Recently, a friend of mine went through a breakup. When I asked how I could help, they asked for song suggestions. This is my ideal way of helping someone, so I followed up with a question: Sad breakup songs or feisty breakup songs?
I wasn’t about to recommend something angsty like “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson if they were in more of a subdued “You Were Meant For Me” by Jewel state of mind. The details matter.
There’s an art to matching mood and song. And it’s an art I admire, respect and strive to perfect. It’s not about listening to a song to alter your mood, but listening to a song that, and pardon me for how this sounds, understands what you’re feeling. Like when another friend of mine got phone calls from friends in a span of 5 minutes and joked that she wanted people to leave her alone, I started playing a song called “Leave Me Alone.” This got me thinking. We’ve all heard suggestions for breakup songs and wedding songs, but what about all the other moods?
I have my own weird list of songs I play when I’m feeling different things, whether I’m feeling excited about Friday or feeling like I need to zone out. Here are some of my song recommendations for random occasions:
For when you can’t wait to see someone next: “Hangover Cure” by Machine Gun Kelly. It’s not only insanely catchy, but this angsty song captures the desperation of just meeting someone you really like and want to see again right away.
For when you need a good cry: “Cabinet Door” by Anderson East. He beautifully sings, “I don’t know if I can let you go.” And I dare you not to cry.
For when you’re smiling: “Feels Good” by Julia Nunes. This singer- songwriter just lists things that makes her feel good and tells listeners, “If it feels good, do it.” It’s that simple.
For when you’re happy and sad: “Happy and Sad” by Kacey Musgraves. She gets it. She gets that feeling of not quite knowing how you’re feeling.
For when you’re kitchen dancing: “Where Does The Good Go” by Tegan and Sara. It’s a jam that anyone can dance to.
For a good car jam: “Bedroom” by Litany. It’s a jam that anyone can car dance to.
For when you’re getting dressed: “Look” by Leikeli7. You want to feel good while you’re getting ready? Put this on.
For when you have a friend crush: “Peach Scones” by Hobo Johnson. Ah, the agony of liking your friend and trying not to tell them. Johnson nails the confusion of that.
For when you need a pick-me-up: “Shine” by LOLO. She just tells us that we shine like the brightest stars. That has to make us feel better.
For when you’re nervous: “Details in the Fabric” by Jason Mraz. “Calm down. Deep breaths. Get yourself dressed.” Sometimes that’s what you need to hear.
For when you need to overcome your nerves: “Rollercoasters” by Tank and the Bangas. This band reminds us why we like nerves and the reward of overcoming them.
For when you need to remember everything’s fine: “Jah Werx” by Susto. It’s just one of those songs that eases my mind.
For when you’re trying to heal: “Healing” by Fletcher. This pop star has slowed things down to write a song about her process with healing and not being there yet.
For when you’re finally healed from something: “Clean” by Taylor Swift. This is a deep cut for those who might not be die-hard Swifties. It’s about getting out on the other side.
For when you’re waiting for Friday: “Friday I’m In Love” by Phoebe Bridgers (The Cure cover). Obviously, we all love the best day of the week.
For when it’s Friday: “Love on the Weekend” by John Mayer. And we love the feeling of the feeling weekend.