Midterms fill not just a few days with seemingly endless hours of studying and stress, but a significant three week chunk. It’s understandable to feel blue during this time, to feel like the towering expectations of college are falling upon you all at once. These songs are salves for a blue mood, designed to keep your head up but your mood comfortably down.
“Blue” by Marina and the Diamonds
The upbeat tone of the song almost completely disguises its true meaning. Marina is singing about a breakup in the happiest way possible, but turns around and asks for one more chance of love, dreams, and good self esteem.
“Cutting Ties” by Emily Hearn
Subtly start to cheer yourself up on the day you’re feeling kinda sluggish by letting this song be the soundtrack to your evening while you sit with a good book, instead of that chapter in psychology that you should be reading.
“Urn” by Childish Gambino
This vulnerable “Because the Internet” track hits you right in the feels. The song, told from the perspective of The Boy, the protagonist of the “Because the Internet” screenplay, describes the boy spreading his ashes out on the sea. Try to hold back your tears as he bids his final farewell.
“Breathe Me” by Sia
This song perfectly sums up moments of personal sadness from the very first word – “help.” Sia’s gravelly warble perfectly communicates feeling blue as she barely whispers out the notes in the first verse. This song is a powerful tribute to those times we’d all just rather be alone.
“Everything’s Embarrassing” by Sky Ferreira
Ferreira longs for something that could’ve been in this 80’s pop-esque ballad. She’s pining for her love interest’s attention but he’s being nonchalant about his feelings. If only he’d just let her be his lover…
“Happy Little Pill”- Troye Sivan
When feeling blue, it’s often preferred to indulge in one’s sadness rather than to be cheered up. In this song, Sivan is the listener’s wallowing companion as he bemoans a life filled with colorless skies and empty time. Accompanying Sivan’s laments is a catchy electronic beat, enticing the listener to hit replay over and over.
“Rose Parade” by Elliott Smith
This is an understated tune about feeling stuck somewhere when you are firmly not in the mood. Smith criticizes the mindless minutiae of an otherwise celebratory parade, noting the “ridiculous marching band” with a drunk and obviously out of tune trumpet player. His observations sound harsh until the final verse, when he sings “when they clean the street/I’ll be the only sh*t that’s left behind.”
“Blue in Green” by Miles Davis
A jazz classic, this song is melancholy at its best. The soft piano chords paired with the plaintive muted trumpet combine to resonate deeply within listeners who relate to the forlorn saxophone wailing its woes.
“Let Go” by Frou Frou
As indicated by the title, this song is a reflection on things that once mattered and how time marches on whether we’re ready or not. This song is perfection for wallowing and at the same time feeling better for it – be it the double time drum pattern, the interesting mix of the lyrical instrumental components, or singer Imogen Heap’s simply superb voice, this song will simultaneously make you feel terrible and also wonderful just because the music is so stunning. There truly is “beauty in the breakdown.”
“Waitin’ for Superman” by The Flaming Lips
This song’s anthemic, sweeping tone goes toe to toe with a bleak reality: sometimes, the concept of hope is not enough to face down our great challenges. Over a grand piano and heavy drums, singer Wayne Coyne encourages to keep believing in heroes, even if the coming travesty “is just too heavy for superman to lift.”