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Sad, tired, dreary? These songs might help bring out a positive mental attitude

By NICK GARCIA Published Mar 14, 2023 4:30 pm Updated Mar 14, 2023 7:17 pm

It's just the first quarter of 2023, and there may be individuals who are already feeling sad, tired, or dreary.

While January felt like the longest month ever, February made you question your singleness, and March, well, could start to feel sluggish, there are still plenty of reasons not to give up and to keep a positive mental attitude daily. One of the ways to achieve this is through music.

Fortunately, there are lots of songs that aren't only pleasing in terms of melody, but also have motivational lyrics. No matter how difficult life can be, there's always something to look forward to based on these tracks.

Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head – B.J. Thomas

Not only the song is so chillax with its ukulele strumming and trumpet solo, but its lyrics also talk about overcoming life's problems (the metaphorical raindrops) and how Thomas anticipates happiness to eventually "step up" to "greet" him.

Used in the 1969 buddy movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the song rose to prominence anew in Spider-Man 2 (2004), as it's featured in a sequence where Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) puts behind the superhero life (albeit only initially) and enjoys a "normal" life of sauntering in the streets, fixing his bike, excelling in physics class, and eating a hotdog sandwich undisturbed.

Pick Yourself Up – Nat King Cole

Though one inevitably slips and gets sick and tired in life, the jazzy song encourages one to not lose their confidence: "Pick yourself up / Take a deep breath / Dust yourself off / And start all over again."

Former United States president Barack Obama referenced its lyrics in his inauguration speech as he encouraged Americans to "rebuild" their country.

The 1936 song, originally from Jerome Kern, has many versions, including a more upbeat one from Frank Sinatra and a more soulful one from Nat King's daughter Natalie Cole.

Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) – Eurythmics

The New Wave hit from 1983 informs listeners that though there may be some people who want to use and abuse you (and vice versa even), one must hold their head up, keep their head up, and move on.

It also talks about a never-ending search for "something" in the "world and the seven seas" that can fulfill one's "sweet dreams."

The song's meaningful lyrics become realized thanks to Annie Lennox's soothing vocals, synthesizers, piano, and electronic drums.

Lovely Day – Bill Withers

Though there are always challenges ahead—or if something "without warning" bears heavy on the mind—this 1997 song reminds listeners that the world becomes alright thanks to the right person and with "just one look" at them.

The groovy bassline and sweet licks, as well as Withers' sustain and repeated "Lovely day" in the chorus, can make one bop their heads, tap their feet, maybe put on their dancing shoes.

Beautiful – Carole King

The 1971 song has a straightforward message to listeners, addressed in the second person: "You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face / And show the world all the love in your heart."

People, according to King, will then treat you better inasmuch as you're gonna find that you're beautiful, beautiful as you feel.

Her no-frills vocals and piano playing skills make her motivating message even more encouraging.

Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.

The 1992 song assures listeners that though their days may be long and their nights are theirs alone, crying and getting hurt are universal. The shared experience then means that they shouldn't throw their hands.

Though "everybody cries" and "everybody hurts sometimes," these aren't reasons enough to give up on life.

The reminder becomes more powerful with Michael Stipe's baritone, the slow guitar-picking and piano all throughout, and the eventual distorted riffs midway.

Rainbow – South Border

The classic 2004 OPM song has a simple but striking reminder to everybody: There's a rainbow always after the rain.

That no matter what happens, life goes on and on. That even if there is pain now, everything will be alright. That this world's wonderful, and everybody should celebrate life that's so beautiful.

These things are absorbed better thanks to the mellifluous voices of Jay Durias, Vince Alaras, and Duncan Ramos.

Nakauwi Na – Ang Bandang Shirley

This 2018 OPM song espouses that as long as you can spend time with a loved one, even if only for a while, you'll always feel at home. (As the expression goes, home is where the heart is.)

One's intention of being of service to a beloved is motivation enough to keep going on in life, hence there's no reason to get sad or cry or feel the world's too slow and heavy.

The unassuming chord progression and drum beat, as well as the mellow vocals, make the song itself so homey.

One More Time – Daft Punk

The 2000 house staple is such an earworm with its synthesizers, drum machine, and intentionally heavy autotune.

In terms of lyrics, it's fairly straightforward: music is so liberating and festive that one ought to dance to it with gusto.

As the song goes, "One more time, we're gonna celebrate / Oh yeah, alright, don't stop the dancing" and "Music's got me feeling so free / We're gonna celebrate / Celebrate and dance so free."

It's as if life is good as long as music exists (and yes, it's everlasting).

Permission to Dance – BTS

This 2021 song from the world's biggest K-pop act doesn't only serve its loyal fans (the ARMY) but also the average listener, as it reminds everybody that the fire can be kept alive.

For BTS, it's through the act of dancing—sans the permission to do so—that will allow anyone to manage whatever problems they have.

The upbeat track's music video is also filled with much optimism and hope, as it features masked-up employees returning to work after being locked up at home for so long due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, we don't need to worry 'cause when we fall, we know how to land.

Best Day of my Life – American Authors

The 2014 song can be the perfect note to self whenever one is about to start their day: "This is gonna be the best day of my life."

It also informs everybody of all the possibilities, "no limits, just epiphanies," as well as how one's "never gonna look back" and "never gonna give it up" as they go on with their respective days.

The "Wooh-ooh-wooh" and stuttered "li-i-i-i-ife" throughout also serve as a battlecry or cheer of sorts. Aside from the forward-looking lyrics, its banjo, mandolin, and bass drums are so festive and energetic.

For more similar songs, check out PhilSTAR L!fe's "March On!" playlist on Spotify.