This time of year can be rough. Sometimes you’re in a crappy mood. You had a horrible, miserable, no-good day, and nothing seems to be going right. Or the relentless cheeriness around you simply pisses you off. If you want to wallow in that feeling, then, by all means, don’t let me stop you. Go ahead and crank up the Smiths and have a fulfilling wallow. But if you’d like to shake the mood, here’s a smile playlist that might just do the trick. Some of these address your feelings, while others songs I’ve included because, well, I just can’t listen to them without smiling, and I thought that they might do the same for you.
1. “The Middle,” by Jimmy Eat World
The video is not completely safe for work, and if you show the video to the kiddos, there’s bound to be some explaining to do, but the song itself works quite well in the motivational category.
2. “Perfect,” by P!nk
I’m not an expert or anything, but I did watch MTV back when they actually had music videos, so I’m sure that counts for something, right? And I’d say that based on that expertise, this video is well done, and complements the song well. It tells a story and is kinda moving, too. Shed a couple tears, but end up feeling a little better. It’s a good start to lifting a bad mood.
3. “Roar,” by Katy Perry
The song is catchy if you haven’t already gotten sick of it. And if you want to just focus on the words, it’s got a nice motivational message. The video is pretty creative, too.
4. “Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift
Look, you can diss my list all you want, say it’s overly poppy and devoid of depth or whatever. I don’t care. Because I know that haters are going to hate, hate, hate. And if I forget, my girl Taylor will remind me to just shake it off.
5. “Unwritten,” by Natasha Bedingfield
I’m pretty sure I drove my classmates crazy on the final day of school at my MFA program, because I kept playing this song over and over, every chance I got. The fact that it was a beautiful May day, and that it rained briefly, made me convinced this song had been written just for me. And when I’m questioning whether I have what it takes to be a writer, it’s my go-to song. Anyhow, I just discovered that this song has two videos (I’d never actually seen them before prepping for this post), but being a literary geek, I much prefer this one.
6. “How Far I’ll Go,” by Alessia Cara (“Moana” Soundtrack)
This falls in the motivational category, and there are doubtless other movie songs that fall under this category, but I’m sticking with this one. See, now that you’ve moved beyond the despair, and you can brush off your doubts, it’s time to remember your potential.
7. “Break my Stride,” by Matthew Wilder
I’ll admit, I’d never seen this video before, which I must say makes me love it even more. No, since I was a kid, this was one of those songs that always managed to cheered me up when it came on the radio. That’s right. You know how far you can go, and you won’t let anything break your stride as you pursue your dream.
8. “I’m Yours,” by Jason Mraz
It’s just cheery and lovely and made me feel good when parenting a couple little ones stressed me out. And it still makes me smile. Let it remind you of the people in your life or something like that. Yeah, there’s a perfectly reasonable psychological case for including this case beyond just the fact that I like it.
9. “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Is there a more iconic, more beautiful ukulele song out there? I can’t believe that there is. And it is just delightful and warms me to hear it. I hope it does the same for you.
10. “On Top of the World,” by Imagine Dragons
The peppy beat is uplifting, and if you’ve managed to work your way out of a funk, this could help keep it that way.
11. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” by Bobby McFerrin
Be warned: both the song and the silly video have joined forces to drive away any grumpiness.
12. “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” by Justin Timberlake
It’s true. I hear this song, and I can’t (stop the feeling). Usually, I can’t help dancing, either. Come on, you know you want to. Look, I’m sure there are studies out there that prove the endorphin releases during dancing help boost your mood or something like that. So give it a try. Let the rhythm move you.
Songs to Make You Smile
One final note. Please remember that by offering this list, I am by no means trying to suggest, if your troubles are more serious than just a bad mood, that I think a song is going to fix you right up. But if you find that music can transport you, then when your mood needs a lift, let these songs take you for a ride.
Now, if you have any suggestions of songs that belong on this list, please share. I’m always happy to expand my GeekMom Smile Playlist. And incidentally, if you’re on Spotify, I’ve created this playlist (minus P!nk’s song, since that’s not available), so look it up and have a listen.