Selection: “Breathe (2 AM)” by Anna Nalick #MusicMonday

Originally I added Anna Nalick’s “Breathe (2 AM)” to my writing playlist simply because it was easy to write to.  As the “Dream Catchers Series” was being written, however, the lyrics to the song actually fit in parts for Jordan and Haley, especially in “Breaking The Moon”.  The beauty of a good song – even if this one seems to be about a lover at fighting overseas, you can somehow relate to it – or in my case, relate characters to it!

SONG: “Breathe (2 AM)” (Purchase on iTunes)

ARTIST: Anna Nalick

BOOK: “Breaking The Moon” (Purchase on Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iTunes)

CHARACTERS: Haley Foster and Jordan Walsh

INSIGHT: In “Breaking The Moon”, Haley and Jordan face challenges as a couple: a crazy ex-girlfriend, difficult/negative parents, and past hang-ups plague them while trying to cope with having a baby at a young age. “Breathe (2 AM)” fits for Haley and Jordan wanting to skip the problems they’re going through and go back to the summer love they shared in “Dream Catchers”.

There are also key words/phrases that remind me of the characters.  For instance: “Winter just wasn’t my season” – “Breaking The Moon” opens around Christmas time. “But my God, it’s so beautiful when the boy smiles” – for the obvious that Haley loves Jordan’s smile and at one point, even makes a comment how it doesn’t look right anymore.

It’s kind of crazy how this part of the song almost seems like it could have been written for the “Dream Catchers Series”!

“2 AM and I’m still awake, writing a song
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to” – Jordan writes journal entries in “Breaking The Moon” and of course, he’s a songwriter as well.

“And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd” – In “Dream Catchers”, Haley kept having anxious dreams of being nude in public!

LYRIC VIDEO: