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In college, I was depressed and anxious a lot. This is re‐release of playlist I made during that time to help me calm down and lift my spirits and feel a little bit better. It's 40% anime and videogame music and 60% other songs which hold special significance for me. See the table below for a track listing and information on each of the songs.

Track № Title Artist
1 Take Me Home, Country Roads Olivia Newton‐John
I hear her voice—in the morning hour, she calls me: The radio reminds me of my home, far away.

This is the opening song to the English version of Whisper of the Heart, by Studio Ghibli, which is an incredibly pure and #relatable film that pretty accurately captures what my life was like as a kid. I credit Whisper of the Heart—and its semi‐sequel, The Cat Returns—with a significant aspect of me figuring out I'm trans; it was really embarrasing, actually, the first time I watched it with my mother, because the female protagonist was so obviously just me and I was just like oh no. [YouTube]

2 I'm Gonna Fly Sydney Forest
I'm gonna fly—higher, than I ever, ever could.

Another Studio Ghibli track! This one is the theme song to the English version of Kiki's Delivery Service. More significantly for me, however, it was the theme song for the advertisement for Kiki's Delivery Service which played at the beginning of the VHS tape for Disney's The Black Cauldron. I didn't know anything about Studio Ghibli or anime as a kid, but I did watch The Black Cauldron a lot, and I loved that advertisement. Of course, it failed as a piece of marketing, because I never thought to actually ask my parents to buy Kiki's Delivery Service as a Thing To Watch.

When I actually did watch Kiki's Delivery Service for the first time, many years later, it was a Blu‐ray release which used the Japanese theme song instead. So I still associate this track more with that old advertisement than with the actual movie, lol. [Bandcamp] [YouTube]

3 Sloom Of Monsters And Men
I met a man today, and he smiled back at me. Now, there are thoughts like these, that keep me on my feet.

Is it weird to put a song about a murder on a positive, uplifting playlist? Maybe, but I'm doing it anyway. Even if it is dark, I love the hopeful optimism that runs through Nanna's lines in this song, and it's one of my favourites from OMAM's first album. (OMAM songs, in general, are pretty much guaranteed to make me feel better, so.) [YouTube]

4 Tell Me He Is We
Give me a pure love—give me a forever that we both can share.

He Is We is my favourite trashy pop artist and it wouldn't be a proper uplifting playlist without them. This song is about wanting a simple and pure and wholesome love that lasts until the end of time—which is hella cliché, but also I kind of love it? [YouTube]

5 This Is The New Year Ian Axel ft. Chad Vaccarino
Speak louder than the words before you, and give them meaning no one else has found. The role we play is so important—we are the voices of the underground.

I love the album This Is The New Year by Ian Axel and am very upset that it is no longer available anywhere. Thankfully, this track was re‐released by Ian Axel's followup project, A Great Big World. It's upbeat and empowering and sounds heckin' good. [YouTube]

6 All The Places MADE IN HEIGHTS
Call me brave, call me bright; messing up, it's only right: Fascinated by the sounds—up all night.

God, this song sounds like college. Have I mentioned that I saw MADE IN HEIGHTS live while I was there? I don't know if that was before or after I created this playlist to be honest. [Bandcamp] [YouTube]

7 Looking In CombatPlayer

I purchased Dysfunctional Systems: Learning to Manage Chaos on a whim in college, because it was on sale and How Could You Not When It Has That Name, and I think it may have been the first visual novel I ever played. It has an amazing soundtrack and some very good atmospheric #mood music, of which this is just one example. I think the game was pretty alright too? [Bandcamp] [Steam] [YouTube]

8 Tomorrow (First Public Performance) Charles Strouse
Just thinkin' about tomorrow—clears away the cobwebs, and the sorrow, 'til there's none.

