Writers’ Beat — Songs to Cheer You Up with Vampire Weekend, Florence + The Machine, and more

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For this week's Writers' Beat, we're talking about songs that get us out of a grumpy mood. Whether you prefer some mellow, moody vocals to ease you out of your slump or something a little more upbeat, crank up the volume, and start jammin'.

Andrea Williams: Matt Simons's "Catch & Release - Deepend Remix" 

My go-to song that will never fail the put a smile on my face is "Catch & Release" by Matt Simons. As of right now, there are multiple different versions of this song, but my favorite remix is the Deepend remix. As soon as you put the song on you start to hear the soothing guitar and soon after, a consistent beat that is played throughout the song. While the musicality in "Catch & Release" is something that completes it, it’s not the reason why I put this on when I’m feeling down. The reason this is my go-to is because of the lyrics. My favorite lyric in the song is the first part of the pre-chorus. In this, he sings “We’re just catching and releasing / what builds up throughout the day.” This simple lyric reminds me to always release anything negative that has happened throughout the day and every time I do it instantly makes me feel better.

Lily Doolin: The Beatles' "Hey Jude"

The one song that never fails to cheer me up is "Hey Jude" by The Beatles. For me, it's the ultimate happy sad song. Whenever I hear the line "take a sad song and make it better," I know that there's a way to transform whatever negative feelings I'm going through into positive vibes. Since I always pull up this song when I'm feeling down, I know that when it's over, I'll always feel a lot better; it's like a reset button for me. The song starts off mellow, but by the end of it, I've dried my tears and I'm singing along with the "nah nah nah's." My sadness totally transforms into bad Beatles' karaoke just like that.

Kenneth Cox: Vampire Weekend's "Cousins"

Out of the many peppy and off-kilter songs within Vampire Weekend’s discography, “Cousins” is maybe the most so. The New York City band started in 2008, is one of the most famous names in indie rock. From the jittery opening guitar riff of the song to the wonky, speeding beat of the song, “Cousins” is a song that is an absolute burst of energy unlike any other. The song is audacious, loud, brash, and has an utterly infectious groove to it. No matter what mood I’m in, hitting play on “Cousins” instantly makes me want to jump around, shout along to the lyrics, and dance like nobody's watching.

Owen Murray: Sonic Youth's "Teen Age Riot"

I am convinced that "Teenage Riot" by Sonic Youth is the best song ever to run to. No matter how I'm feeling before it starts, I can count on the layered, distorted guitars and driving drums to cheer me up.  The song’s rebellious lyrics about “A teenaged riot in a public station” are rousing and inspiring, especially in moments when I’m feeling down. It may not be a happy song per se, but running along to "Teenage Riot" is such a thrill, it never fails to uplift my mood.

Rodin Batcheller: Electric Light Orchestra's "Mr. Blue Sky"

Whenever I'm feeling down in the dumps about whatever is going on in my life, I like to listen to music as I'm sure most of us do. There are a few songs that lift my spirits and help me through tough times, but the one song that never fails to cheer me up is "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra, a 70s English rock band. From the jumpy piano at the beginning of the song to the lighthearted guitar solo, "Mr. Blue Sky" is always there to pick me up when I'm down. The song is just so darn happy and upbeat it's hard not to feel good and sing along with the playful harmonies.

Tiffany Carbon: Florence + The Machine's "Shake It Out"

Whenever I want to get rid of a pesky bad mood I listen to “Shake It Out” by Florence + The Machine. Florence Welch, the band's frontrunner, is a British indie-rock singer who got started in 2006. It was the first song I ever heard by the band and I’ve been in love with it since. If I’m feeling unhappy, anxious, or unmotivated I turn the song on and leave it on repeat until I feel better. I love Florence’s voice on it and the way she almost cries and wails at her mistakes. Yet, she recognizes the need to move on from her problems and grow from them which encourages and inspires me. She screams “shake it out, shake it out!” over and over and the more I listen, the more it lifts my spirit. It might sound cheesy, but “Shake It Out” reminds me to take life slowly and that I can’t prevent unfortunate events, but I can find methods to healthily deal with them. Listening to this song has always made me cry, reflect, and dance which makes it the perfect remedy to fix any personal gloom.

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