Top 10 Songs for Picking Yourself Up and Moving On

Great prophets, from Jesus Christ to Rachel Stevens, have long sought to remind humanity of a painful truth: things are sent to try you. Death. Life. Divorce. Marriage. Children. Older children. Only one thing unites them all, and that is their eagerness to provide you with a swift kick between the legs whenever it seems like your yearly anxiety quota is running low.

Dr. Werewolf invites you to rank your existential nausea on a reversed scale of 1-10, where 10 indicates that you have just awoken from a satisfying nap to find your mouth full of Maltesers, and 1 indicates that you are Jeremy Hunt's press secretary. Once you've established your score, feel free to self-medicate from the options below, and please don't forget to leave a comment reminding us that we've forgotten Chumbawumba.

Here are our Top 10 songs for picking yourself up and moving on.

10// The Go! Team - We Just Won't Be Defeated

Key lyric: "You can knock us all down, try to mute the sound, but we'll climb back to the top"

To be honest, you could pretty much dive into the Go! Team's discography at random and come back with something inspirational, assuming that the kind of inspiration you need right now involves pom-poms and scissor kicks. But we're not here for pure thrills. We're here to help you overcome, so help us God, and so is this song. Listen to those horns in the chorus! Last year's "The Art of Getting By (Song for Heaven's Gate)" was a close call on this, but there's something about "We Just Won't Be Defeated" that... Well, it's pretty self-explanatory.

9// Peter Bjorn & John - Objects Of My Affection

Key lyric: "And the question is: was I more alive then than I am now? I happily have to disagree. I laugh more often now, I cry more often now, I am more me"

You know, Peter Bjorn & John. They did that song with the whistling bit, the bit that I like to imagine the band still wake up screaming at 4am. But they were actually a really good band, brimming with catchy pop singles like "Nothing To Worry About", probably just a few viral-ready music videos away from becoming OK Go. (They certainly couldn't get any less imaginative: see above.) But none of that matters, because they wrote this song. Set to a triumphant drum march and guitars to match, the song questions those painfully quiet days when you "just sit around, and barely exist." Still, the message is clear: if you can stare those days down, you've already won half the battle.

8// Big Boi feat. Gucci Mane - Shine Blockas

Key lyric: "Tryna block my shine just ain't gon' happen, so don't try"

For someone as incredibly famous as Big Boi, who racked up just about every success imaginable across 14 recording years with Outkast, the guy somehow contrived to write a great album and still watch it tank. Another questionable music video beckons, and you suspect this one tells a bigger story about the money - or lack of it - that was thrown at pushing Sir Lucius Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty. All of which is a crying shame, because it's a hell of a record, caught between Outkast's death rattle and his increasingly dull collaborations with Phantogram. "Shine Blockas" isn't a huge leap lyrically, still rapping about inadequate safe and pocket storage size for his collections of cash and blunts, respectively. Nonetheless, the soul sample is a perfect pick-me-up, and the track stands as a proud middle finger to anyone trying to bring you down.

7// Patrick Wolf - Accident & Emergency

Key lyric: "If you never lose, how you gonna know when you've won? And if it's never dark, how you gonna know the sun when it shines?"

Revolving around the chords of A & E (popstars apparently never tire of this joke), "Accident & Emergency" burst forth after a fairly sombre spell in Patrick Wolf's career - namely, the magnificent Wind in the Wires. It was that album which briefly saw him cast as an English Conor Oberst: this was 2005, the latter's annus mirabilis with I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, and stock in moody, prodigious singer-songwriters was at an all-time high. It never quite took off for Wolf, but he came back with this two years later, a song probably about the depreciatingly small number of fucks he gave.

6// Yeasayer - Ambling Alp

Key lyric: "Now, the world can be an unfair place at times. But your lows will have their complement of highs. And if anyone should cheat you, take advantage of or beat you - raise your head, and wear your wounds with pride."

