We don’t need to juxtapose our various calamities, and collectively decide who among us are “allowed” to be stressed and anxious; the truth is, we’re all stressed out about something. According to this infographic on Stress.org, 44% of Americans feel more stressed than they did five years ago — which, in addition to personal developments and concerns, may have something to with the fact that the rent is too damn high. Or, that wages are flatlining. Or, that retirement might actually be out of the picture. OR, of course, that the Facebook status of the homemade guacamole only got four likes.
There are two ways to deal with stress; you could blame the world for your problems and refuse to grow as a person (this can be very fun), or you can do as best you can to make the best out of each and every day (not always fun, but probably “better”.) The latter is of course much easier said than done, but successfully utilizing coping mechanisms can go a long way. With that, here are ten songs that I’ve found to be quite effective when it comes to maintaining a reasonable heart rate:
1. Little Secrets – Passion Pit
Passion Pit captures a range of emotion in their song; upbeat enough to create a sense of prolonged momentum, while also providing enough depth for that momentum to land closer to the core. In this case, the “little secret” — that which only we harbor — is channeled into something positive.
2. Airplanes – B.o.B. ft. Hayley Williams
Sadder songs, while theoretically depressing, often trigger the opposite reaction — according to a study conducted last year by Japanese scientists, sad music can actually alleviate negative emotions. Hence, the fifteen year-old (and, let’s be honest, the 24 year-old) version of me being enamored with Jimmy Eat World’s entire discography.
3. America’s Suitehearts (Mark Hoppus Remix)
The video for the original version of this song is fascinating, and, as per trusty old source Wikipedia, “involves various people being drastically changed by the media and paparazzi, which is what the song is said to be about.” The song came out in 2008, and I think in 2014 you can make the argument that at least conceptually, we’ve all been altered in some similar thread by the advent of social media, and the various pressures and realities that have become ensconced within the medium.
Mark Hoppus (the bassist from Blink-182) remixed this song, and the end result is rather pleasant.
4. Mr. Brightside – The Killers
This song is technically about a particularly painful heartbreak, but maintains a sort of survivors anthem tone that pop culture at large has long since immortalized. If there was any doubt about the legacy of this song, Mr. Brightside made it all the way to the final four of Grantland’s Best Songs Of The Millennium Bracket — beating out Yeah! and cementing themselves as the bracket’s beloved Cinderella.
5. Into The Ocean – Blue October
Blue October’s most famous song is Hate Me, which leads off with a voicemail from a very concerned mother, is ultimately about a guy coping with a messy end of relationship, marred by depression and alcoholism. Into The Ocean is a little more uptempo, yet contrasted lyrically with darker themes
6. Fire & Rain – James Taylor
In my mind, James Taylor’s greatest moment will forever be opening for George Simmons at the MySpace party. But you can’t have a list like this and not include James Taylor; the man is the musical conclusion of this motif.
7. Disparate Youth – Santigold
One of my favorite parts of the day is what I dub “the turnover” — when work is done and the night begins, and you see people who spend all day being uptight and answering emails venturing into bars, or going to comedy clubs and laughing at jokes that they’d get shamed on the internet for laughing at. There’s a collective release of tension that goes on, and it’s undeniably invigorating. For whatever reason, I’ve always found this song to perfectly reflect that moment.
8. Someday – Sugar Ray
Someday has always had a last day of school sense about it; the visual that there is some sort of life chapter ending, prompting Sugar Ray to admit that “you were always there for me” as some sort of yearbook signing-esque love confessional. It’s nostalgic, but forwardly idealistic.
9. Alive With The Glory Of Love – Say Anything
There is something incredible that happens when a song perfectly captures a moment in a movie or TV show; we intrinsically associate songs with moments, and Alive With The Glory Of Love does wonders during the Season 6 Finale of Scrubs.
10. One – Original Mix – Swedish House Mafia
Sometimes, you just gotta lock in, block out, and get things done. There is a sense of urgency in this song; the type that’s perfect for a basketball warm-up CD, or some Tony Soprano-like task. Hopefully, you’re just going for the former.