Everything's Alright (except their spelling)
August 10, 2009 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Looking for songs about self-reassurance.

I'm trying to put together a CD with songs that have recurring lyrics that are reassuring--preferably self-reassurance, but general reassurance is OK too. (Recurring words would be "all right," "OK," "fine," etc.) Varied styles of music are great. What I'm thinking of so far:

Kenny Loggins, "I'm Alright"
Joe Cocker, "Feelin' Alright"
Fleetwood Mac, "That's Alright"
Bob Marley, "Three Little Birds" or "No Woman, No Cry"
Cracker, "Nothing to Believe In" ("I feel fine, I feel fine . . . ")
Shawn Mullins, "Rockabye"
Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack, "Everything's Alright"

I suspect that some of these are cynical (i.e., the person or circumstances are really NOT "all right" at all!) and that's just fine with me!
posted by dlugoczaj to Media & Arts (58 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Mike Doughty, "Your Misfortune"
Beta Band, "Dry the Rain"
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:07 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

The Killers, "Everything Will Be Alright," maybe?
posted by Jinkeez at 7:15 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

EvaDestruction--you know, I was thinking of "Dry the Rain" (one of my favorite songs)--and was massively disillusioned when I found out that the repeated lyric was "I will be your light," not "I will be all right," as I'd thought!
posted by dlugoczaj at 7:18 AM on August 10, 2009

Fiona Apple, "Better Than Fine"
posted by terrierhead at 7:19 AM on August 10, 2009

Revolution by the Beatles ("and you know it's gonna be all right.")
Ooh Child by That Group That Sings Ooh Child (actually they're called the Five Stairsteps, who knew?)
All Right Now by Bad Company
posted by lunasol at 7:22 AM on August 10, 2009

Don't know if this counts - Bobby McFerrin, "Don't Worry, Be Happy"?
posted by Phire at 7:23 AM on August 10, 2009

The Middle - Jimmy Eat World
It's Alright - Pet Shop Boys
Alright - Janet Jackson
Unfold - Jason Mraz
You Are Loved - Josh Groban
Better in Time - Leona Lewis
When I’m Back on my Feet Again – Michael Bolton
In Repair – John Mayer
posted by yawper at 7:24 AM on August 10, 2009

Bob Dylan - Don't Think Twice, It's Alright. (Not self-reassurance, but reassurance to the chick he just ditched.)
posted by wackybrit at 7:29 AM on August 10, 2009

Matt Nathanson - "Little Victories" and "All We Are"

Two different songs that he often refers to as his "only positive songs."
posted by sjuhawk31 at 7:32 AM on August 10, 2009

My contribution: After All - Dar Williams.

I'll second 'Everything's Alright' from JCS because it has always sounded like a song you would sing to reassure yourself rather than to someone else.
posted by variella at 7:35 AM on August 10, 2009

Velvet Underground - "Rock and Roll"
posted by That takes balls. at 7:35 AM on August 10, 2009

More! Why do I know so many of these songs??

Details in the Fabric – Jason Mraz
The Remedy (I Won't Worry) - Jason Mraz
Float On – Modest Mouse
Hope – Shaggy
Tubthumping – Chumbawamba
Good Mother – Jann Arden
Sober – Kelly Clarkson
The Heart of Life – John Mayer
Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.
Only Time – Enya
posted by yawper at 7:39 AM on August 10, 2009 [2 favorites]

John Mayer also has"The Heart of Life" which gives me a warm comforting glow whenever i listen to it (even though my official line on Mayer is that he is a sappy tit who needs a good hike in the wilderness and some encounters with savage wildlife).

Example of his cheesy yet somehow rather affecting lyrics in this one:

"Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
Fear is a friend who's misunderstood
And I know the heart of life is good"

That last line kills me
posted by greenish at 7:41 AM on August 10, 2009

Björk - All is Full of Love
posted by permafrost at 7:44 AM on August 10, 2009

Be OK -- Ingrid Michaelson
posted by runningwithscissors at 7:44 AM on August 10, 2009

"All Will Be Well" by the Gabe Dixon Band. That song got me through many a stressful time.
posted by Kim Reed at 7:44 AM on August 10, 2009

I Can See Clearly Now by Johnny Nash. The song has always worked to reassure me.
posted by princesspathos at 7:45 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ryan Adams - Born Into A Light
posted by substars at 7:46 AM on August 10, 2009

dlugoczaj, I know - I always thought it was "It'll be all right." Its still one of my favorite reassurance songs, though. (Although that could be because I swear, no matter what the official lyrics say, Mason does slip into "It'll be all right.") If it doesn't work, though, the Mike Doughty song might not be the best for your purposes, either.

