Depression Mix
December 17, 2010 11:15 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for songs that explicitly give advice to make one feel better.

I'm not looking for songs that make you happy. They don't even have to be songs that sound happy or deal with depressing or uplifting themes. I'm talking about songs that explicitly give advice to make one feel better.

New Radicals - You Get What You Give ("Don't give up/You have a reason to live")
Enigma - Return to Innocence ("Don't be afraid to be weak/Don't be too proud to be strong")
REM - Everybody Hurts ("Cause everybody hurts/So hold on")
Wilson Phillips - Hold On ("Don't you know that things can change/If you hold on for one more day")
Baz Luhrmann - Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) (The entire song, if you can call it a song)
Bobby McFerrin - Don't Worry, Be Happy ("Don't worry, be happy")

Example of something I'm NOT looking for:
Johnny Nash - I Can See Clearly Now (It is uplifting but doesn't really offer explicit advice.)
posted by daninnj to Media & Arts (59 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
Sinatra - That's life. ("Each time I find myself, flat on my face, I pick myself up and get back in the race.)

Ain't no better advice than that.
posted by three blind mice at 11:18 PM on December 17, 2010

This reminds me of nothing if not that dated but sweet 90s one-hit-wonder, You Gotta Be by Des'ree.
posted by threeants at 11:20 PM on December 17, 2010

Daniel Johnston - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Grieviences
posted by hydrophonic at 11:21 PM on December 17, 2010

The first one that popped into my head (it gave me some handy advice earlier this year) is Sia's song Death by Chocolate:

"Tears on your pillow will dry and you will learn just how to love again/
Oh my weeping willow, let your leaves fall and return, Oh darling the seasons are your friend."
posted by oceanview at 11:23 PM on December 17, 2010

Daniel Johnston - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Your Grieviences

...or as covered by Clem Snide, if Daniel's enthusiastic amateurism isn't to your liking.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:24 PM on December 17, 2010

John Lennon - Hold on John
posted by John Cohen at 11:28 PM on December 17, 2010

Argent - Hold Your Head Up

The whole song is good advice:

And if it's bad
Don't let it get you down, you can take it
And if it hurts
Don't let them see you cry, you can make it

Hold your head up, hold your head up
Hold your head up, hold your head high

And if they stare
Just let them burn their eyes on you moving
And if they shout
Don't let it change a thing that you're doing

Hold your head up, hold your head up
Hold your head up, hold your head high

posted by amyms at 11:34 PM on December 17, 2010

Carole King - Beautiful

"You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart."
posted by papayaninja at 11:34 PM on December 17, 2010

"Shaking the Blues Away," but go for Doris Day or a more modern version over Ruth Etting's which--while superior vocally--is much more offensive and therefore not worth it.

"Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag and smile, smile, smile."

"Don't Delay, Participate!" from Belaire, at least from what I can make of the lyrics.

"Just Dance" by Lady Gaga.

"#1 Must Have" from Sleater-Kinney, arguably ("culture is what we make it... now is the time to invent").
posted by verbyournouns at 11:37 PM on December 17, 2010

I quite like The Weepies - Not Your Year for this:
Breathe through it, write a list of desires
Make a toast, make a wish, slash some tires
Paint a heart repeating, beating "don't give up, don't give up, don't give up."

Also applicable:
Jon McLaughlin - Just Give it Time (Just give it time/It's gonna get better/Now is not forever at all)

Brett Dennen - Don't Forget (should things fall apart/be patient like a rainbow/life is loving and letting go

Peter Gabriel - Don't Give Up (Don't give up/'Cause you have friends/Don't give up/You're not beaten yet)

The Perishers - Weekends (Just remember/As you struggle through the day/Relief awaits you/Friday's not that far away)
posted by daelin at 11:39 PM on December 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've always found "Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying" by Gerry and the Pacemakers to be comforting.

