Better Than Therapy: My Ultimate Cheer-Up Playlist

What songs make it essentially impossible for you to be sad?

Dec 2, 2011 at 4:30pm | Leave a comment

Earlier this week, Meghan talked about finding a non-Adele's "Someone Like You" breakup song, a worthy challenge to the xoJane commentariat, who rose to the occasion. All that sad music got me thinking about how I use music to cheer myself up, often when music is the only thing that can manage the task (except for wine, which can be unreliable, as there's a fine line between drinking enough wine to feel sort-of inauthentically happy, and drinking enough wine to feel positively morbid; me being an infrequent drinker, I am prone to crossing it and bursting into tears at inopportune social occasions).

SO I MADE A LIST. Of some of my go-to cheer-up songs. And I want to hear about yours.

The Cure, “Doing the Unstuck”

Whenever people talk about The Cure being depressing, I point them at this song. It is like opening-credits-to-a-romantic-comedy happy. So far as I know the only film it’s ever been used in is the goth coming-of-age tale  “Gypsy 83,” starring a pre-Weight-Watchers Sara Rue. Medicore movie, great song.

Gorillaz, “19-2000 (Soulchild remix)”

The original version of this track off Gorillaz’ first album is catchy to begin with, but this remix from the b-sides collection is SO MUCH BETTER. It is three and a half minutes of upbeat good times; it is basically impossible for me to be sad while listening to this song. There was never an official video for the remix, so enjoy this Cowboy Bebop fan video version instead.

The Ting Tings, “That’s Not My Name”

Yeah, I know, this is hardly obscure. But if it doesn’t make you dance just a little bit I am sort of worried about the state of your immortal soul.

Weezer, “The Good Life”

There’s a point in this song, right before the bridge, in which lead singer Rivers Cuomo screams YEEEEEAAAAAHHH and every time I match it with the most guttural roar you can imagine; it says EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE AWESOME EVENTUALLY, which is also my motto for living. Cuomo and I were at analogous life stages when he wrote this song, which probably explains why it spoke to me so much in 1996 and speaks to me so much now.

Marina and the Diamonds, “Oh No”

I think of Marina and the Diamonds as a sort of millenial dance-pop Kate Bush. Girl is a TOTAL WEIRDO. I mean that in the best way possible. “Oh No” is sort of a triumphing-in-the-face-of-adversity song, or at least a doing-okay-even-given-my-confidence-issues song. I also like that the video has lots of silly outfits.

Dead Milkmen, “Punk Rock Girl”

Classic. What is there to say about Punk Rock Girl? It makes me want to start a riot in a pizza joint. The video is bonus fun for spotting lesser-known Philadelphia landmarks.

Robyn, “Konichiwa Bitches”

I have this thing where if I sing along to some other person’s lyrics chronicling all the ways they’re awesome, then I will become awesome by extension. Robyn is really really good for this. (As an aside, one of the YouTube comments for the above says, “I like how this video isn’t weird at all,” and I laughed and laughed.)

The Pixies, “Gigantic”

For years, I would apologize before declaring this my favorite Pixies song ever, because I felt like my favorite should be something with Frank Black on vocals. But oh my god, the chorus on "Gigantic" just begs to be belted out until you're hoarse with the brief joy that only a short song with obtuse lyrics can evoke.

Lady Gaga, “Edge of Glory”

I love Lady Gaga and I’m not sorry. This song is like Berlin remixed by some mid-90s techno DJ, which means it presses all my happy-dancing buttons. I also like how she makes the word “you” have two syllables. Yoohoo.

Honorary mentions: Fiona Apple’s “Extraordinary Machine,” PIL’s “Rise,” Morrissey’s “Suedehead.” 

I know you’ve got favorite songs to cheer yourself up: share them with the group.

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