Give me strength...
March 16, 2008 8:36 AM   Subscribe

Anti-depressant music...what picks you out of a slump

I have Great Big Sea's Ordinary Day on repeat right now. What other "it's all your state of mind, at the end of the day, everything's alright, things could be worse" do you know of. Cheery sunny tunes welcome too. Have to try to go to work tomorrow.
posted by hungrysquirrels to Health & Fitness (75 answers total) 53 users marked this as a favorite
Early Beatles. Stuff from the late '50's early 60's like 'The Wanderer' 'Every Time That You Walk In The Room' 'Get A Job,' Del Shannon, like that...
posted by jonmc at 8:40 AM on March 16, 2008

Sound like you need some beachy music- check out
"the Islands" - Return to the Sea
"the Tyde" - Once or Twice (two different albums)
"the Magic Numbers"
and of course...there's always Jack Johnson

and maybe a jaunt around town? always shakes me out of feeling like a frump.
posted by abee at 8:43 AM on March 16, 2008

Also the comedienne Moms Mabley did a song called "It's Alright," which is as goofy as you might expect, but for some reason never fails to lift my spirits. Also, Sly 7 the Family Stone's 'Everyday People,' and Joan Jett's version of 'I Need Someone'(self-link, streaming audio).
posted by jonmc at 8:44 AM on March 16, 2008

"Prove It" by Television, from the album Marquee Moon can get me out of some very nasty moods.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:49 AM on March 16, 2008

Showtunes and Disney songs (Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!) if you're desperate
Louis Armstrong
posted by HotPatatta at 8:49 AM on March 16, 2008

George Formby. Not for everybody, but I find it impossible not to crack a smile.
posted by Countess Elena at 8:50 AM on March 16, 2008

"Float On" by Modest Mouse might have the message you're looking for.

I also like "Let it Be" by the Beatles when I'm feeling down.
posted by christinetheslp at 8:51 AM on March 16, 2008

The new Goldfrapp album Seventh Tree is very hand-clappy, singalong, cheerful, folktronica (ugh) with some downright beautiful melodies.

Here's the video for "A & E," the first single.
posted by beaucoupkevin at 8:54 AM on March 16, 2008

Wouldn't it be nice always makes me happy.
posted by theiconoclast31 at 8:58 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hmm...this is kind of a personal question I think, so I think a lot of answers won't necessarily apply.

I tend to listen to Joni Mitchell when I'm bummed out, though I wouldn't say that she necessarily gets me out of any sort of bad mood. Her function is more on the spiritual plane.

Other than that...I don't know. Beatles are always good and upbeat, and you can NEVER go wrong with disco. ABBA and various disco hits are some of my favorite, carefree music choices when I'm in a certain mood. Motown can be great too, and Sly and the Family Stone can work pretty well (there is a certain idealism that can tend to pick up my spirits).

Dionysos (cheeky and amazing French indie pop/rock), Beach Boys, and Donovan Donovan Donovan are other personal standbys.
posted by nonmerci at 9:04 AM on March 16, 2008

Disco. Listen to songs like Abba's Dancing Queen and Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive (cliche, yes, but effective) and you'll be feeling perky in no time.
posted by amyms at 9:09 AM on March 16, 2008

My go-to feel-good CD: Talking Heads - Stop Making Sense (It's impossible to resist the combination of tight musicianship and joyful abandon.)

U2 -
All That You Can't Leave Behind (especially Walk On, Beautiful Day, Stuck in a Moment)
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb (especially Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own, Original of the Species)

Switchfoot - The Beautiful Letdown (especially Dare You to Move, This is Your Life, Meant to Live)

And it's always better while driving on the highway.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:11 AM on March 16, 2008

Gotta say, ever since I first saw Beetlejuice in 1988 or so, this has worked perfectly for me.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:20 AM on March 16, 2008

Classic New Order. Balm for the soul.
posted by the luke parker fiasco at 9:21 AM on March 16, 2008

I really like the White Stripes. Good combination of angry and positive at the same time. Hard to find that...
posted by sully75 at 9:34 AM on March 16, 2008

No bullshit.
Just the facts put to music.
posted by watercarrier at 9:35 AM on March 16, 2008

The Pixies's cover of "Head On."
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:35 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

B-52s - most of it
Stand or Shiny Happy People by REM
My Girl by Smokey Robinson
Top Hat by Irving Berlin, sung by Louis Armstrong
All I Wanna Do by Sheryl Crow
Me and Julio and Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes by Paul Simon

Disco puts me in the wrong kind of funk :)
posted by Rain Man at 9:37 AM on March 16, 2008

Response by poster: nonmerci: you're probably right, everybody is different. not sure there's an answer to this question.

