We’ve seen the memes. We’ve watched the TikToks. Yes, the main character energy thing that’s floating around the zeitgeist is a joke. However, I know that we’ve all had that moment- it often occurs in wide-open fields, late at night on public transport, when we go through the slightest bit of anguish- we picture ourselves as THE main character. Suddenly we are not the average Joe, floating through life’s unending torrent of nonsense, we are special.
Arguably, romantic comedies have influenced every generation into thinking that if only we owned a niche bookshop, or wore enough cable knit jumpers, we too would have our happy ending. I’m looking at you ‘You’ve got mail’. Obviously, that’s bollocks. There is no ‘happy ending’. We take the good where we can, and love those we love loudly.
But who says you shouldn’t indulge that sneaky part of your brain that truly believes you are Meg Ryan or Hugh Grant! The rom-com has made a comeback and so will we (the second lockdown restrictions are over and it’s nearly safe to party like we’re Prince and it’s 1999). Until we can once more make questionable choices in public, this is the playlist to indulge that main character energy we all have- even if it only appears in the aisles of Lidl and the local park. It’s cheesy and not at all cool, but what main character is the height of Vogue anyway??
‘9 to 5’- Dolly Parton
As the opening credits roll and we start our day as the main character, looking perfectly tousled to hint at sleep- but looking nothing less than perfect, we must be motivated! How can we follow and succeed in our outlandish dreams without Dolly to remind us of the burden of capitalism? The typewriter in the backing of this song is like caffeine straight to the veins for me, but not every true main character has 26 alarms going off at 2-minute intervals… Ms. Parton’s assertion that “It’s all taking and no giving/They just use your mind, and they never give you credit” will provide us with a reminder that we are but a cog in the machine being weighed down by the demands of life – but Dolly puts it ten times peppier.
‘Boss Bitch’- Doja Cat
Yes, it is quite the gear shift, but bear with me. ‘Boss Bitch’ is the song to take us into our messy, yet high-functioning daily activity. Be it working tirelessly as a barista in a cafe or staring at a blank screen that should have our dissertation on it by now, this song tells me that I am the boss. Imagine strutting down the street in a stylish yet offbeat outfit looking like the hot stuff we all are, courtesy of the stylings of Doja Cat. You can’t tell me you don’t feel like the main character whilst thriving to this track. You simply can’t.
Feels Like I’m in Love- Kelly Marie
This is my all-time favourite main character energy song. This gloriously upbeat song is perfect for when the main character is desperately trying to look just right for the date with that special person. They may have met them during a rather boring instrumental- but we’re into the makeover now. While all dating these days is online or on awkward socially distanced walks, the one thing that has remained is the desire to put on too much eyeliner/cut your own hair while your flatmate waxes your unibrow. Indulge the urge. Do it to Kelly Marie.
‘Houseplants’- Easy Life
Now that we’ve had our makeover montage, here is our softly lit/sunny montage of walks in parks and constant wall-to-wall success, that sees us supported by our loving friends and partner. This down-to-earth love song feels more grounded and modern than the typical rom-com go-to (*ahem* Notting Hill– She by Elvis Costello is a standard no one but Julia Roberts can reach). Lyrics like “I’m really enjoying this regardless of what happens from here”, firmly plant this song within modern pessimism but balances the beautiful optimism that should spark in all of us. And the song references Colin the Caterpillar.
‘Enchanted’ – Taylor Swift
When I said not cool I meant it. If there was a song to coyly walk through a park to, it’s ‘Enchanted’. People’s eyes instantly do the fluttery thing that all main characters are hopelessly afflicted with, the second the first bars start. While I’m not sure if one can be enchanted to meet someone over dating apps (please do let me know), just imagine your Mr/Miss/Mx Darcy running towards you to this absolute banger. You’ll feel Wonderstruck, I swear.
‘Before You Go’- Lewis Capaldi
All main characters go through heart-break. It would be remiss to leave king Lewis Capaldi off this list. I think this absolutely devastating song speaks for itself. When you need a fully choreographed breakdown as in the movies, just crank up ‘Before You Go’ and have at it. Maybe get some snacks in first…
‘Good as Hell’- Lizzo
I don’t need to explain. I just don’t. The second the world heard this absolute banger we all stood up taller and stopped taking the s**t life throws at us. Main characters do feel ‘Good as Hell’ even after serious setbacks. “Go on, dust your shoulders off, keep it moving” is every main character’s mantra. Lizzo’s devil may care attitude and representation of positive female-identifying friendships have brought a lot of joy to so many ladies in recent years, which is always needed. Listen to Lizzo and be as bold as you know-how.
‘Turn to Stone’- Electric Light Orchestra
A dear friend of mine has the biggest main character energy. She is a perfect mess. While we all are the main character, I must defer to her on this issue. Having recommended this to me, I understand the energy she has after hearing this song. This upbeat rock symphony, which makes it feel like you’re flying through the galaxy, is a hopeless love song that could easily be the theme song for the copious amounts of people pining after the main character. Just a warning, you will have the lyrics for this track stuck in your head for days.
“I turn to stone when you are gone/ I turn to stone/I turn to stone when you comin’ home”ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA – ‘TURN TO STONE’
Having featured in the perfect film 10 Things I Hate About You, F.N.T is a delightful song. In the modern world that seems to be, thankfully, moving on from traditional standards of perfection, lyrics like: “I’m surprised that you’ve never been told before/That you’re lovely/And you’re perfect./And that somebody wants you” are the perfect reassurances the modern main character can wrap themselves in. You are lovely and someone does want you. Listening to this, no main character will feel anything less than perfect, even with messy hair and toothpaste stains on their pyjamas.
‘Love On Top’- Beyoncé
All romcoms end with a big uplifting number, and who better than Beyoncé to close out this list. This sparkling number is like a bolt of joy straight to the heart. Even the coolest main character can’t help but sing and snap their fingers along to this powerhouse bop.
Being the main character is hard. Life is heavy and the world can be scary, but wrap yourself in the knowledge that you are always the main character in your story. Treat yourself the way the lead deserves to be treated. Be kind to yourself and let yourself feel glamorous and perfect and silly and smart – soundtracked by this playlist, of course. Enjoy below!