Soft lad disclaimer: there are two songs on this list that can, caught at the unholy hour between drunk and hungover, reduce this author to tears. One of them is right there at number one. The other one is "Ambling Alp". It's not even a sad song - none of these are, really - but, like the boxing match it portrays, a few quick jabs from the "stick up for yourself, son" chorus soon wear the listener down, and that line just finishes you off with a blinding uppercut of positivity. Yeah, a blinding uppercut of positivity. You heard.

5// Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

Key lyric: "Haters gonna hate"

Haters gonna hate.

4// Modest Mouse - Float On

Key lyric: "Alright, don't worry, even if things end up a bit too heavy, we'll all float on"

Issac Brock: "I was just kind of fed up with how bad shit had been going, and how dark everything was, with bad news coming from everywhere... After we got out of that dark spot with everything melting down with the band, I just wanted to make a positive record." And lo, the anthem of a thousand MySpace profiles was born. Had a bad day? Float on. Reversed into a police officer's vehicle? Float on. Rumours of yet another indie collaboration with professional career-ruiner Big Boi still floating on? Alright.

3// Gloria Gayner - I Will Survive

Key lyric: "Did you think I'd crumble? Did you think I'd lay down and die? Oh no, not I"

As if we could ignore this one. Gloria Gayner redefined the redemption 'moving on' song, taking all the hurt and betrayal that young women were supposed to convey through the conduit of doe-eyed surprise, every used-up old pop trope about wishing you'd just come back, baby, even though you did her wrong all those times, and smashing it to pieces. No coming back. No more bullshit. Gayner rocked up and figure-skated all over your lame excuses. So how is this not number one? Well...

2// School of Seven Bells - Put Your Sad Down

Key lyric: "Put. Your. Sad. Down."

If you're not familiar with the School of Seven Bells story, then I'm sorry to be the one to share it with you. The band originally consisted of Alejandra Doheza, her sister Claudia, and Benjamin Curtis. Claudia left in 2010, with Alejandra and Benjamin continuing as a duo; but they were more than just bandmates. Alejandra calls him "my soulmate... he’s my other half, and I don’t care how that sounds. I feel so insanely lucky that I know what that feels like. So it’s worth it." In February 2013, Curtis was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma; he died that December. The remaining ideas that the two worked on together have gone on to form the basis of their new (and presumed final) record, SVIIB, due out February 2016.

There were other School of Seven Bells songs that would have made this list very comfortably. Curtis' last ever recording was a cover of Joey Ramone's "I Got Knocked Down (But I'll Get Up Again)". The first track from the new album, "Open Your Eyes", opens with the words "moving on" chopped up and repeated through the intro, and goes on to tell a story of dealing with grief, culminating in the fear that "you'll fall in love again". It is, in the context of their history, frankly almost unbearable to listen to. But as a band, they were always about getting up again. And though those songs are perfect in their own way, nothing compares to the sheer weight of power that drives 2012's "Put Your Sad Down". Sprawled across nearly thirteen minutes, there are several moments of lyrical catharsis: "All that I wanna do is make you forget, forget that you feel so bad, give your heart a second to find the will again." But all of it comes back to those four words, beaten out one at a time like every blow of each syllable could physically begin to redress the pain. And it does.

1// Rilo Kiley - A Better Son/Daughter

Key lyric: the whole thing

Do yourself a favour. Whatever you're doing right now, unless it's sword fighting or holding a baby, stop immediately. Put your headphones on and listen to this song from start to finish. I'm not going to tell you anything about it, other than the fact that I found an entire Washington Post article about the time Anne Hathaway heard it for the first time, and how it apparently inspired her to put in a great scene during the shooting of Love & Other Drugs. And, honestly, if "A Better Son/Daughter" holds the kind of awesome power that can redeem that film even just a tiny bit, then it can change your life completely.


One Response to “Top 10 Songs for Picking Yourself Up and Moving On”


  1. Top 10 Songs for Picking Yourself Up and Moving On | Loud and Bright - 14/03/2016

    […] Continue reading at Drunken Werewolf […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.