Oh and "Midnight Radio" from Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
posted by Jess the Mess at 11:41 PM on December 17, 2010

Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young - Love the One You're With

If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 11:42 PM on December 17, 2010

Out of Control by Oingo Boingo (Don't you know that everyone around you has felt the pain you feel today...when you wake up in the morning, it'll only be a dream; whole song, really)
Ain't Got No/I Got Life by Nina Simone
Please Pardon Yourself by the Avett Brothers (To this awful news try not to hold on, the day will come, the sun will rise, and we'll be fine)
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life by Eric Idle (even in my worst moods, this always forces me to crack at least a little grin, if it's a cynical one)
posted by smirkette at 11:49 PM on December 17, 2010 [4 favorites]

Take that look out of here it doesn't fit you
Because it's happened doesn't mean you've been discarded
Pull up your head from the floor
Come up screaming
Cry out for everything you ever might have wanted...

--Big Country, "In a Big Country," The Crossing

(Also, OMFG Big Country in general.)
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:14 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Coconut by Harry Nilsson!!!
posted by kitty teeth at 12:18 AM on December 18, 2010

Plea From A Cat Named Virtue by the Weakerthans.

"I know you're strong"
posted by bibliogrrl at 12:28 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well, there's Desiderata, if you want to call *that" a song.
posted by treblemaker at 1:10 AM on December 18, 2010

More like advice on persisting through adversity than actually being happy:

Triumph - Fight the Good Fight ("don't get discouraged, don't be afraid, we can make it through another day")
The Alarm - Blaze of Glory ("there is nothing you shouldn't speak of if you got something to say, and there is no one to be afraid of, just get them out of your way")
Bon Jovi - Keep the Faith ("don't let love turn to hate, gotta keep the faith")

Cat Stevens - Father and Son offers advice from a father to his son to make him happy ("take your time, think a lot, think of everything you've got") but is just goddamn sad ("for you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not")
posted by zanni at 2:10 AM on December 18, 2010

Gorillaz - Demon Days
posted by neushoorn at 2:30 AM on December 18, 2010

The Beatles - We Can Work it Out, Fixing a Hole
Laura Nyro - Time and Love
Van Morrison - The Mystery
Alanis Morissette - Thank U
Mama Cass - Make Your Own Kind of Music
Janis Joplin - Get it While You Can
Sly and the Family Stone - Stand!, You Can Make it if You Try
James Taylor - Shower the People
posted by Paris Elk at 2:50 AM on December 18, 2010

Third Eye Blind - Jumper
posted by frmrpreztaft at 3:56 AM on December 18, 2010

I just listen to Dolly Parton's Better Get to Livin' on repeat for as long as it takes to cheer up. The music starts at 1:00, but if you start there, you'll miss Amy Sedaris' very odd cameo as a green elf-lady.
posted by whitewall at 5:10 AM on December 18, 2010

Johnny Mercer's Accentuate the Positive (accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative - don't mess with Mr Inbetween)
posted by rongorongo at 5:29 AM on December 18, 2010

Always Give Your Love Away by Twang Twang Shock-a-Boom.
posted by archagon at 5:55 AM on December 18, 2010

Realizing that "you can't always get what you want" brings me back to earth. I find myself singing this to my toddler sometimes too.
posted by PSB at 6:13 AM on December 18, 2010

Get up Outta the Dirt Butterfingers
Learnalilgivinanlovin Gotye
posted by Trivia Newton John at 6:19 AM on December 18, 2010

A really fun band from Newfoundland called Great Big Sea pretty much specializes in this. Here's one of their best: Ordinary Day
posted by Hop123 at 6:20 AM on December 18, 2010

Kind of: "50 Ways To Leave Your Lover" by Paul Simon.
posted by sundrop at 6:34 AM on December 18, 2010

Jerome Kern's Pick Yourself Up from the movie Swing-time is the grand-daddy of feel-better songs!
posted by BostonTerrier at 6:35 AM on December 18, 2010

Jimmy Eat World: The Middle
posted by dogmom at 6:47 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Perhaps you're not fond of this one, since it's sort of obvious...

"I will Survive
As long as I know how to love
I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live
And all my love to give,
I will Survive, I will Survive, oh oh ..!"

it's in the first person, but definitely about how to feel better.
posted by jb at 6:59 AM on December 18, 2010

Since it's Christmas -

Favorite Things (When the dog bites/When the bee stings/When I'm feeling sad/I simply remember my favorite things/And then I don't feel so sad.)

