A handy reference guide of go-to music to service your mood:
Mood One – In desperate need of an anthem:
Maybe you have crossed that threshold where sad music no longer gives you comfort, but makes you said. Maybe you listened to an illegal amount of Radiohead in the 90’s (and the 2000’s). When the sad songs and the news and the self-help books just cross each other out in a wall of static, it’s time to break out an anthem. If any of this rings a bell, best to keep a roster of them handy*:
Bruce Springsteen: Thunder Road
(It’s ok to be older, nostalgic and sad. In fact in the right lyrics it’s downright epic. See also, The Killers)
The Killers: When You Were Young, Smile Like You Mean It, All These Things I’ve Done, and about three quarters of this band’s catalogue has been proven to bring souls back from the brink of destruction. Without the side effects of anti-depressants.
“And sometimes you close your eyes and see the place where you used to live. When You Were Young” (Cleansing musical crescendo follows…and repeat)
“Dreams aren’t what they used to be….” Smile Like You Mean It.
“I wanna hold on, I wanna let go, you know you know, no you don’t, you don’t.” All These Things I’ve Done
Manic Street Preachers: Motorcycle Emptiness : Until you read the lyrics you will never understand the precisely British musical art form of robust, anthemic, angry anthems sung with a wry smile. Literary and overstuffed goodness for the overthinker.
Mood Two – (On the opposite end of the spectrum from Anthems…) Want to chill/mellow out / meditate but don’t smoke weed? And are not good at relaxing? Add Van Morrison for instant results.
And It Stoned Me (leads to poetic levels of inspiration, a wholly original and special song about a perfectly realized childhood memory of getting caught in a freak rainstorm with his brother, musings about water.)
Into The Mystic
Sweet Thing (you will finally understand the sonic beauty potential in, of all things, the flute. You will walk in gardens all misty wet, all misty wet with rain, happily, all by yourself for once) How could I forget for a couple of decades how perfect Van Morrison is?
Mood Three – Add a Cinematic Soundtrack to Your Ordinary Apartment, or Your Subway Ride
Many, many songs can meet this standard, as you have no doubt realized in critical moments of dreary subway rides. Here are a few more:
The National: About Today: How did a devoted, obsessive National fan miss this one? Because the universe wanted it to act as an emotional sledgehammer and one in a hundred moment of sublime film connection used to perfection at the end of the film “Warrior”. (See this film). Also has a stunning rhythm, energy, and strangeness that will work without the film reference, transforming that salad you are making into actorly business worthy of seven figures.
Lykke Li: Possibility: Very sad, endlessly appealing and beautiful, from one of the Twilight films but who cares about that? Ambient sounds make it otherworldly.
* The Killers just announced new album and single “Runaways” is what inspired this list. I thought, God I need a new anthem today.