In elementary school, my brother and I were involved in the drama program, and the Original Broadway Recording of Annie was a CD we got after he was involved in the school's musical production. (I think I was more into it than he was, though.) This track comes from the B‐side of the CD—which is honestly, in my opinion, the stronger side, since it mostly just consists of Charles Strouse singing demos and giving you a rundown of the play.

Anyway, Tomorrow is the traditional mood‐uplifting song, so I had to include it here in some form. [YouTube]

9 My Pace SunSet Swish

Bleach is a very good anime (or, at least the first three seasons of Bleach are a good anime—Bleach is long). If you ever read me writing a fight scene (which doesn't happen often because I mostly write romance but), chances are I watched like five episodes of Bleach right before it to get a feel for the pacing. This song is the sixth ending theme to be used on the series, and it's delightfully energetic and uplifting. I also absolutely love the transition from the slow, contemplative, lowfi feel of Tomorrow into the loud and upbeat mood here. [YouTube]

10 eok rengoku

don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story is a great visual novel and I love it and especially Kendall Flowers who is amazing. This is an uplifting piece of atmospheric mood music from the game, composed by rengoku. [Scout's Honour] [YouTube]

11 Upside Down Stalagmite Lifeformed

Ugghhh Dustforce is such a good game for just chilling and even though I'm bad at it it's still nice to just sit and play it for a bit to relax. A big part of that is the soundtrack by Lifeformed, which is amazing. You should definitely check both out, and if you're not in the mood for playing (or really bad at it, like me) and just want to see it done, I recommend watching this SGDQ speedrun, which also happens to be the only SGDQ speedrun I have watched ever. [Bandcamp] [Steam] [YouTube]

12 White Flag Dido
There will be no white flag above my door—I'm in love and always will be.

This song is here primarily for nostalgia reasons. It was a major hit after it was released in 2003, and was constantly played on the local radio station in my small, rural town—which is what I used as my morning alarm throughout elementary school.

I'm morally obligated to inform you that continuing to cling to and profess your love for someone after they've made it clear that they're not interested is actually a really shitty thing to do and not romantic at all. [YouTube]

13 Light Your Heart Up 澤野 弘之
Your sword is bare—why don't we ditch that class? It's time to chill out.

KILL La KILL is great and I love it and especially the scene at the very end where they all go shopping. Sometimes you can just ditch the responsibilities of the fascist power structures which are everywhere and just chill with your friends who love you. [YouTube]

14 Dreams Rogue ft. Laura Brehm
And I'm alive—more alive than I've ever been your way.

I downloaded the Monstercat: Best of 2012 album, mostly on a whim, at some point in college, and it was one of the things I would put on while I was programming and wanted something upbeat in the background that I didn't have to think to hard about. This is… a breakup song? I think? About gaining independence and self‐autonomy? IDK, I think I related to it—I was going through some pretty rough stuff relationship‐wise at the time. [Bandcamp] [YouTube]

15 Roads On The Earth Sun Zoo
And if I'm wrong then it's whatever—at least I had dreams.

It's a rap song about hope and what that means. It's a really good rap song about hope and what that means. From Sun Zoo's third (and best) album, also titled Roads On The Earth.

Sun Zoo holds special relevance to me because he's the artist that first got me listening to rap music and appreciating it for what it was. If you haven't heard of him before (probable), The Dao of Sun Zoo ft. DJ HDL is as good an introduction as any. Or, read this article about him in the Brown Daily Herald. His first album, Hope Flies is available for download through the Internet Archive, but the only way to get the second and third in modern times, as far as I'm aware, is via torrents—presumably uploaded by the label itself, Veggie Co. Records—titled Sun Zoo - Can't See The Forest [Indie Rap] and Sun Zoo - Roads On The Earth [amazing indie rap]. But, uh. Good luck finding seeds or peers.

Thankfully for the purposes of this playlist, the track Roads On The Earth was uploaded to YouTube—albeït with a somewhat unfortunate fade‐out in the last few seconds: [YouTube]