We've all been there: you find yourself in a MOOD, and nothing seems to help. Not wine, not chocolate, not even a nap. Funks are hard to break, but feel good songs can certainly help. It would be nearly impossible to listen to one of these 20 songs and not end up smiling (or even dancing!) towards the end. So if you're a bit down, with the holidays coming to an end and the pressures of a new year hanging over your head, press play on one of these 20 feel good songs, and turn that frown upside down!
There's a lot of variety on this list, but they all have something in common: they're upbeat dance songs. Because here's the thing: sad melodies about heartbreak and heartache aren't what we need when we're depressed. They're not what we need when we feel blue. Nothing is worse than hearing a sad, depressing song when you're depressed. Way to kick me while I'm down, music! So yes, there is a lot of pop music on this list. Some R&B. A little 80's. Even some rap! When you're in a funk, you need something to pull you out of it. So save the sad songs for another day, and put together your own Music as Medication playlist with these feel good songs.
Bruno Mars is the actual King of Feel Good Songs. They're just all so goddamn catchy! But "Uptown Funk" takes catchy to a whole new level, and it's irresistible. There's just something about Bruno Mars. He makes great music, sure. But he looks like he has THE MOST fun while doing it, and only wants to share his jollies with the world! The first time I heard a sad Bruno song I was like ... what the hell is happening?! Bruno Mars is like a ray of goddamn sunshine and he can do no wrong in my book. This is just one of his many feel good songs.
This banger is the ultimate kick-ass anthem. If the weight of the world is crushing you, put this on and shrug it off. Kelly Clarkson is just so likable and relatable. Like, can't you imagine sitting around and shooting the shit with her, having a drink and complaining about your day? She's all of our imaginary best friends. The imaginary best friend who happens to be insanely talented and who calls Reba McEntire "mom". OK, so I don't know if she calls her mom, some mothers-in-law are weird about that. But still, she celebrates holidays with Reba. Kelly is feel good music personified.
So besides the fact that Pharrell is an actual vampire (can you believe he's 44?!), he makes some amazing music. "Happy" is the pick me up we all need at some point. Clap along! Plus, it's one of those feel good songs that you can listen to with your kids around. In fact, they probably love it more than you do! It's an easy song to clap along to, the words are pretty simple, and it sounds like it would be playing on some cartoon or something. A feel good song for the whole family! Can't go wrong with this one.
Self-doubt creeps in on us all, but let Lady Gaga tell you you're perfect just the way you are. "Born This Way" will have you scream-singing about your awesomeness in no time. But what I love most about this particular song (and a lot of Gaga's music in general) is that she sings for the underdogs. For the outcasts. For those of us who don't quite fit in, aren't quite accepted, or don't feel like we belong. So it's a feel good song because it's a great song. But it's also one of those feel good songs that goes deeper than your usual song.
This song isn't lyrically perfect, but damn it's got a good beat. And who can resist screaming SHUT UP AND DANCE WITH ME! Even if you're just screaming it at the cat or the baby or whatever. You make that cat shut and dance with you! What are doing just laying there, BABY?! Dance, dammit, dance! For me personally, this song feels oh so right during very particular times. Otherwise, it can be a bit annoying. But when I need motivation to clean the house or whatever? This does it every damn time. Don't you dare look back, just keep cleaning until the song is over.
One of the original boy bands, The Beach Boys gave us good, wholesome music like this gem. It's an oldie, but one of the best. And I hear good vibrations are contagious. There's something so innocent about this song, and other music of its time. Ooooh, a pretty girl, look at her nice hair! Meanwhile, in 2018, we're all about the butts and moves and whatnot. Not to get all "get off my lawn", but transporting yourself back to a simpler time and cranking some Beach Boys can really tickle your nostalgia itch and give you the warm and fuzzies.
OK, so must of us aren't 17 anymore. But that doesn't mean we aren't dancing queens! Be the queen you know you are, and let Abba take you away. This is another one of those songs that is just so PURE. You can't help but be happy listening to it! Anytime I hear it, I think back to my high schools days and remember that feeling of anticipation when my friends and I went out. It really did feel like anything could happen, and we were the masters of our destinies. I mean, I would never in my life let my kid go out dancing when she was 17, but again, simpler times! At least they'll always have ABBA.
A surefire way to get out of a funk is by putting on a song you know every single lyric, chord change, and riff to, and is there anyone in the world who doesn't know this song by heart? And I'm sorry, but Steve Perry could probably sing someone out of a coma. Try this at your next party: play a wide assortment of different kinds of music, and watch how everyone reacts to the songs they're not familiar with. Then put on THIS SONG. This is the most recognizable song on this entire list of feel good songs. Every single person at your party will stop what they are doing and start singing along. Promise.
#1 girls anthem of all time, fight me. But you need the video. NEED it. Because it's a masterpiece. One of the most crushing moments of my life was when I realized I wouldn't grow up to BE Cyndi Lauper. This song and video take me back to a place where I still think it's possible. And now I share this with my own girls, and despite the fact that this song came out when I was younger than my oldest daughter is now, THEY GET IT. Feel good songs stand the test of time, and they never get old. Kind of like Goonies! Ugh, I miss the 80's.