It's been a long dark winter, and I'm dealing with some issues. Guess what I looking for is "it's a sunny day, everything is alright" sort of music to pick up spirits.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 9:38 AM on March 16, 2008

posted by Wanderlust88 at 9:45 AM on March 16, 2008

Hawaiian music featuring the slack key guitar, steel guitar, and ukulele. I can't help feeling more relaxed and carefree when I listen to this stuff. A little island attitude helps put things in perspective.
posted by man on the run at 9:45 AM on March 16, 2008

When I need a lift, I throw in The Weary Boys "Jumpin Jolie" -- the whole album, but that song in particular. It's happy music.
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:52 AM on March 16, 2008

The Polyphonic Spree - I saw these guys a few years ago just after their first album came out, and it's still one of the most joyful gigs I've been to.
posted by TheWaves at 9:53 AM on March 16, 2008 [2 favorites]

Although he's lumped in with the "minamalists", Steve Reich's music never fails to give me a lift. "Music for 18 Musicians" is his most famous piece but I also really like "New York Counterpoint" and "Eight Lines". It takes some investment to listen to Reich and you have to like repetition but it can be exhilartating music.
posted by Zebtron at 9:54 AM on March 16, 2008

Funny, Rain Man - Diamonds is pretty depressing, to me. Has to do with when I was listening to it a lot, though, going through a tough time.

hungrysquirrels, check out "Things Ain't What They Used To Be" by the Oscar Peterson Trio (Ray Brown on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums) from the record "Night Train" for the very definition of swing. It's a different kind of joy from, say, the White Stripes, but it is pure joy nonetheless, and it'll probably be under-represented here, so I thought I'd send it out to you.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:54 AM on March 16, 2008

Erasure, They Might Be Giants. Depending on age, Best of Bootie. I've found that Mixup/Mashup has a high upbeat tempo and like 5 of your favorite forgotten bands all in the same track.
posted by zengargoyle at 10:15 AM on March 16, 2008


It's a funky, cheery '70's-esque jazz pop project from Skellefteå, Sweden. The main man behind it, Andreas Hedlund, is also responsible for Vintersorg, which is Swedish black folk metal.

Both are highly recommended, though Waterclime is more aggressively cheery, with it's Mellotron organ swells and melodies that wouldn't be out of place in a Rugrats episode. Vintersorg is merely really, REALLY weird.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:17 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

I'll second the classic New Order: Temptation, the 12 inch version, Ceremony, Thieves Like Us, Lonesome Tonight, Age of Consent, Everything's Gone Green, Procession...
posted by Max Power at 10:17 AM on March 16, 2008

Best answer: I have that song by Great Big Sea on my "cheer up" mix too! It's one of those songs I can sing along to at the top of my voice and leaves me feeling calmed and cheered up.

Other songs on that list with lyrics that make me feel good (some are cheesy and embarrassing to admit but I'll list them anyway...)
LFO - That's the Way It Is
Jessica Andrews - Rosemary's Granddaughter
Great Big Sea - When I am King
Bob Schneider - Big Blue Sea
Gordon Lightfoot - Wherefore and Why
Tom Petty - Wildflowers
Hanson - Mmmbop (I know, but you asked...)
Traveling Wilburys - End of the Line

For me it's as much about having a happy, energetic sound as it is about the lyrics. And I tend to want to go back to cheerful pop songs that were on the radio when I was in high school, the sunny days when I could drive around with the windows down and the radio loud, feeling young and strong and really really good. Good memories bring me out of a slump faster than anything else, and some songs bring me back to that time surprisingly. Can you find some songs like that?
posted by beandip at 10:26 AM on March 16, 2008

Trains to Brazil by Guillemots. Lyrics about making the best of things, written after the 7th July London bombings. Charming video as well in that link.

This Is Not An Exit by Seafood. Can't find a video or anything as it was released in about 2000 but there's a live version here.
posted by terrynutkins at 10:31 AM on March 16, 2008

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life - Monty Python. Can be found on the Life Of Brian album or on any of their best of/greatest collections.
posted by Rewind at 10:41 AM on March 16, 2008

I'm From Barcelona. The album name is Let Me Introduce My Friends. The whole album is great, but it's very hard not to be cheered up by the determinedly happy inanity of Treehouse.

