Music can have a purpose for anything and everything, and sometimes all you need is a cheer up. Whether you’re listening to music as a way to wind down after a big week of freshers events, or to keep your spirits up as you write that first essay of term, music has a huge influence on how you feel. This is why I’ve selected 10 songs that make me feel uplifted, in the hopes that you do too. The playlist is linked at the bottom, happy listening!

Track 1: Morning Has Broken by Cat Stevens

When I mentioned to one of my mates that I like to put this song on in the mornings, he said I must wake up like a Disney princess, and asked me if birds come into my room and help me get dressed. Unfortunately they don’t, but it does put me in a positive and bright mood in the morning as I open my curtains. I think it somehow makes me feel grounded, grateful and attached to nature and the world around, making me feel optimistic about the day ahead. Cat Stevens is such a beautiful songwriter too, and if you like this song you should definitely check out the rest of the album – I was lucky enough last term to find a copy of it on vinyl in Riverman Records in Jericho for a tenner and it goes on every morning. 

Track 2: Lights Out by Santigold 

My friend introduced me to this song a little while ago, when she was driving me somewhere in her car, with the sun and breeze flowing through the rolled down windows. It was the beginning of spring and it felt like freedom. I very much associate this song with summer; with times when I’m not worrying about things too much. Every time I listen to it I remember the first time I heard it and am transported back to those joyful moments. Music can be so powerful: if you remember how you feel the first time you hear a song, often that feeling stays with you.

Track 3: New Shoes by Paolo Nutini 

I have so much to say about Paolo Nutini that I could write a book (and it’s the reason not one but two of his songs are on this playlist). Nutini is my go-to for sad music, especially breakup songs, but his more upbeat work is not to be overlooked. I think this was the first song of his I heard and I instantly fell in love with this salt-of-the-earth Scotsman. This song is just so simple but effective, instantly cheerful and great to sing along to (and dance). “Hello new shoes, bye bye blues” is my favourite line in both the lyrics and delivery. The song builds and is just so fun. These Streets is an album to note; Paolo Nutini a musician to admire. 

Track 4: Badala Zamana (Habibi Funk 015) by Zohra 

Where do I start? This is the song that introduced me to Habibi Funk, one of the dearest genres to my heart as I am part Egyptian. You don’t have to understand the lyrics to appreciate the rhythm and enjoy this song – it’s a great one to dance to and is just so cheerful and joyous. My interest in Habibi Funk as a genre extends way beyond a few words on one song, but I think this track is perfectly uplifting. 

Track 5: Sweat (A La La La La Long) by Inner Circle 

This is such a sunny, happy song. It always, always puts me in a good mood; it’s the reggae beat that does it, it just feels like sunshine. Another song that’s impossible not to dance to. Inner Circle never fails – ‘Bad Boys’ is another great one of theirs. 

Track 6: 3005 by Childish Gambino 

Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) is just too talented: what can’t he do? This year in particular I have gained unlimited amounts of admiration for him after watching ‘Atlanta’. However, I’ve always known and loved him as a musician (and as the gorgeous star of the album cover). I can’t hear the intro of this song without smiling and the first verse in particular is so much fun to join in with. Donald / Childish has such an amazing range of talents; even as a musician there is such range. This song, as well as ‘Feels Like Summer’, just makes me think of lying in the grass in a park near home with a group of mates in an unlimited summer. 

Track 7: Pencil Full of Lead by Paolo Nutini 

I meant what I said about Nutini. This man is a genius for both ballads and songs to move to. The song is genuinely impossible not to love, you get possessed with a need to dance whenever it comes on, as I experienced on a night out in Cardiff with my sister –  a live band played this song and though we had been enjoying the music sitting down until this point, we immediately jumped up and started boogieing with everyone else. My favourite line is “I’ve got food in my belly and a licence for my telly, nothing’s gonna bring me down”. 

Track 8: 4EVA (feat. Pharrell Williams) by KAYTRAMINÉ, Aminé, KAYTRANADA, Pharrell Williams 

Which rock have you been living under if you’ve not been listening to Aminé and KAYTRANADA’s new joint album under their joint artist name, both entitled ‘KAYTRAMINÉ’? I have been thoroughly loving this album as I love both these artists, and of course Williams. This has to be one of my favourite tracks on the album, although the more I listen the more songs I love. The beat is so catchy and elevating. The pair also more recently dropped an instrumental version of their album, which is perfect for you if you love to listen to music while you work but get distracted by the lyrics! 

Track 9: (Nothing But) Flowers by Talking Heads

Talking Heads are just some of the best. This song is gorgeous and immediately cheers you up, the key changes also just scratch my brain in the right way. I think it speaks for itself!

Track 10: A Message to You Rudy by The Specials

I couldn’t end the playlist without a bit of ska, with The Specials of course being the master of ska and two-tone. This song is amazing, so relaxed yet simultaneously so upbeat. A firm favourite in my family, it is impossible not to at least bop your head to it and sing along. The Specials are the bringers of happiness. 


You can access the playlist here: