Cheer up …

A tweet yesterday asking for mood-improving music made me think about the subtle differences between things that can make you feel better and things that can make you feel worse. Everybody is different, so what works for me might not work for you, but broadly these are the things that really help if you’re feeling a bit Mondayish.

MUSIC

I generally look for “someone who’s more unhappy than I am”, but Liz’s link to Swans made me feel about a billion times worse. That’s probably why I never really got into them, even though I think the music is good.

The trick is for there to be an “up” in the “down”. The reason why tracks like NIN’s Hurt are so popular is because they end on a note of optimism – yes, life sucks, but we’ll get through it. I love Pink Floyd, but that’s because after enough guitar solos you’ve forgotten whatever it was you were upset about in the first place. I basically love music that jumps right down into the hole with you and then pulls you up by the heartstrings.

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I used to listen to Nick Cave a lot because “he’s someone more miserable than I am”, but really the appeal is that there’s an element of parody to what he does. Take a song like (my favourite) Weeping Song. For a song about crying, they actually look extremely bloody cheerful. He’s so completely enjoying himself there that you can’t help but smile.

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Yes, The Cure work too, for exactly the same reasons. Even better was The Mary Whitehouse Experience‘s take on Robert Smith.

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