The Softlightes will make you feel better. They live on a sunny day in early June.

Good luck. Be well.
posted by MrVisible at 10:56 AM on March 16, 2008

These are mine:
Bob Marley - Three little birds
Ani Difranco - Little plastic castles
Alicia Keys - No one
KT Tunstall - I want you back
Brooke White - Free
Ani Difranco - Pick yer nose
Ben Harper - My own two hands
Lionel Richie - All night long
posted by healthyliving at 10:58 AM on March 16, 2008

I am not a religious person, but up tempo Gospel music of a certain age does it for me -- You can't go wrong with the Fontella Bass version of "This Little Light of Mine" or Marion Williams singing "What Could I do?" Alex Bradford doing "It's a Highway to Heaven" more contemporary but an oldie, John Fogerty doing "Don't you wish it were true" and Mavis Staples doing "99 1/2"

More contemporary:
Allen Toussaint - Yes We Can Can
Van Morrison - Bright Side of the Road
Allman Brothers - Jessica
Earth Wind and Fire - Sing a Song
Bow Wow Wow - I want Candy
Madonna - Ray of Light
Fat Boy Slim - Wonderful Night
U2 - Beautiful Day
Ben Lee - We're all in this together
Jim Noir - Eanie Meanie
Brave Combo - the album, "Polkas for a Gloomy World" -- almost any Brave Combo should do it
Chris Smither - Rock and Roll Doctor
Los Lobos - Free Up
Rare Earth - I just want to Celebrate
Groove Armada - But I feel Good
Peter Tosh - You Gotta Walk and Don't Look Back
Remy Ongala - Kidogo Kidogo (Little by Little) -- that great African jangly happy guitar sound

Yeah, I have a "make me happy playlist" Hope you manage to make one too.
posted by nnk at 11:01 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

caveat: for me, getting out of a bum mood is more about pushing through it than being lifted from it, so I favor more hardcore music. Politically charged rap or punk usually works because it gives me something else to be angry or depressed about.

I highly recommend:
Immortal Technique
Against Me!

and sometimes, I'll smoke a bowl and listen to "Everybody's Free" by Aquagen, on the "538 Dance Smash Hits Summer 2002" comp.
posted by SECONDHANDSMOTE at 11:22 AM on March 16, 2008

This is the day your life will surely change.
posted by baggymp at 11:27 AM on March 16, 2008

Junior Senior baby!
posted by boeing82 at 11:31 AM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Journey: Any Way You Want It.

Press play, press repeat, begin air guitar, be well.
posted by Doctor Suarez at 11:34 AM on March 16, 2008

Three songs with videos to get you hopping around a room and feeling like being a bit abnormal is absolutely fine (they work better as mood lifters with the visuals):

Moby: Beautiful

Fat Boy Slim: Praise You

James: Laid

and an extra bonus, a dose of cheesiness helps banish moping too:

Dee Lite: Groove is in the Heart

posted by stagewhisper at 11:43 AM on March 16, 2008

"It's the Sun" by Polyphonic Spree
"The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World
posted by unknowncommand at 11:46 AM on March 16, 2008

That's a great video and suggestion, The corpse in the library.
posted by stagewhisper at 11:50 AM on March 16, 2008

The Books make music that is introspective, full of breadth, and often ecstatic. They use a lot of electronic and acoustic instruments with a sound-collage technique with a final product approaching something like folk music. It's music that never fails to give me some sense of peace after listening to it.
posted by invitapriore at 11:55 AM on March 16, 2008

Theiconoclast31, it was recently pointed out to me that the song A&E by Goldfrapp is in fact, about a near-fatal drug overdose and a visit to the emergency room.
posted by Lieber Frau at 12:40 PM on March 16, 2008

A few years ago I discovered it was impossible to listen to more than fifteen minutes of either George Clinton / Funkadelic or Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club de Paris and remain pissed off.
posted by Grangousier at 1:08 PM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh, and if you like the Reinhardt, you could try slipping into the hard stuff - pretty much anything Duke Ellington recorded up to about 1940.
posted by Grangousier at 1:09 PM on March 16, 2008

Response by poster: Keep em coming...some are hard to find, but checking-out a lot of them
posted by hungrysquirrels at 1:20 PM on March 16, 2008

Maxine Nightingale, Right Back Where We Started From, because it's a twofer: 1) a peppy beat 2) that makes me think of Slap Shot, which always cracks me up.
posted by timetoevolve at 1:39 PM on March 16, 2008

I was crazy, hopelessly depressed this winter. Funk and hip-hop music helped beat that back. During this dark time, I found the classic album Doggystyle to be almost medicinal. It's really funky and full of snaps - there were three songs I found particularly devastating to a bad mood.

