The other day, I was a bit bummed out. Not for any reason, it was just one of those days nothing went horribly wrong, but nothing went completely right either. I started thinking about music... probably because my earbuds were in, and the music was blasting full volume. Then, Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved" came on. All of a sudden, I felt fine. Well, not I didn’t feel fine exactly. However, I remember that being in a bad mood only makes my day worse, and there’s no reason to look at the world in such a poor light if music like “She Will Be Loved" exists. Granted, I decided at age 8 this would be my favorite song forever in a bold declaration to my mom.
Clearly, my younger self had some sort of insight into my current life that I can no longer see (nevertheless, I trust her and all that confidence).
In lieu of this realization, I thought I’d create a little poll with my friends to see if they too have a song that gets them through a bad day. We all have our coping mechanisms, but nothing is quite as universally feels-inducing. Here’s what they said:
“A Dance Party" by Maggie Rogers always makes me feel better. I also get super jazzed rapping to Hamilton or “Can’t Hold Us".
I either listen to sad music to emulate the mood or chill stuff; sometimes 80’s rock to pump me up. Depends on how bad the day is.
If it’s school-related stress, and I need to power through my work, anything Elton John obviously. If I’m just in a generally bad mood or tired, you bet I’m having a dance party to “Wanna Be" by The Spice Girls.
“Kryptonite" by 3 Doors Down. When I was little my whole family would scream that in the car anytime we went anywhere, and now we all just laugh when it comes on.
Any songs that make me think of a past memory that make me laugh... like the Titanic theme song (go ahead, judge me because it makes me laugh), “Stacy’s Mom", “You Belong with Me" by Taylor Swift, anything High School Musical – you know, any childhood throwback types of songs. Oh, and I love a good Moana song.
For me, “Don’t Stop Me Now" by Queen helps me power through anything. All Disney songs put me in a really good mood in general. There’s no way that singing (or attempting to sing) “A Whole New World" does not immediately make you feel ten times better.
“Mr. Blue Sky". It’s the best song ever. Even if it’s a cloudy day, it just makes you feel better because you remember all the times you listened to it during the sunny summer days walking around campus, or the dance parties and the happiness of friends.
That’s a hard one… Probably any Taylor Swift or Dan + Shay.
“A Little Bit Stronger" by Sara Evans. It basically just tells you that no matter what struggles you are going through, you are strong and can get through it. It’s just a power song that got me through the worst times.
“I Wanna Dance with Somebody" by Whitney Houston because it’s impossible to be sad or not dance when that song plays
“I Just Had Sex" by The Lonely Island – inappropriate, catchy, and just plain funny. Of course I’m going to listen to it to make me feel better.
“Live While We’re Young" by One Direction. There’s nothing better than catchy boyband songs to make my bad day better. Plus, 2012 One Direction was the best One Direction. Try to change my mind, I dare you.
“Days Go By" by Keith Urban because it’s Keith Urban, memories of summer country concerts, and quality, nostalgia-inducing lyrics rolled into one song. Yes please.
“Don’t Stop" by Fleetwood Mac. It’s just an absolute jam and I never get tired of listening to it. The lyrics are inspirational and motivate me to get up and make myself have a better day tomorrow, not just sit around and whine about how bad today was.
“The Sun" by Maroon 5 because I remember driving around with my family on summer vacations, windows down and bathing suits on, singing along to this song as we drove to get ice cream after the beach. One of my favorite childhood memories, and I think of those drives every time this song comes on. It makes me smile every time.
As far as I can see, the answers are divided into three categories: uplifting, catchy songs, slow, impactful songs, and nostalgic, uniquely individual songs. Everyone has a different song (or playlist) to get them through a bad day, and the weird thing is, those songs actually do make us feel better. Whatever confusing sciencey, neuron-firing effect music has on us can really make the difference between an ok day and a great one, or even a bad day and an ok one.