Also -

Que Sera Sera (Whatever will be will be/The future's not ours to see/Que Sera Sera)
posted by eleslie at 7:34 AM on December 18, 2010

I've had an ear worm for two songs by Little Feat, "Trouble" and "Easy to Slip"

I'm gonna write a letter
send it away
put all the troubles in it
you've had today
posted by ohshenandoah at 7:37 AM on December 18, 2010

Keep on the Sunny Side -- the Carter Family made it popular, but it's covered by pretty much everybody. One of my favorite songs ever.
posted by cowboy_sally at 7:43 AM on December 18, 2010

The Staple Singers, "Respect Yourself"
posted by kirkaracha at 8:18 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Howard Jones - Things Can Only Get Better was always this song for me in high school though reading the lyrics it may not be specific enough.

"Treating today as though it was
The last, the final show
Get to sixty and feel no regret
It may take a little time
A lonely path, an uphill climb
Success or failure will not alter it
posted by jessamyn at 8:32 AM on December 18, 2010

Yeasayer's Ambling Alp always, always makes me feel better when I listen to it (and sing along to it) :)
posted by GastrocNemesis at 8:41 AM on December 18, 2010

Get Up Offa That Thing/ And dance til you feel better...
posted by HandfulOfDust at 9:31 AM on December 18, 2010

Also, this is more advice-y than feel-goody, but Sufjan Stevens has a great song of his new album called Get Real Get Right. It starts off kind of lame, but gets great. I wouldn't let anyone else but Sufjan harass me about getting square with his Lord, though.
posted by threeants at 9:46 AM on December 18, 2010

Christine Fellows - Advice (youtube)
posted by mumble at 10:04 AM on December 18, 2010

Life is Sweet by Natalie Merchant:

But don't cry
You know the tears'll do no good
so dry your eyes
Oh, they told you life is hard
It's misery from the start
It's dull, it's slow, it's painful
But I tell you life is sweet
In spite of the misery
there's so much more
Be grateful
Well, who do you believe
Who will you listen to, who will it be
Because it's high time that you decide
In your own mind
posted by Majorita at 10:09 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Frank Turner, Reasons not to be an Idiot.

So why are you sat at home?
You're not designed to be alone
You just got used to saying "no"
So get up and get down and get outside
Cos it's a lovely sunny day
But you hide yourself away
You've only got yourself to blame
Get up and get down and get outside

posted by daisyk at 11:15 AM on December 18, 2010

Janelle MonĂ¡e, Tightrope

Pretty much all the lyrics are good advice and encouragement. This was my theme song of 2010.

Also, the video is awesome.
posted by Fuego at 11:28 AM on December 18, 2010

The Flaming Lips' 'Do You Realize?'...

"Do you realize we're floating in space?
Do you realize that happiness makes you cry?
Do you realize that everyone you know someday will die?

And instead of saying all of your goodbyes
Let them know you realize that life goes fast
It's hard to make the good things last
You realize the sun don't go down
It's just an illusion caused by the world spinning 'round"
posted by ws at 11:35 AM on December 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Guster -- "Hang On"

Stuck without a captain or a chart
No one seems to know just who to follow anymore
Hang on
Hang on
There's a twilight
A nighttime and a dawn
Who knows
How long
So hang on
Hang on

posted by lilac girl at 2:40 PM on December 18, 2010

WHIP IT. When a problem comes along, you must whip it!

and there is no music better than funk for making you feel good:

P-FUNK (Wants to Get Funked Up)
Now this is what I want yall to do:
If you got faults, defects or shortcomings,
You know, like arthritis, rheumatism or migraines,
Whatever part of your body it is,
I want you to lay it on your radio, let the vibes flow through.
Funk not only MOVES, it can REMOVE, dig?
The desired effect is what you get
When you improve your Interplanetary Funksmanship!

Get up offa that thing,
and shake till you feel better!
Get up offa that thing,
and shake it -- say it now!
Get up offa that thing,
and shake till you feel better!
Get up offa that thing,
and try to release that pressure!
Get up off! Ha! Good God! So good!
Everybody ready? Follow me!

