When I’m struggling, I have always clung to music like it was a life raft. Music blaring through my headphones allows me to block out the world and my own thoughts, the lyrics and melodies buoying me up and keeping my head above water. So, I have put together a compilation of some mood music – some mood boosting, some for wallowing, and some for when you’re down right pissed off at the world.
Let’s start with some mood boosting melodies:
Shake it Off – Taylor Swift
So, I have a guilty pleasure and her name is Taylor Swift. I was so ashamed when she initially disavowed feminism, but then was REALLY happy when she admitted she was a feminist. (Yes, people, these things DO matter!) Her track, Shake it Off, just makes me want to dance out my bad mood. (Also, if you’re on Twitter, follow Feminist Taylor Swift).
Shake it Out – Florence + The Machine
I love, love, love Florence Welch. Her red hair, zany fashion, powerful voice, and the fact that she’s as tall as me just have me sold. The song, Shake it Out, from her Ceremonials album makes me want to do just that.
Happy – Pharrell
This song pretty much says it all. It makes me happy and so does Pharrell.
Little Mix – Wings
Okay, I don’t know much about Little Mix but this song came on one day when I was streaming music from Songza and I was hooked. My feet, feet can’t touch the ground…
Jill Scott – Golden
What can you say about Jill Scott? She is an amazing multi-talented artist and is simply incredible.
So happy, dance music is okay some of the time but other times you just want to wallow and I am the queen of wallowing. So here are my favourite tunes when I’m feeling down in the dumps.
The Smiths – There is a Light that Never Goes Out
Nobody can make you wallow in self-pity better than Morrissey and frankly, There is a Light, is among my favourite Smiths tunes.
Because I love The Smiths so much, you get TWO pity party picks.
The Smiths – Please, Please, Please Let me Get What I Want.
The National – Conversation 16
Based in Brooklyn, The National is one of my favourite bands right now. These guys really vocalize what it’s like to feel depressed. Conversation 16 is a top pick for feeling sorry for yourself because of lyrics like: “I tell you miserable things after you are asleep” “You’d never believe the shitty thoughts I think” and “Had my head in the oven so you’d know where I’ll be.”
Belle and Sebastian – She’s Losing It
This song doesn’t really have the melody for your pity party, but there’s something awesomely contradictory about the music and the lyrics. Plus, when you feel like you’re losing it – why not dance?
Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
This song needs no explanation. It’s Dylan. It’s sad. It’s beautiful. That’s enough.
Bob Dylan – It’s Alright Ma (I’m only Bleeding)
Again, it’s Dylan and one of my favourite songs. I can just get lost in his complex words and simple melody. I also think it’s among one of his most lyrically impressive songs. I mean, it opens with this beautiful verse and just gets better: “Darkness at the break of noon / Shadows even the silver spoon / The handmade blade, the child’s balloon / Eclipses both the sun and moon / To understand you know too soon / There is no sense in trying.”
Once you’re done wallowing in self-doubt and self-pity, it’s time to take on the world that’s got you down! Here are my favourite songs for when you’re ready to fight back:
X-Ray Spex – Oh Bondage, Up Yours!
Poly Styrene is just awesome, so is the band, and so is this song. This song is like a premonition for what Bikini Kill was going to do in the 90s.
Bikini Kill – Rebel Girl
A band widely known for pioneering the Riot grrrl movement in the 1990s, Bikini Kill is an American punk rock feminist band. This is just my jam because who doesn’t want to be a rebel girl?
Ani DiFranco – I Am Not A Pretty Girl
‘Cause I’m not a pretty girl…
The Runaways – Dead end Justice
My favourite song by The Runaways and how can you not feel like kicking ass when you’re listening to Joan Jett?
Bob Dylan – Ballad of a Thin Man
And I end my list with another one of my favourite Dylan tunes (because I can’t just pick one). There’s just so much contempt when he sings, “Mr. Jones.”
I hope you enjoyed my very first listicle and my music selection! What songs have gotten you through those tough moments? What songs stick with you?
2 thoughts on “Mood music”
Just recently found your blog & am really enjoying it. I have bipolar II as well & identify with some of your experiences. I appreciate the honesty in your writings. I had to smile at your Smiths choices. They are my fave. I have always found their music comforting and it has always made me feel better. Weird, I know…
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Hi Allison! I’m glad you found me and are enjoying my writings. Take care!