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Far Out 40: The most uplifting songs around


“The only truth is music.” – Jack Kerouac

If music feels like uplifting medicine sometimes then that is because it is; science literally backs up the boon. Medical research has found that music releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical in your brain. In fact, music has even been used as a form of therapy with positive results. It is, in short, the gift that keeps on giving and it asks for almost nothing in return.  

This mental health month, the medicinal quality of music seems more important than ever. As Pete Townshend once said: “Rock ‘n’ roll might not solve your problems, but it does let you dance all over them.” As it happens, that pithy comment has scientific backing. Music can literally improve your focus, reduce levels of anxiety and stress, help you to relax and reach a meditative state, and elevate your mood and levels of motivation. 

What’s more, in a historical sense, modern music came from a place of necessary escape. Exultation and drifting away from the grind of reality is a vital human experience and it was even more important when it came to the development of the genres we relish to this day. As Nina Simone explained: “Funk, gospel, blues is all out of slavery times, out of depression, out of sorrow.”

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With that in mind, we have collated a playlist of some of the must uplifting mindful tracks around. Lesser-known anthems by the likes of Odetta – about whom the poet Maya Angelou once said, “If only one could be sure that every 50 years a voice and a soul like Odetta’s would come along, the centuries would pass so quickly and painlessly we would hardly recognize time” – naturally, make the cut. 

However, there are others below that are uplifting classics by the likes of the ever-sunny Bob Marley and The Beach Boys. As Marley said himself, “The good thing about music: when it hits you, you feel no pain.” This playlist is positively pain free and its full of jams to boot. Inject a dose of into you Spotify and enjoy the balm of some brilliant blissed-out anthems. 

40 feel-good anthems:

  • ‘Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
  • ‘All Things must Pass’ – George Harrison
  • ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ – Prince 
  • ‘Three Little Birds’ – Bob Marley 
  • ‘Here Comes the Sun’ – The Beatles 
  • ‘Moonage Daydream’ – David Bowie 
  • ‘All the Young Dudes’ – Mott the Hoople 
  • ‘Dreams’ – Fleetwood Mac 
  • ‘Last Dance’ – Donna Summer 
  • ‘It’s My Life’ – The Mainstreeters 
  • ‘Dancing in the Street’ – Martha and the Vandellas 
  • ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ – Arctic Monkeys 
  • ‘Movin’ On Up’ – Primal Scream 
  • ‘Oh! Sweet Nuthin” – Velvet Underground 
  • ‘Let’s Go Surfing’ – The Drums 
  • ‘This Charming Man’ – The Smiths 
  • ‘Dancing in the Dark’ – Bruce Springsteen 
  • ‘Someday’ – The Strokes 
  • ‘Acquiesce’ – Oasis 
  • ‘This Must Be The Place’ – Talking Heads 
  • ‘Love Survive’ – Michael Nau 
  • ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’ – The Byrds 
  • ‘I Think I’ll Call it Morning’ – Gil Scott-Heron 
  • ‘That Summer Feeling’ – Jonathan Richman 
  • ‘I Ain’t Got No’ – Nina Simone 
  • ‘Sweet Thing’ – Van Morrison 
  • ‘Spud Infinity’ – Big Thief 
  • ‘Seasons (Waiting on You)’ – Future Islands 
  • ‘Cloudbusting’ – Kate Bush 
  • ‘Hit or Miss’ – Odetta 
  • ‘Lovely Day’ – Bill Withers 
  • ‘Everything Now’ – Arcade Fire 
  • ‘Lust for Life’ – Iggy Pop 
  • ‘One Fine Morning’ – Bill Callahan 
  • ‘Train in Vain’ – The Clash 
  • ‘A Hero’s Death’ – Fontaines D.C. 
  • ‘Light’ – Michael Kiwanuka 
  • ‘It’s Alright to Cry’ – Rosy Grier 
  • ‘Life’s a Gas’ – T. Rex 
  • ‘Perfect Day’ – Lou Reed

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