There’s a gentle comfort in hearing an artist sing about the types of struggles you can relate to. Such a song helps you feel less alone. But perhaps even more powerful is coming across a song that celebrates suffering through intense emotional pain and eventually feeling okay again. Holy crap, you think, if she can do it, why can’t I?
At least, that’s the jist of what I said to myself when I first heard Grace Vanderwaal’s “Clearly,” which is on this list. In an attempt to pick myself up and comfort my friends on our gloomy days, I’ve gathered up some songs that not only speak to emotional struggle, but celebrate strength, recovery, and holding on. Check them out, hum or scream along to them, and if you like what you see, peruse the full playlist on Spotify.
If I ever feel better - Phoenix
Don’t let the title fool you—this upbeat piece speaks of optimism, supportive friendship, and the power of recovering from defeat.
Clearly - Grace Vanderwaal
I’m convinced that this song was written for me. “Clearly” is a powerful anthem that tells the story of a girl who once hid herself away in her room but eventually overcame her struggles and accepted “the things that [she] cannot change.” If there’s one song from this list that you must listen to, it’s this one.
In My Blood - Shawn Mendes
Mendes said in an interview that “In My Blood” is a testimony to his struggles with anxiety, which have only recently begun to take a serious toll on his wellbeing. The song speaks to Mendes’ temptation to just give up, contrasted with his perseverance and eagerness to move on.
Glass Heart - Magic Giant
If we’re being honest, nearly every song on Magic Giant’s album is wholesome and uplifting. The song begins with a message of hope: “Hey, don't wash those tears away/ Keep 'em in a safe/ They're the last you'll ever make.”
This Year - The Mountain Goats
This song’s chorus is basically how we’re all feeling in 2018: “I am going to make it through this year/ if it kills me.”
Rainbow - Kesha
Kesha has come a long way since her “Tik Tok” days. Most of us are familiar with the uphill battle she fought last year in reference to her producer and sexual abuser, Dr. Luke. “Rainbow” beautifully illustrates Kesha’s ability to push past the darkness to find color and light.
Found/Tonight - Ben Platt and Lin-Manuel Miranda
“Found/Tonight” is a mash-up of two songs from the hit Broadway musicals Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen. The piece was created to generate proceeds for the March For Our Lives Initiative, but the lyrics apply to a wide range of struggles, like loneliness and mental illness.
Do you have a go-to song that you listen to when you need a bit of hope? Share it below.