As the King of Feel Good Music, Bruno will obviously make more than one appearance on this list. "24K Magic" is impossible not to dance to. And sing to. And point to yourself and then point to your friend during the "Bad bitches and their ugly-ass friends line". Come on, we all do it. (Full disclosure: I LOVE THIS TINY MAN and I don't care who knows it.) I don't know what it is about his music, but almost his entire catalog is one feel good song after another! And he's always smiling. Maybe because he gets to literally play feel good songs all the time. Or maybe it's because he's rich. Probably both.
Maybe the cause of your funk is a bad break-up. Then you need this more than anyone. Tell that ex-boy or girl fuck you, with a sick beat. Anytime you can scream sing a song called, literally, "FUCK YOU", you know you're going to feel better. Sing it about an ex. Sing it about your idiot friend. Go ahead, sing it about your boss who you can't cuss out in person because you really need your job. Do it. But it has to be the real version, can't be the radio edit. "Forget You" just doesn't have the same feel, you know?
If you can listen to this song, and make it longer than 25 seconds before you're clapping along and shaking your ass, then my condolences, because you are REALLY in a funk. "Lend me some sugar, I am your neighbor" belongs in the lyric hall of fame. Now, the key to this song is to not listen too closely to the lyrics, lol. Because yes, some of them aren't ... great? But that hook! That beat! THE POLAROID PICTURE LINE! If you ignore some of the other stuff, this one is guaranteed to make you feel better. You also have to shake your ass while you sing it. It's the law.
Ooooooooh, that's my shit, that's my shit. Hell yeah, this is the shit. Listen loud, stomp along. There was something so fresh about Gwen Stefani when she hit with her first solo album. Yes, she was a bad-ass when she was the front woman for No Doubt. But her sound, her style, her songs were new and fresh and fun! This video has a marching band, for crying out loud. What's not feel good about a marching band?! I miss this Gwen. I would really like if this Gwen came back. But for now, at least we have these songs, which are (you knew it was coming) B-A-N-A-N-A-S.
Sometimes you just need to hear that you're a bad-ass woman and you run the world. Luckily, Beyonce is here to deliver that to you. This is our daughter's feel good anthem, their grab the world by the balls and make it your bitch song. It's like "Eye of the Tiger" but with better clothes, beats, and dancing. It really helps to watch the video, and see all the women in the video killing it like women do. It also helps to watch little girls dance to this song on YouTube. Just like we made up dance routines to Cyndi Lauper songs, our girls will do the same to Beyonce songs.
Who among us hasn't wanted to grab a bat and fuck some shit up? And it will never not blow my mind that the bat's name is Hot Sauce. This is one of those feel good songs that is pure catharsis. Now, I don't recommend smashing windows and cars with a bat. But, what I can recommend (from personal experience): crank this song, grab a bat and some old boxes or dishes, and head to the backyard. Smash. Sing. Dance, of course. Wear protective eye gear. This break-up song won't cure your broken heart, but it will 100% help you unleash some stress and pain.
Or clap. Or dance and clap. Dance and clap and cry. And scream. This is a guttural song, and it'll cure you. I don't even understand this song. I LOVE Florence and the Machine, and this is probably my favorite of their songs. But like, what? Is it about? Exactly. She's running from happiness? Leaving her family behind? I don't even know. First rule of feel good songs: don't try to dissect feel good songs. Just belt out the lyrics so loud that they lose all meaning and you can't even remember why that one line was sad to begin with.
I could do an entire list of Bruno Mars songs, tbh. But, coming in towards the bottom is the perfect song for when you just want to fucking sit on the couch and feel your feels. Let Bruno tell you that's OK. And bop along to his pretty voice while he does. "Today I don't feel like doing anything, I just want to lay in my bed". You know what, Bruno? ME TOO. Because some days are too overwhelming to deal with, and staying in bed is the cure for what ails ya on occasion. This is the slowest of the feel good songs, probably. But it still references masturbation, so.
What is it even about?! WHO KNOWS. It's called "Tubthumping" for fuck's sake, there is not rhyme or reason. But it tells you to drink a whiskey drink, and then a vodka drink, and it samples "Danny Boy", so on the list it goes. Feel good songs don't need to make sense! In fact, sometimes it's better if they don't make sense. Sometimes it's better if you don't know or understand all the lyrics (that brogue is thick). Sometimes it's better to just mumble along through the parts you don't know, and then unleash your inner bad-ass when YOUR PART comes on. You get knocked down, but you get up again. Yeah you do, you incredibly human.
Ummmmmm, best song ever? Orrrrrrrr, best song ever? It's a tough call. This one will get you off your feet and trying to hit that hiiiiiiiiiiiiigh! True story: this song came on when I was driving once, and I got so carried away singing during a red light that a cop pulled up next to me, motioned for me to roll my window down, and asked if I was OK. It was mortifying and hilarious but I'm guessing that once he heard the song coming from the speakers, he understood completely. At least he didn't give me a ticket, right?
Why was he so good? How is someone allowed to be that talented and good looking? It hurts that he's gone, but his music will heal your soul. I promise. This song is the self-confidence boost you need sometimes. Feeling unsure of yourself? George is telling you to have faith. Not sure of your decision, or have some regrets? Listen to George - have faith. Trust yourself, trust your gut, trust your instinct, whatever. And trust me when I tell you that the opening beat of this song will put a smile right on your face. And then you need to dance, that's part of the process.