Maybe "Hang On Little Tomato" by Pink Martini would work better.

Side note: Susan Tedeschi does a lovely cover of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright."
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:47 AM on August 10, 2009

Testing the Strong ones- Copeland
Bowl of Oranges - Bright Eyes
Ascension Dream- The Gloria Record
Don't Worry, Be Happy- Bobby McFerrin (I mean...why not?)
Better Than This- New End Original
posted by SharkLangasta at 7:58 AM on August 10, 2009

The Beatles' "Let It Be" is a classic, as is "Hey Jude"

I also like John Mayer's "Everything Is Not Broken"
That autumn leaves fall dry and sweet
Tells me everything is not broken

For something with a little more oomph, Kanye West/Daft Punk's "Stronger"
posted by chalbe at 8:02 AM on August 10, 2009

End of the Line - Traveling Wilburys
posted by corey flood at 8:04 AM on August 10, 2009

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, "Little Dawn." The phrase "it's alright" repeats for about two minutes at the end.
posted by kwaller at 8:08 AM on August 10, 2009

Great Big Sea - Ordinary Day
posted by pised at 8:16 AM on August 10, 2009

It probably won't fit in with the other tunes, but the first I thought of was Ultrabeat's Feelin' Fine.

Beaucoup de fromage!
posted by sid.tv at 8:19 AM on August 10, 2009

I can't seem to stop...

So What - Pink
Hand in my Pocket - Alanis Morrisette
I’ll Be Okay – Amanda Marshall
Better Man – Robbie Williams
posted by yawper at 8:24 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

I apologize in advance for making a suggestion that doesn't specifically fit your request. I made one of these mixes for myself recently, and the best part by a mile was the Applause track from the end of classical concert. Three minutes of ovation can do wonders for the mind, and I dare you to get through it without giggling. (download here for free)
posted by Eumachia L F at 8:27 AM on August 10, 2009

Two that are of a parent reassuring a child:
"Put It There," Paul McCartney
"Day Is Done," Peter, Paul & Mary

And two that maybe aren't explicitly reassuring, but come across that way to me:
"Unwritten," Natasha Bedengfield
"Waiting," Green Day
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:31 AM on August 10, 2009

Ooh Child by the 5 Stairsteps
Waterfall by Chris Williamson
posted by sparrowdance at 8:33 AM on August 10, 2009

Sinead O'Conner -- The Emperor's New Clothes and/or Daddy I'm Fine
posted by jdroth at 8:53 AM on August 10, 2009

Desmond Dekker is you man.
"You Can Get It If You Really Want"
posted by Jon-o at 9:05 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by Jon-o at 9:05 AM on August 10, 2009

The best song ever in this genre is "Odditty," by the Clean: the lyrics are sort of hard to make out but "it's OK, it's all right, it's OK, oh yeah, it's OK it's all right it's OK it's all right it's OK it's all right oh yeah" come through the beautiful guitar noise loud and clear. You cannot be unhappy while listening to this.

For a different mood entirely, the amazing Jesus and Mary Chain B-side "Everything's All Right When You're Down." Still not sure whether to cheer or mope when I listen to this.
posted by escabeche at 9:09 AM on August 10, 2009

@Eva Destruction If it doesn't work, though, the Mike Doughty song might not be the best for your purposes, either.

Maybe not--BUT, you just made me remember Soul Coughing's "The Idiot Kings," which is absolutely right for my purpose ("Everything is fine, fine, fine, fine, fine, fine"). I'm going to use that! :)

Seems like we have similar taste.
posted by dlugoczaj at 9:13 AM on August 10, 2009

Seems like we have similar excellent taste. FTFY.

If that's the case, then hive mind help with more standard reassurance songs is definitely in order. I mean, I find "All We Have Is Now" by the Flaming Lips reassuring. (Don't ask about my "Love Songs" playlist.)

There's a nagging feeling in my brain saying Neko Case has a song that should be on here. I'll consult my iPod and get back to you.
posted by EvaDestruction at 9:26 AM on August 10, 2009

Hold Your Head Up - Argent
posted by amyms at 10:26 AM on August 10, 2009

Modest Mouse - Float On
posted by chalbe at 11:06 AM on August 10, 2009

I'll Be Okay - McFly
Beautiful Child - Rufus Wainwright
Everything's Not Lost - Coldplay
I'm Fine - Blur
Non je ne regrette rien - Edith Piaf

And T-Shirt Weather by the Lucksmiths makes me feel like that, but it's not specifically about everything being okay.
posted by elsietheeel at 11:13 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

The most reassuring song I can think of:

This Year - The Mountain Goats

It isn't all "everything is gonna be ok" but "I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me" hits home every time.
posted by clearly at 11:24 AM on August 10, 2009

Supergrass - Alright.
posted by Kattullus at 11:42 AM on August 10, 2009

Whatever - Oasis
posted by kerfuffles at 11:46 AM on August 10, 2009

The first thing that popped into my head is "closer to fine" by Indigo Girls.

