Top Five: Songs That Make Everything Better
Imagine that you’re having the shittiest fucking time. You’re at that point in the sneaky hate spiral where you’re about to snap and start yelling at the wind or maybe just sit down and cry, a lot.
Then you hear a song. A beautiful numbness starts to spread through your limbs, diffusing whatever was making your day shitty and sending it away. You don’t know where. Just away, and that is good. Maybe you even feel a little sprout of happiness trying to work its way up.
There are songs that make everything better almost immediately, aren’t there? It’s like being on a really good narcotic, except it’s free and it (probably) won’t become life-destroyingly addictive. These are my top five songs that make everything better:
1. “Man on the Moon” by R.E.M.
When I was about 10 and wanted to learn to play the guitar, this was the song I started with–partially because those two first chords are easy as hell to play (I still remember them), but mostly because I love this song. The rhythm lulls me into a place of calm like one of those ocean machines.
2. “Dry the Rain” by The Beta Band
If you’ve ever heard this song, you know exactly why I included it here. It’s incredibly mellow, and those Hawaiian-like (possibly steel guitar?) chords make you feel like you’ve just stepped off a plane to get lei’d. By the time the tempo and volume start to build toward the coda, I am feeling fine.
3. “F-Train” by David Usher
I discovered David Usher back in college, when everyone was Napster-ing and you could go through a person’s entire music collection to find shit you didn’t know about yet. “F-Train” grabbed me immediately; it’s short, sweet, and I’ve put it on repeat a whole bunch. It’s not only a song that makes everything better, but also a song that transports me back to my college days at the University of Kentucky; true story, I am kind of getting to the age where it’s nice to think about having once been young.
4. “Dreams” by The Cranberries
Speaking of blast from the past songs . . . my dad and I stole this album back and forth from each other so much when I was in middle school that I’m frankly not sure who ended up with it. I think I did. I AM THE CHAMPION.
This song sounds like a lazy summer day to me, maybe because I spent so much time during my summers then lazing around outside with my Sony Discman (shut up, I’m old, I know).
5. “Give Me One Reason” by Tracy Chapman
I’m a big fan of the blues anyway, so when Tracy Chapman became the hot thing way back when, I thought, yes. Yes. I dig this right down to the ground. “Give Me One Reason” builds so smoothly that it will almost trick you into feeling happier. By the end, I’ll be singing and dancing no matter how shitty I felt when it started.
Those are the songs that make me feel better, always. What are yours?