10 songs that make me feel okay and why

  1. “Postcards from Italy”—Beirut: Maybe it’s just the cute ukulele that gets me jazzed every time, or the fact that I first heard this song when I was in the 6th grade and in the middle of realizing that I was a strange person who had yet to make real friends. But I never get tired of this one. It feels like childhood and possibilities, which is always nice.
  2. “Just Like Heaven” — The Cure: I can’t even remember when I first heard this song, but it’s been on every playlist since I knew how to make them. (I even made a playlist titled after the name of this song full of other 80s jams that is excellent for long road trips with your mom, if your mom is a recovering hair band addict like mine).
  3. “Someone Great”—LCD Soundsystem: I sat in the front seat of a cab the other night and the driver was this older dad who told me about all the new music his son had been showing him, and he started playing LCD Soundsystem and telling me about how he had recently seen them live, and how hyped he was about being at a show where everyone was smiling and dancing together. I told him this song always made me feel the MOST HYPED and then he played it, and we both sat in the car and danced through the whole thing even though he had reached my apartment and the ride was over.
  4. “My Old Man” — Mac DeMarco: This lil song is new to the list but lately I have been bopping this song every time I drive home from work. Particularly when the sun is going down. Also, I have an unhealthy crush on Mac and boys IRL who embody his slacker-yet-ambitious-artistic boy aesthetic. Yes I know, it’s something I’m working on but fine for now.
  5. “Sister”—Angel Olsen: Do I need to say it? I already say it too often. FUCK ME RIGHT UP, ANGEL OLSEN. Every damn time. She’s a master lyricist and I am a sucker for good lyrics. That “all my life I thought I’d change” repetition just hits me right in my indecisive, self-aware, soon to be post-grad gut. It’s sad but reassuring and I love it. The music video is incredible too — it’s set in the desert and it involves pools and a lot of slow shots of cacti and it sort of feels like a romanticized version of West Texas.
  6. “Greek Tragedy” — The Wombats: Ok first of all I don’t know I DON’T KNOW why this particular second-tier Wombats song has somehow passed the test of so many other feel-good jams that have come and gone for me, but I have managed, in some way, to never get tired of it. It is really nothing special and even contains a nice dose of that “millennial whoop” that every music theorist got so hyped about last year. I don’t care. This song is a familiar relic of my pink-haired heavy eyeliner middle school days and I play it every time I’m alone in my car.
  7. “Age of Consent” — New Order: Another one I’ve known for my whole life. I can’t remember when I first discovered it, but I do remember coming to college and meeting the first friends who not only had the exact same taste in music as me, but who experienced the same kind of emotional attachment to songs and moments and friendships that I did. We still play this song at every party we go to. As soon as it comes on we all make eye contact and usually yell something like “OH MY GOD FUCK!”
  8. “Try A Little Tenderness” — Otis Redding: My favorite movie TO THIS DAY is Pretty in Pink. I watch it every time I am home sick or want some background noise while I clean or cook or whatever. This movie introduced me to this song when I was 14 and hence introduced me to Otis Redding, which led to my subsequent love of Etta James, Ray Charles, Billie Holiday, etc. This is the best jam to get dressed to.
  9. “Modern Girl” — Sleater-Kinney: I always felt weird when I was a bit younger, in my late teens, because I realized I had only been listening to bands either only composed of men or with a male front man. BUT THEN I discovered bands that packed the same punch but with women on the forefront (or at least on primary vocals) like Sleater-Kinney, The Breeders, Speedy Ortiz, Cat Power, etc. Modern Girl is probably their cutest song but it’s about sun and happiness with a touch of melancholy. The best.
  10. “You’re Going Back” — The Tallest Man on Earth: I was obsessed with all kinds of revamped folksy bullshit during my senior year of high school (i.e. Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, The Head and The Heart), most of which didn’t follow me into my adult music repertoire. But Tallest Man really got to me, man. My mom always said he sounded like a try-hard Bob Dylan which is admittedly true! I’ll say it! But this song in particular got me through that senior year, during which my parents split up and I moved a total of three times and cried a lot. Now it is a nice reminder to use music to get through things. It is a reminder that you will be fine.
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