And while not quite as literal, Bowl of Oranges by Bright Eyes I think embodies the spirit perfectly:

We'll keep working on the problem
We know we'll never solve
Of love's uneven remainders
Our lives are fractions of a whole
But if the world could remain within a frame
Like a painting on a wall
Then I think we'd see the beauty then
And stand staring in awe

At our still lives posed
Like a bowl of oranges
Like a story told
By the fault lines and the soil

posted by drjimmy11 at 11:54 AM on August 10, 2009

If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out - Cat Stevens
posted by By The Grace of God at 11:56 AM on August 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

it's more other-assurance than self-, but "Don't Worry Baby" by the Beach Boys is a masterpiece.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:57 AM on August 10, 2009

clearly FTW. "This Year" was my theme song for two years running, so I don't know why I didn't think of it right off the bat.

If I was right about Neko Case earlier, it's not a song currently on my iPod, but my iPod did just toss out Yo La Tengo's "Black Flowers."
posted by EvaDestruction at 12:36 PM on August 10, 2009

Reminder to myself: I'm adding the Housemartins' "I'll Be Your Shelter (Just Like a Shelter)."

A lot of what's being recommended here, I like in and of itself, but the repetitive element isn't strong enough, and that's central to what I'm after. Has to really jump out. I'm going to listen to links once I get home and can use my YouTube-approved computer--I think the Killers, the Clean, the Ultrabeat and the Ted Leo & the Pharmacists are going at the top of the list.
posted by dlugoczaj at 1:36 PM on August 10, 2009

Travis Tritt - It's a Great Day to be Alive (very upbeat)
Nat King Cole - Smile (sarcastic)
posted by qmechanic at 1:56 PM on August 10, 2009

"Snake Eyes" - The Alan Parsons Project
posted by OneOliveShort at 2:52 PM on August 10, 2009

McAlmont & Butler: Yes.
posted by misteraitch at 3:21 PM on August 10, 2009

Mary J! Just Fine
posted by citron at 3:40 PM on August 10, 2009

hey ya - outkast
the rake's song - the decemberists
believe - yellowcard
9 crimes - damien rice
posted by jus7brea7he at 5:07 PM on August 10, 2009

Vertical Horizon - Fragments (The Live Stages version is better.)

The reprise is at the end: "It's better n-n-now."
posted by mathlete at 7:17 PM on August 10, 2009

The Cloud Room - Hey Now Now.
posted by Kattullus at 7:27 PM on August 10, 2009

"Comfy in Nautica" - Panda Bear

"Try to remember always, always to have a good time... good time... good time..." and so on and so forth.
posted by Gotham at 9:14 PM on August 10, 2009

I've always felt very reassured by the Clash song, 'I'm Not Down'. Apparently, I'm one of the most negative people out there, but this is the one song from which I get some sort of strength. No matter how bad things look, no matter how bad things are, I'm not down ('like skyscrapers, rising up, floor by floor, I'm not giving up'). And, it often helps me put my troubles in perspective since, as they say, there's always someone out there having a worse day.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:25 PM on August 10, 2009

Tom Petty - I Won't Back Down?
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 11:35 PM on August 10, 2009

Gwen Stefani - "What you waiting for?" 60 comments in, and I can't believe no one's suggested it. Written before the start of her solo career in response to her own self-doubt and record label pressures.Contains the encouraging advice, "Take a chance you stupid ho." Ridiculously catchy.
posted by chronic sublime at 3:05 AM on August 13, 2009

Late to the party, but these have some good repetives that aren't exactly "I'm alright," but are still pretty affirming.

Peter Gabriel - Don’t Give Up
Over The Rhine - Lookin' Forward ("I'm lookin' forward to lookin' back on this day")
Patty Griffin - I Don’t Ever Give Up
Ziggy Marley - True To Myself
Johnny Nash - I Can See Clearly Now
Jonathan Coulton - We Will Rock You/We Are the Champions
posted by booth at 1:51 PM on August 17, 2009

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