On the days I could keep these beats locked in my head, I got through them without falling in the Hole. Don't know if you like rap music at all, but Doggystyle really worked for me.
posted by EatTheWeek at 1:41 PM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Joseph Spence (wikipedia), especially the Smithsonian Folkways stuff (also available as a download).
posted by Eothele at 1:58 PM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

"Fooling Yourself" by Styx.
posted by kristi at 1:59 PM on March 16, 2008

Flight of the Valkyries.
posted by CollectiveMind at 3:28 PM on March 16, 2008

"New Shoes" by Paolo Nutini is definitely happy-boppy-smiley music.
posted by biscotti at 3:29 PM on March 16, 2008

Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kijé suite. It helps to know something of the plot of the story, I think - Wikipedia.
posted by paduasoy at 4:29 PM on March 16, 2008

Some of this is more energetic than directly happy, but being energized makes me happy!
So, some of my 'happy' playlist:

The Cure - Doing the Unstuck ("Let's get happy!"), Just Like Heaven, Let's Go to Bed, etc etc...
The Incredible Moses Leroy - It's A Sunday
PJ Harvey - Big Exit
BT - Running Down The Way Up
REM - These Days, Stand, You Are the Everything, This World is Big
They Might Be Giants - Particle Man
Covenant - Tour de Force (club mix)
The Roots - Proceed
The Clash - Rock the Casbah
Ween - Voodoo Lady
James - Laid
The Kinks - Come Dancing
Dar Williams - Alleluia
And One - Driving With My Darling, Goodbye Germany
Laura Branigan - Self Control
Dire Straits - Walk of Life
Aphex Twin - Windowlicker
Electronic - Vivid
Air - All I Need
Soulja Boy - Yahhhhh!!!
Ely Guerra - De La Calle
The New Pornographers - Use It
Duran Duran - Hungry Like the Wolf
Neko Case - Tightly, Soulful Shade of Blue (cover)
Thrill Kill Kult - Fhantasi Luv'r, Sex on Wheels
Neil Diamond - Sweet Caroline
posted by peeet at 4:31 PM on March 16, 2008

Weezer, Island in the Sun

Outkast, Hey Ya (especially when paired with this video)

But lately, what never fails, is this kid singing "Hey Jude." I am physically incapable of feeling sad when I watch this.
posted by missjenny at 5:05 PM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Some of my get happy songs:

Let's Go Crazy - Prince
Dancing in the Moonlight - King Harvest
Do Ya -ELO
Don't Bring Me Down - ELO
Dance the Night Away - Van Halen
Jump - Pointer Sisters
Best of My Love - Emotions
Get Down Tonight - KC & The Sunshine Band
Good Times - Chic
Having a Party - Sam Cooke
Twistin' the Night Away - Sam Cooke
Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane
Dancin' With Myself -Billy Idol
I Can't Help Myself - Four Tops
I Want You to Want Me (live version) - Cheap Trick
posted by LoriFLA at 5:14 PM on March 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Try the Hamsterdance,
posted by sgmax at 6:49 PM on March 16, 2008

If I Had a Million Dollars, and It's All Been Done--Bare Naked Ladies
Animal Song--Savage Garden
Born at the Right Time, and Late In the Evening--Paul Simon
Soundtrack from the movie 'Leap of Faith' (especially "There's a Change in My Life..")
Simply Irresistible--Robert Palmer
Life Is a Highway--Tom Petty
My Maria--Brooks and Dunne
I've Got Friends in Low Places--Garth Brooks
Cover of the Rolling Stone--Doctor Hook
Love in the Library, a Pirate Looks at Forty--Jimmy Buffett
Unskinny Bop--Poison
Boogie Shoes--KC and the Sunshine Band
posted by misha at 7:05 PM on March 16, 2008

the rentals! and i second i'm from barcelona.
posted by evalenza at 7:26 PM on March 16, 2008

Pretty much anything by The Rippingtons is cheery and upbeat.
posted by netbros at 10:07 PM on March 16, 2008

Prokofiev's Lieutenant Kijé suite—paduasoy, indeed. In that same vein, Le Voyage de Ballon, music by Jean Prodromides [clips].

