sometimes we all find life crushingly depressing, whether from work or personal problems or whatever, and that’s typically where all the heavy drinking comes in. the problem, however, comes in when you’re on the way to work and CAN’T drink… and that’s when i, personally, turn to some music to lift my spirits a little. the things is, though, not every good tune is entirely appropriate when you’re feeling blue; i love “Gimme Shelter,” but it sure as shit isn’t going to make me feel better in my bleakest moments. so it’s then that i have to fall back on a list of old reliable songs. why, one could almost make a listicle of them!
JANKLOW’S LIST OF 13 SONGS THAT ALWAYS MANAGE TO CHEER HIM UP (AT LEAST SLIGHTLY)
there is absolutely no way this ends well
13. the Bangles – “Manic Monday”
to be honest, i’m not sure i would have put this song on the list a short time ago, but then that incident happened last week and it just reminds me that i’m never going to be able to claim this song DOESN’T cheer me up somewhat (despite my mild disdain for the whorish narrator of the song). and yet, one week later, it’s still terribly shameful for me to admit this fact. i have no defense, whatever, i’m weird, and here it sits at the bottom of the list. let’s move on.
12. Rockwell – “Somebody’s Watching Me”
i have a bad feeling that this song is going to get ruined for me by all those omnipresent Geico commercials; still, while it lasts, i can manage to wring a massive amount of joy from the ridiculous singing/speaking/British accent mixture that’s going on here. and on a side note, i’m pretty sure this isn’t going to be the last time that one of our ongoing song obsessions appears on this list. but that’s just how we roll here at the house of hate!
11. Europe – “the Final Countdown”
see, that’s what i’m talking about! this site is so fucking redundant! eh, whatever, i’ve heard this song bashed as one of the worst songs ever, and all i can say in its defense is “oh yeah? well, whoever thinks that is the worst PERSON ever! and they have poor taste in music!” add some better insults in there as you see fit, because frankly, at this point, it’s a little childish. the synthesizers are excellent and they always brighten up my mood.
10. Falco – “Rock Me Amadeus”
okay, what’s not to like here? ridiculous Austrian lyrics that i cannot possibly understand? the weird breakdown later in the song where some lady is singing for reasons that cannot possibly be relevant to the song at hand? the fact that sometimes the radio plays me a version of this song where there’s a listing of historical events that includes the creation of this song? the fact that it ties into that “Planet Of The Apes” musical song “Dr. Xaius?” it’s a good package.
“introducing the greatest band in the world… Morris Day and the motherfucking Time!”
09. the Pharcyde – “Officer”
in the world of hip=hop, the Pharcyde is always going to be this promising California group that made one excellent debut album (Bizarre Ride II The Pharcyde)… and then sputtered out. i mean, their subsequent releases were okay, but praising them requires a bit of justification. anyway, back to the point: the vast majority of that debut album is goofy, cheerful stuff, and “Officer,” a ridiculous tale of the group’s members driving a terrible car and getting arrested, always makes me laugh.
08. Sepultura – “Ratamahatta”
now, i’ve always preferred Roots to the rest of Sepultura’s catalog; the metal heads may tell you that Arise or Chaos A.D. are better (and i’ll never dispute that “Refuse/Resist” starting with a combination of a child’s heartbeat and the declaration to “fuck shit up” isn’t the best way to start a song OR album), but they’re wrong and i’m right – Roots is the best. the whole album has crazy Brazilian percussion going on, and to top them all, this song brings the vocal work of Carlinhos Brown to the table; i think i once described him as Brazil’s greatest natural resource. and Carlinhos and Cavalera together can cheer up anyone!
07. the Time – “Jungle Love”
now, admittedly, this is a) a little interchangeable, in that the Time have an assortment of ridiculous songs that might all qualify as far as the ability to make me cheer up, and b) probably mostly about Morris Day’s individual craziness (“Jerome, bring me my mirror,” indeed). still, this song deserves to make this list, even if it lacks the video that, say, “Jerk Out” has. but like the man said, we can’t always make a stuffed buffalo head dance. wait… what man said that?
06. De La Soul – “the Art Of Getting Jumped”
if i tell you that this is a hip-hop song with that title, you probably jumped to the conclusion that it’s some thug posturing about beating people up… and you’d be mistaken, because it’s a loving ode to getting your ass whipped, sometimes without reason or legitimate cause. maybe it’s the ridiculous “jump, jump, jump” chorus, maybe it’s the self-deprecating lyrics (“just for holding it down on the mic/you could be talking “black people unite”/and still catch a lump”), who knows? it’s always good when i’m feeling down, though.
“i want to sing a little song that kept me going when i had troubles… we were at the beach/everybody had matching towels/somebody went under a dock/and there they saw a rock/but it wasn’t a rock…”
05. Warren Zevon – “Werewolves Of London”
this is somewhat cheating in that Zevon’s got a handful of equally crazy songs (“Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” and “Excitable Boy” spring immediately to mind), and actually, it’s entirely possible his entire discography is composed of gleefully insane songs of their ilk. but “Werewolves” is always going to top them because of its distinctive crazy piano work and its ridiculous “a-hooo” shouts. plus, who doesn’t love werewolves? except for Kid Rock, who obviously loves them too much. fuck THAT guy.
04. Pink Floyd – “Eclipse”
the other day i was explaining to someone who was concerned about trying hallucinogenic drugs that if he INSISTED on taking said drugs but wanted to be sure nothing he would go wrong, he should just make sure he’s listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon. and while drugs are bad, mmmkay, i stand by this fact: i have never heard anyone ever say that something bad happened to them while that album was playing. not once, not ever. “Eclipse” just happens to be the most triumphant of the songs on that album.
03. William De Vaughn – “Be Thankful For What You Got”
so there was this Washington DC area guy named William De Vaughn who made this one really, really great song (“Be Thankful For What You Got”), made an album or two of similar stuff and apparently liked to preach to his audiences (he was a Jehovah’s Witness and, well, you know how they operate), and then… that was it, he got bored with the whole recording industry and just gave it up (although i think he released a minor single in the 2000s and ruined where i’m going with this, so just ignore that). and that seems to gibe with this song. it always dulls the pain.
02. the B-52s – “Rock Lobster”
there’s this episode of Family Guy where Peter’s about to console Cleveland after Cleveland’s wife has left him, and he attempts to cheer him up with a song… which turns out to be an acoustic version of “Rock Lobster.” now this is hilarious because it’s completely random and all, but more to the point, it makes me think “wow, an acoustic version of “Rock Lobster” would absolutely cheer ME up after a sad divorce!” and i think we all know my passion for “Rock Lobster” is long established.
and now, with the polar opposite of the “if there’s hell below, we’re all gonna go” concept…
01. Curtis Mayfield – “Move On Up”
nothing can top this one; i’ve described this as the most cheerful song ever written, and it really, truly is. i don’t know if it’s the horns or the lyrics or what; all i know is that a) it always makes me smile, even on my worst days, and b) i’d better be sure not to overuse the restorative powers of Mayfield’s work, lest i ruin them. even Kanye West’s “Touch The Sky” achieves almost the same degree of elation thanks to its liberal sampling of the aforementioned “Move On Up.” good times.
and speaking of music making everything better… well, let me just link to this combination of Nine Inch Nails’ “Just Like You Imagined” (which is just an excellent, excellent song) and the trailer for the upcoming “Where The Wild Things Are”:
seriously, “Just Like You Imagined” makes EVERYTHING better (though it probably hasn’t convinced me to go see that film). i’m going to start syncing it up to things as we speak!