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11 Alternative Songs To Shake The Anxiety Out Of Your Bones

Alternative Songs Anxiety Header
[Photos: RIVALS/The Used]

Nothing, and I mean nothing, soothes my anxiety more than a night drive. Windows down sailing along back roads with only the stars above for company. It’s peaceful. Soothing. And to top it all off, a perfectly crafted playlist. Curated over years and years for drives just like this, birthed from panic attacks that don’t know how to let go. They knot themselves up in your rib cage, squeeze your heart, and steal the air from your lungs. It’s agonizing, it’s maddening. The right playlist is a life raft in an ocean of uncertainty—a deep breath when the air feels thin. So, the more caliber you have, the better. 

Here are 11 alternative songs to help shake the anxiety out of your bones. Turn the volume up and drive.

Loveless — “Lighthouse”

“Lighthouse” is the kind of song that demands that you scream alongside it, which makes it perfect to quell some anxiety. With lyrics like “I’ll never be your lighthouse in the dusk/If I had my way, I’d guide you to the rocks,” Loveless creates a power ballad celebrating one’s agency. Pushing every ounce of anxious energy into these picturesque lyrics will surely bring some relief by the time the last note fades.

Wind Walkers — “Bodybag”

Wind Walkers are masters of atmosphere. Crank them in the car or a quality pair of headphones, and you’re transported somewhere else. And don’t we all just wish we were somewhere else once in a while? “Bodybag” is lyrically devastating, but sonically, it launches straight into the atmosphere, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Say Anything — “Alive With The Glory Of Love”

Anxiety has a fun way of pushing us into the familiar, so why not go with this classic? Say Anything’s most beloved song has an upbeat sound alongside devastating lyrics that are somehow life-affirming—a dichotomy that demands persistence. This well-loved anthem might not fix your problems, but it might give you the courage to make those changes yourself.

The Used — “Medz”

Sometimes, the only way out is through, and that means a song that’s dark, self-deprecating, and cathartic. The latest single from The Used ticks all the boxes. Lyrically lethal and all-encompassing, “Medz” will leave you emotionally satiated or blissfully apathetic. This is definitely one to save for your Sad Boi playlist (it can’t just be me, right?).

Redhook — “Low Budget Horror”

On the flip side, what’s better than turning your anxiety into your villain origin story? Come on, we all want one. Redhook’s “Low Budget Horror” has been my ride-or-die anxiety song since it came out in 2022. Sometimes, it’s great to shake the anxiety off, but sometimes, it feels good to harness it, shake hands with it, and walk side-by-side into that dark night.

RIVALS — “Lavenders”

Rivals have had me in a chokehold since I found them in 2021. Kalie Wolfe’s vocals are so raw that it’s hard not to have a physical response. Anxiety commonly comes with chest aches, but so does listening to Wolfe’s intense lyrics, making them a match made in heaven. “Lavenders” is a great example of focusing on the senses when it feels like the world is exploding around you. Concentrate on the feel of the beat in your ears and the ground under your feet, and let “Lavenders” hold your focus.

Lincoln — “Saint Bernard”

“Saint Bernard” became a personal classic the day I heard it. With its steady tempo and linear vocals, singing along is steadying like a mantra. Lincoln’s prized single is a trudge, which can make it difficult to listen to with an elevated heart rate. But it calls to the heart, and by the time its two-minute play time is up, you might find your heart slowing to match the beat. It won’t meet the 50bpm tempo (I hope), but maybe it’ll be further away from that 120bpm it probably started at.

Kami Kehoe — “Sleep When I’m Dead”

Kehoe’s newest single, “LALALAND,” is undoubtedly a banger, but the 2023 single “Sleep When I’m Dead” is a powerhouse. Perfect to let out some unspoken feelings and aggression, Kehoe combines an intense drum-driven rock ballad with lyrics that are licensed to kill. The verses tug-of-war with the chorus will make an overactive, anxious brain feel right at home.

VOILÀ — “Drinking With Cupid”

VOILÀ simply doesn’t miss. There’s something about this song’s chorus that scratches the brain in all the ways. The fry and grit, compared to the clean beat and vocals of the verses, make a delicious contrast. If your anxiety is driven by unrequited love, look no further; this song encapsulates that desperate yearning. It probably won’t fix the anxious knot in your chest, but you’ll feel heard, and sometimes that’s enough.

Arrows In Action — “All The Ways I Could Die” 

Satisfaction is the name of the game. Arrows In Action lyrically captures the frustration of a brain that just doesn’t work like it’s supposed to and how futile that feels. Sometimes, after a full day of being in your own brain, it’s a relief to wallow in silence. “I just can’t wait to go sit in my room/Contemplate all the ways I could die.” “All The Ways I Could Die” is heartrendingly relatable.

Gorillaz — “Feel Good Inc.”

When all else has failed, pray you have a song that’s so heavily packed with joy that your heart begrudgingly responds. Maybe it’s just me, but “Feel Good Inc.” has years of happy vibes tightly packed into it. Everything from the animated music video to the catchy backbeat of the drums is rife with bliss. If Gorillaz aren’t your happy place, they should be.

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