Bad days – we all have them. From grumpy or sad moods to paralyzing anxiety attacks and nerves over medical procedures or big tests in school, humans are bound to feel “off” sometimes. While some people lean on movies or video games or books, I personally often lean on music during hard times. Of all of the methods that I’ve tried to escape from everyday life, music has saved me every time. I find that I form deep emotional connections with songs that I put on repeat through my headphones during particularly hard times, and that re-listening to them during better times has the ability to conjure up old emotions. The songs that support me through the rougher periods of life become friends of sorts to me – living, breathing, evolving beings with their own emotions and personalities. Coming up with a mere top nine list (let’s be real, top ten is so cliche) of songs that have supported me through life’s dark patches honestly feels like trying to keep a tight leash on about fifty eager puppies, but here goes.
- I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab For CutieMy emo friends will know this one for sure. The entire Plans album features a quiet, contemplative atmosphere that wraps you up like a warm, sad blanket. For those moments that I want to take a moment and wallow, this particular song always does the trick.
- Holy – Pvris The strong beat featured in the intro to this song off of Pvris’ debut album grabbed me the first time I heard it. If I need a distraction and a heavy bassline to lose myself in, with angry tones to boot, this is my go-to song. Holy holds a key place in my heart, as the song that came into my life and kept me sane and grounded throughout most of my thirty-six day hospital stay over the summer of 2017. I hope to thank this band for all that they don’t know they’ve done for me.
- Afterlife – Ingrid MichaelsonNotalgic vibes accompanied by a throbbing beat is the best way to describe this tune. I’ve depended on Ingrid’s music probably more than that of anyone else through the years, so to only include two of her songs in this list shows significant self-restraint (not to brag or anything). This satisfies my need for a beat to get lost in and for lyrics that give hope for better days ahead.
- Somebody Loves you – Betty Who The best way to introduce this is probably to link to this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l4HpWQmEXrM , which has brought a smile to my face many times in the days before knee surgeries. If you need a smile, this is a solid, pop-ey, upbeat go-to. Betty Who promises a dance party at every performance, and this entire album does not disappoint.
- Heavy – Linkin ParkFor Linkin Park fans, this album holds incredible meaning, as the last public gift that lead singer Chester Bennington gave to this world shortly before his death. To me, the song conveys a desperation for hope unlike anything else that I have ever heard. Bennington describes the difficulty involved in letting go of one’s personal demons with rich harmonies and a soaring chorus, and certainly helped me feel a little less alone in dealing with the skeletons hiding in my own proverbial closet.
- Waiting For The End – Linkin ParkFollowing along in my desire for music with a strong beat that I can lose myself in, we have what could very possibly be one of my all time favourite tunes. Good times and bad, this song always delivers on pumping me up for whatever I need to face. If auditory courage exists, you can find it in this song. The complex layers as the song builds provide plenty to focus in on and separate yourself from the outside world, making this a key tool in my bad day arsenal.
- Shake It Out – Florence And The MachineHas Florence Welch ever failed to deliver musically? This song has returned to my regular bus tunes rotation lately and I couldn’t be more pleased. With her strong, sweet voice encouraging me to shake off my inner demons, I find courage and hope every time.
- Queen of Peace – Florence And The MachineThis is honestly just a beautiful song that I will always love. I encourage you to watch the music video here, as I don’t think I can do it justice on a mere nineteen-year-old’s blog post. Sometimes, you simply feel sad and want to remind yourself of the beauty that exists in this world.
- Ghosts – Mike ShinodaFirst and foremost, major kudos to Mike for getting back into the music game after the massive loss that he has suffered. For those who don’t follow the alternative rock group Linkin Park, long suffering lead singer and cofounder Chester Bennington passed away due to suicide last year. Cofounder and rapper of the group, Mike Shinoda, has recently released his debut solo album, addressing his grief and guilt in moving on. While I honestly love the entire significance of the album and cannot definitively choose a single that stands out to me, Ghosts seems to best represent the themes as a whole. I highly encourage you to head over to iTunes and support this man in his journey moving forward.
As Christoper Zara said, great art comes from great pain. While not all, many of the artists listed here communicate their near indescribable suffering, and from that, comes the beauty of connection to people around the globe. Through their music, these people have brought hope and joy to many, myself included. Some day I’d like to thank them for their vulnerability.