“Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
– Berthold Auerbach
My favourite thing to do whenever I'm having a bad day, is to take a long walk and listen to some music. I will often construct playlists to listen to when I am needing some extra assurance in my life because, like for most people, music tends to help heal our state-of-mind.
For centuries, researchers have considered the possible therapeutic and mood lifting benefits of music, but for myself, the results have always been positive. Of course, everyone has their own personal taste, but here are some of my favourite songs for the days I am not feeling 100%.
Shake It Out - Florence + The Machine
“And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off”
I first heard this song during a particularly hard time in my life and it helped me immensely. I believe Florence is singing about the inner conflict of wanting to heal, but feeling comfort with her issues. Hinting at feelings of shame, regret and addiction, the song leaves me with a sense of wanting to better myself and work on any issues I may be dealing with.
The Dreamer - Tallest Man On Earth
“Tossing aside from your birches crown , just enough dark to see, how you're the light over me”
This is one of my most favourite songs. Along with his perfect raspy voice, The Tallest Man On Earth generates lyrics that make my heart ache. My own interpretation of the song is that it's a sad and truthful tale about the reality of loving someone with depression. I could be totally wrong, but then again, it's all about perspective and personal connections.
Heavy Rope - LIGHTS
“I’m not a lost cause, I'm just stuck in a spot and I'm close to falling off, so toss me a heavy rope, it's a slippery slope”
This is one of my favourites off LIGHTS' sophomore album, Siberia. To me, this song is about it being okay to ask for help. A very simple, yet beautiful song to encourage those to reach out when they are feeling down.
Adam’s Song - Blink 182
“I never thought I'd die alone, I laughed the loudest who'd have known?”
Ok so if you are around my age, then you definitely rocked out to this song alone in your bedroom in some sort of preteen angsty manner, but this song is so much more than that (I made myself laugh typing that). There are many theories and arguments behind the true meaning of the lyrics, but I (like many others) believe it's about a teenager contemplating suicide.
Daydream Believer - The Monkees
“Cheer up sleepy Jean”
Why do I love this song so much? I'm not entirely sure. I'm not even completely sure what the song is about. From what I take, I believe Jean is depressed and is living in the past, her "daydreams" about better days when she was homecoming queen - while her husband/partner is telling her to cheer up. Who knows? No matter the meaning behind it, it's always been one of my favourite 'oldies' tune.
Even My Dad Does Sometimes - Ed Sheeran
“It’s alright to cry, even my dad does sometimes”
I will probably include an Ed Sheeran song in all of my playlists because I am in love with every line he sings. To me, this song is very simple: it's okay to cry, even the people who appear to be the toughest have bad days, and it's okay.
Spirits - The Strumbellas
“But the gun still rattles, the gun still rattles”
I have read so many differing interpretations of this song. I personally believe the song was written about PTSD, but I have yet to hear that theory come from someone else. However, that is the beauty of music.
Let Her Cry - Hootie and the Blowfish
“She never lets me in, only tells me where she's been when she's had too much to drink. I say that I don't care, I just run my hands through her dark hair, then I pray to God you gotta help me fly away."
Am I lame for loving a Hootie and the Blowfish song so much? OK, probably, but who cares. After doing some research, I have found that the song was written about being in a relationship with an alcoholic. I had suspected this while listening, but was also under the impression that it was a song about not always having the right answer. Sometimes people go through personal things, and even if we're in relationship with them, we can't be the ones to change them.
I Wanna Get Better - The Bleachers
“I didn't know I was broken 'til I wanted to change.”
In an interview, Jack Antonoff said that this song was about him as a teenager after his 13 year old sister died. After she passed away, he got involved with drugs and suffered from depression, until his sister appeared to him in a dream and told him that he needs to get better: "Woke up this morning early before my family from this dream where she was trying to show me how a life can move from the darkness she said to get better."
Don't Dream It's Over - Crowded House
"You'll never see the end of the road while you're traveling with me."
This is such a beautiful song. I had no idea what they were really referring to, I believed it was about setting out to live the life you have imagined, and never giving up that goal. But, straight from Rolling Stone: "At the time it was a quite threatening thing," Neil Finn told Rolling Stone. "The next day we recorded 'Don't Dream It's Over,' and it had a particularly sad groove to it — I think because Paul and Nick had faced their own mortality." As for the song itself, "It was just about on the one hand feeling kind of lost, and on the other hand sort of urging myself on — don't dream it's over," Finn explained." Very interesting!
These are just a few of my favourite songs to listen to when I am having a bad day. What are your personal favourites?