I heard an old blues man say that sad music is good to listen to when you're sad, because it's sadder than you may be feeling and puts things more in perspective.

if you insist on happy,
Amadou et Mariam, Senegal Fast Food
Amadou et Mariam, Je Pense a Toi [sad, but beautiful].

On the Goldfrapp tip, Hairy Trees is pretty chill, an older CD [Black Cherry].

If you can't get out to the countryside, Great Lake Swimmers,'Your Rocky Spine'. Anything of his.

Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, 'Woe, The Luck';' Moody Richard','I Scare Myself', 'Canned Music'... Anything. Real heel kickin'.

Anything Leadbelly, 'Grey Goose','When I Was a Cowboy','Bourgeois Blues'... the blues that won't leave you feeling blue.
posted by alicesshoe at 11:14 PM on March 16, 2008

Nouvelle Vague "Dancing with myself"
posted by Lucie at 12:17 AM on March 17, 2008

The Bangles - Manic Monday
Or anything Kinks

...and it has to be LOUD! You'll do fine
posted by SurrenderMonkey at 6:42 AM on March 17, 2008

Nada Surf - Blankest Year. The lyrics "oh f*** it, I'm going to have a party" always seem to cheer me up.
posted by mcroft at 7:47 AM on March 17, 2008

Flagpole Sitta
posted by tomcooke at 10:24 AM on March 17, 2008

Here's my happy playlist:

Accidentally Kelly Street by Frente

Don't Stop Me Now by Queen

Shang-a-Lang by the Bay City Rollers

Dream by Dizzee Rascal

Good Morning!

Damn Good Times by They Might Be Giants

Crocodile Rock by Elton John

Mayor of Simpleton by XTC

Steal My Sunshine by Len

The Impression That I Get by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

Whoever You Are by Geggy Tah

Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side by The Magnetic Fields

Sunshine by Atmosphere

LDN by Lily Allen

Spanish Pipedream by John Prine

Something Tells Me I'm Into Something Good by Herman Hermits

Waterloo by Abba (best watched with the Muriel's Wedding dance)

I Believe in a Thing Called Love by The Darkness

The Good Life by Weezer

Got My Mind Set on You by George Harrison

You Can Call Me Al by Paul Simon

Alright by Supergrass

Because I Got High by Afroman

Sir Duke by Stevie Wonder

ANYTHING by Me First and The Gimme Gimmes but especially their cover of Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard.
posted by triggerfinger at 1:57 PM on March 17, 2008

What A Wonderful World

Walking on Sunshine
(whish my user name was Fry)
posted by kc0dxh at 4:59 PM on March 17, 2008

This morning I was listening to the radio and I was reminded that I definitely have to add this.

Especially when combined with SNOOPY!!!!
posted by miss lynnster at 5:15 PM on March 17, 2008

the best ones I can think of -

The Mountain Goats This Year (if nothing else, check this one out.)
Janet Jackson Alright

also -

Monica "Just one of them days"

just fun -

Mambo Sauce "Welcome to DC" (probably nobody has heard that, but check youtube.. I love it)

french electronic stuff -

Grandlife - We in Music
Justice D.A.N.C.E. (go see them live if you can, it's a treat)
posted by citron at 9:50 PM on March 17, 2008

more that just always cheer me up big time.

Replacements Alex Chilton
Madonna Hung Up
Afghan Whigs - Citi Soleil
Cheb Khaled & Faudel Aicha (live)
Fantasia (Polow da Don remix) When I see you
Mary J Blige - Just Fine
TPain - Church
Chuck Brown - Chuck Baby

indie rock.
Neutral Milk Hotel - King of Carrot Flowers Pt 2 and 3 (classic)
Smog - Bathysphere (it's funny, I think)
PAVEMENT Debris Slide

current guilty pleasure
Ashlee Simpson - Outta My Head
posted by citron at 10:25 PM on March 17, 2008

Fastball - The way
posted by barrakuda at 11:02 AM on March 18, 2008

one song right now: Jamie Lidell - Another Day
posted by senterstyle at 3:08 AM on March 22, 2008

It is impossible to be sad when Solsbury Hill is playing.
posted by CunningLinguist at 3:39 PM on March 24, 2008

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