As I’m sure all my fellow mental illness sufferers do, I like music that really packs a punch. Sometimes it’s inspirational and oftentimes it’s super sad (sometimes cliche, but whatevs, I’LL FIGHT YOU), making me get all like “Ouch… I totes felt that.” Our bacon is full of emotions, so it’s healthy to allow ourselves that range of feels.
There are 22 songs in particular that I’ve found myself listening to over and over that really moved me and my bacon this summer. Some are oldies but goodies, some are relatively new, and some are just new to me but have been around for a while (don’t judge).
1. Hero by Cash Cash, Featuring Christina Perri
As a single woman who only really began to heal after ending a very unhealthy relationship, this song is so powerful for me. I’ve always been plagued by toxic attachments. This song elicits so many inspired and tingly emotions, it’s not even funny.
You can be your own hero. Empowering concept, isn’t it?
2. The Sun Will Rise by Kelly Clarkson, Featuring Kara DioGuardi
This one’s a goodie for whenever I’m having one of my (many) mental breakdowns and feel like I’m hitting a brick wall. An emotional reminder that the storm will pass. (Cheesy, I know, but it’s a crazy-good song, in my opinion.)
3. Braille by Regina Spektor
In addition to be lyrically BRILLIANT, the melody of this song is just so damn beautiful, I can’t even. It’s all about life in depressing circumstances, wanting to start over, and the stories impressed on our bodies as time passes. (Or maybe I’m completely misinterpreting it, but I DON’T CARE, KAREN.)
4. Love Me Anyway by Pink, Featuring Chris Stapleton
I get so many different emotions listening to this one. From her latest album, Hurts 2B Human, in this song, Pink asks her guy if he could love her in spite of all her flaws, even when she criticizes him or flirts with other guys. I’ve always been quite critical in my past relationships, so the idea of someone loving me in spite of all that seems too good to be true. So I really relate to this song, and it’s what I’d like in a relationship someday, but I also feel like it just does not exist.
Depressing, but also hopeful…?
5. Dark Side by Kelly Clarkson
Along similar lines, Kelly sings about her “dark side,” and asks the guy if he could love her in spite of it. But what I really take from it is the fact that we all have a dark side (have you met Lucille?). Even bacon has some burned edges, but it’s still AWESOME. It comes in various shades and is comin’ with us wherever we go, so helloooo, world!
6. Happy by Pink
Pink, HOW YOU GET IN MY HEAD SO GOOD???? This song covers therapy, low self-esteem, and the way we self-sabotage ourselves because we’re scared to be happy.
So. Damn. Accurate.
7. I Believe by Christina Perri
Such an emotionally uplifting song. If you’re lacking faith in yourself, Christina believes in you. There is always someone out there who has been through a similar experience and believes you can make it through to the other side.
I always envision myself singing these lyrics to my younger sisters. *Sniff* Hand me a tissue, Karen…
8. Pieces by Rob Thomas
Whenever I feel like I’ve hit my breaking point, Rob Thomas’s lyrics in this particular song are like the universe kindly saying, “I warned you that you were pushing yourself too hard, but it’s okay, I’m here for you, and we’ve got each other. Let me comfort you.”
Hold onto me, Rob Thomas! HUG ME, DAMMIT!
9. Courage by Pink
Where mental illness is concerned, change can be the hardest thing ever. Whether it’s finally deciding to go to therapy, letting go of the past, or simply learning to love and accept our bacon, change takes a helluva lot of courage. Pink’s “Courage” is our anthem.
Have YOU got the courage to change?
10. Eet by Regina Spektor
Depression numbs us to the even the simplest pleasures in life. This song beautifully depicts what it’s like walking through life in a mindless fog.
11. Snuff by Slipknot
Yes, this is a metal song. If you’re at a point where you’ve had enough of people and don’t care about anything anymore (or maybe you’re just feeling a little emo, which is cool too), this is a good song through which to vent your frustrations.
Plus, the guitar is AMAZING. Just sayin’.
12. Distance by Christina Perri
I don’t know about you, but whenever I get any sort of pushback from anyone, I immediately put up a barrier and create a helluva lot of distance. This is also a great song for anyone who has a major crush on someone who doesn’t return the same feelings.
13. Unsteady by X Ambassadors
I feel like the title of this song says it all. We’re all unsteady, and sometimes we just desperately want someone to be there to hold us up.
14. Sober by Kelly Clarkson
I don’t do drugs and am not an alcoholic, but this song isn’t really about that kind of sober. It’s more about perseverance, even if on shaky ground. We never know for sure if it will be worth it in the end, but we keep going anyway.
15. The Lonely by Christina Perri
Being alone with your depression is the worst. The loneliness becomes its own entity, a monster we’ve all had to dance with at some point.
I see you, Christina. I see you.
16. Samson by Regina Spektor
Another song about unconditional love. Very sweet, quirky, and moving. I like it, and I love Regina.
17. My Immortal by Evanescence
Whether it’s to an abuser we can’t help but love or even just to the voice that is our mental illness, this song speaks to the exhausting yet enduring love or attachment we have to them. It’s so beautifully sad, yet comforting because it draws out those emotions.
18. If Rain Is What You Want by Slipknot
Have some emo rage you need to emote? Give this song a listen. It’s awesomely eerie, angry, depressing, pumped-up, AND it has rain.
19. Laughing With by Regina Spektor
No one laughs at God when life goes to shit. The world is full of sadness and tragedy, which is when we typically turn to God for help. This song is sad and rings with relatable truth.
I’m not laughing, Regina. I’m not laughing.
20. Kindly Calm Me Down by Meghan Trainor
Oh boy, if I ever do date again, the first guy to “kindly calm me down” during my moments of insanity gets a medal. (But that’s ALL he gets, so if he still sticks around, he’s a keeper.)
21. Breaking Your Own Heart by Kelly Clarkson
Sadly, when we’re blinded by our mental illness at our lowest points, we often, as Kelly says, break our own hearts. We keep putting ourselves in unhealthy relationships or continue feeding ourselves negative self-talk, punishing ourselves with guilty feelings. The result? Heart = Broken.
22. Better by Regina Spektor
I’m not 100% positive what this song is about, but I do know that to me, it feels like someone gently admonishing someone for being sad about something they can’t change. Or perhaps someone they know will never really feel “better.” It’s sweet, true, a bit fun, and a little sarcastic, which I love.
What’s On Your Summer List?
(Yes, I am aware that a lot of these are by the same handful of artists… Sorry, not sorry.)
Sometimes we want to feel uplifted, but sometimes we want to feel sad and wallow in all our sappy emotions. This list has allowed me to do all of that this summer.
If none of these appeal to your taste in music, feel free to share your personal favorites in the comments section. Also, I recognize that most of the artists on my list are women; I’d like to hear your recommendations for male artists, as I’d love to diversify my playlist.
Happy listening and bacon-cooking!