I used to buy my faith in worship
But then my chance to Heaven slipped
I used to worry about the future
But then I throw my caution to the wind!
I had no reason to be care free (no no no)
Until I took a trip to the other side of town (yeah yeah yeah)
You know I heard that boogie rhythm
I had no choice but to get down down down down
And dance! Nothing left for me to do but dance!
Off these bad times I'm going through just dance!
Got canned heat in my heels tonight baby

You might get angry sometimes
But don't let it turn you around
All you gotta do
Is get your livin' now
You might be scared of something - look at Mr Stewart!
He's the only person he has to fear
If he'd only let himself get near
(He don't trust nobody!)
If he stopped bein' so shady
He could have a nice young lady
You're gonna be sad sometimes
You might wake up to find your pet is gone
But maybe
He's tired of bein' alone
Dog gets hip, it has to go
And if you're lovin you can't be sad no more
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 2:43 PM on December 18, 2010

Tomorrow Never Knows - The Beatles

Turn off your mind, relax
and float down stream
It is not dying
It is not dying

Lay down all thought
Surrender to the void
It is shining
It is shining

That you may see
The meaning of within
It is being
It is being

That love is all
And love is everyone
It is knowing
It is knowing

That ignorance and hate
May mourn the dead
It is believing
It is believing

But listen to the
color of your dreams
It is not living
It is not living

Or play the game
existence to the end
Of the beginning
Of the beginning
Of the beginning
Of the beginning
Of the beginning
Of the beginning
posted by Meatbomb at 3:32 PM on December 18, 2010

Argent's Dance in the Smoke was a life changer for me. Thirty years ago, I played this song, built a fire, burned all photos and keepsakes that made me feel bad and then jumped through the smoke. Have felt better ever since!
posted by a humble nudibranch at 3:46 PM on December 18, 2010

Pretty & twisted Ride
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 5:44 PM on December 18, 2010

This question just woke up my high school self, who remembers The Cure's "Fight Fight Fight" as something that might fit the bill.
posted by TEA at 7:19 PM on December 18, 2010

Todd Rundgren's Healing is an amazing example of just such a song.

Healing Part One

Healing Part Two

Healing Part Three
posted by markjamesmurphy at 7:22 PM on December 18, 2010

Jason Mraz, Details in the Fabric:

Calm down, deep breaths
And get yourself dressed
Instead of running around
And pulling on your threads
And breaking yourself up

If it's a broken part, replace it
If it's a broken arm, then brace it
If it's a broken heart, then face it

And hold your own, know your name
And go your own way.
posted by yawper at 7:44 PM on December 18, 2010

Les Jours Tristes by Yann Tiersen. Every time I'm feeling a little low, I listen to it and it reminds me that things get better. Despite the title, the lyrics are in English.
posted by dcheeno at 8:46 PM on December 18, 2010

Morrissey - Do Your Best And Don't Worry (sample lyrics: Just do your best and don't ... Don't worry, oh. The way you hang yourself is oh, so unfair. See the best of how they look. Against the worst of how you are..). I think there are probably other Morrissey songs that fit the bill. This is actually why I love Morrissey. People consider him mopey, but he's the one I turn to when I need an encouraging word.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:06 PM on December 18, 2010

All American Rejects - Move Along
(Even when your hope is gone, move along, move along, just to make it through)

The Killers - All These Things That I've Done
(If you can hold on, hold on)

Smash Mouth - All Star
(You'll never know if you don't go, you'll never shine if you don't glow)

Ingrid Michaelson - Everybody
(Trying to make your heart fit like a glove, what it needs is love, love, love)
posted by moojoose at 11:27 PM on December 18, 2010

From the musical Godspell (Everything's Alright):

Try not to get worried
Try not to turn on to
Problems that upset you.

Don't you know, everything's all right, yes,
Everything's fine.
And we want you to sleep well tonight.
Let the world turn without you tonight.
posted by cider at 4:37 AM on December 19, 2010

Wilco - How to Fight Loneliness
posted by easternblot at 8:27 AM on December 19, 2010

Ze Frank's Chillout Song:
You're okay
You'll be fine
Just breathe
Still makes me cry every time I listen to it.

The Indigo Girls - "Hammer and a Nail":
Gotta get out of bed get a hammer and a nail
Learn how to use my hands, not just my head
I think myself into jail
Now I know a refuge never grows
From a chin in a hand in a thoughtful pose
Gotta tend the earth if you want a rose.
posted by Lexica at 11:57 AM on December 19, 2010

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