Whether it’s the soothing melodies that offer solace in moments of sadness or the empowering lyrics that ignite a fire within, the Songs That Saved My Life compilations tell a unique story of personal triumph and resilience. The idobi team has teamed up with Hopeless Records to mark this year’s Mental Health Awareness Month. From rock staples such as Good Charlotte’s “The Anthem” to punk-rock classics such as Green Day’s “When I Come Around,” the diverse range of musical genres represented in our personal Songs That Saved My Life reflects the universal nature of human emotions and struggles.
Today, we’re celebrating the power of music through Songs That Saved My Life as a source of healing, connection and hope, reminding us that even in our darkest moments, a song can become our guiding light.
“A Better Son/Daughter” – Rilo Kiley
I discovered this song shortly after one of my best friends took his own life. I also struggle deeply with depression and hearing this song for the first time had a visceral effect on me. I’d never heard a song describe the highs and lows of depression quite like this one. The lyrics, “Sometimes when you’re on, you’re really fucking on/And your friends they sing along and they love you/But the lows are so extreme, that the good seems fucking cheap,” hit me the hardest. Depression is weird in the sense of my ability to put on a brave face for the people around me and present as totally fine in a social setting, but when I get home and am alone, it really sets in. My favorite thing about this song is how it ends, with the hope of getting better. “But you’ll fight and you’ll make it through/You’ll fake it if you have to/And you’ll show up for work with a smile.” I listen to this song on my worst days, and think, “You’ve got this.” [Tate Logan]
“The Anthem” – Good Charlotte
I heard this song for the first time when I was in 5th grade—it changed everything for me. It was the first time I said to myself, “I want to do this,” in regard to music since wanting to be a baseball player in the 2nd grade. That Christmas my parents got me a guitar I started learning how to play, researching music, and diving into the scenes around and 20 years later my life wouldn’t have been the same without seeing that video on MTV Hits. [Fish]
“Better Life” – Conditions
With lyrics such as, “My understanding of the world feels broken/And it’s demanding my immediate attention/You’re looking up believing you will leave your problems below/Forget what you believe, use what you know,” Conditions establishes a profound and uplifting anthem that stands against the grips of depression, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. The song resonates deeply with the fight against a life mired in monotony and unfulfillment, igniting a fervent yearning for a brighter existence.
When my best friend introduced me to “Better Life,” I was in the depths of depression, desperately trying to claw my way out. For weeks straight, I listened to this song on an endless loop, trying to engrave every word that vocalist Brandon Roundtree sang into my mind. It gave me the courage to keep fighting for a better life and taught me one of the hardest lessons: that I had to save myself because no one else could. While I’d like to say this song saved my life, Conditions were a helping hand that got me through that period of my life. [Paige Owens]
“Even If It Kills Me” – Motion City Soundtrack
This band has gotten me through a lot of dark times in my life as a teenager and into adulthood. Anytime I’ve gone through a major life change or event since I was 17 years old, this band’s music has always been there for me. Choosing a single track was very difficult. Trying to break into radio and the music industry can take a massive mental toll on you at a young age. Whether it’s your peers thinking you’re wasting your time on your passion to feeling like you aren’t good enough, it can be hell inside your head. This has always been such a hopeful track for me and instantly reminds me to continue to follow my dreams and passion. Like the closing lines of the song, “I’ll do whatever it takes, even if it kills me.” [Patrick Walford]
“i wish u knew” – vaultboy
This song is a beautiful message to anyone struggling through something difficult. The lyrics are a reminder that you’re loved and worthy. vaultboy’s music is amazing and gives off powerful emotions. [Yising Kao]
“My Backwards Walk” – Manchester Orchestra (Originally by Frightened Rabbit)
I was driving down the 5 in LA around 2 AM when I heard this song for the first time. I instantly teared up. It was 2020 and, like all of us, I was having a really shitty time. I was in the midst of a crumbling relationship and falling deeper into a dark place. This song is what made me realize it was time. Time to end the relationship that I’d been using to distract myself from addressing my own issues. With lines like “I’m working on my faults and cracks/Filling in the blanks and gaps,” followed by “I’m working hard on walking out/And my shoes keep sticking to the ground.” Hearing it now brings me back to that moment and fills me with a tinge of sadness, but also a bit of hope. I’m still trying to scrape myself out of that hole. Now if I could just find the right songs to inspire me to tackle everything else. [Tommy Wooldridge]
“My Last Semester” – The Wonder Years
I discovered The Wonder Years just a few weeks after my Dad passed away. I would like to say that I coped with the whole thing pretty well, but as I have gotten older I’ve realized just how resilient the teenage mind can be in the face of tragedy.
“New Years With Carl Weathers” was the first song I heard, instantly fell in love with the band’s dense and descriptive take on pop-punk. But that first listen to The Upsides was when I felt like fate had brought me and the band together, to comfort me through this momentous change in my life.
I was three months away from finishing high school when Soupy crooned, “I’m not sad anymore, I’m just tired of this place” into my ears for the first time. Combatting the stress of exams, the daunting prospect of what the future might hold, and the grief that comes with the loss of a parent is one hell of an anxiety cocktail. But hearing this song, all about pushing through the bullshit in your own unique way, was a real tonic. Knowing that there were others who were screaming into the same void, albeit for different reasons, made me feel like I wasn’t alone in any of this, and I never would be.
I got to see the band play at Slam Dunk Festival that summer, and as I screamed these lyrics back to them from the center of the pit, I felt like I was saying thank you. I make sure that I say thank you to them whenever I can, even to this day. [Jack Rogers]
“The Price Of Dreaming” – Hollow Front
A song that lyrically hit me like a ton of bricks from the first listen last year. It’s sometimes very difficult to put into words what it’s like to follow your dreams even when the odds are stacked against you. When you feel like you’ve sacrificed everything. The bridge had my eyes watering: “I’m thinking/Of all the times that I’ve wanted to quit/And all the moments/That I struggled but pushed through it/I’m chasing a pipe dream, in hopes I’ll make it on my own/It pains me, detaching from the world I know/This haunting reminds me of the things I’ll miss out while I’m gone/It’s exhausting, I’m searching for where I belong.” It was one of those moments where you just think, “Someone understands and is going through the same things as me. I’m not alone.” [Patrick Walford]
“When I Come Around” – Green Day
I didn’t really feel I fit in anywhere or could be myself in middle school. There was a constant feeling of judgment from peers that destroyed my self-esteem. That all changed when Dookie came out. It was around this time that I was teaching myself to skateboard and I soon found a place where I belonged and was judgment-free in the skateboard community. I remember how quickly I felt accepted by the skateboarders at school. Everyone was so supportive of one another at the skate parks. We helped each other when we fell. We smoked cigarettes and wore baggy pants and ball chain chokers. I truly felt authentic. Billie Joe’s seemingly rebellious attitude, lyrics, and style gave us all something to look up to. I distinctly remember blasting “When I Come Around” from a boom box during summer break while falling repeatedly trying to learn new tricks. That entire record transports me back to a feeling of freedom and to this day it is a constant reminder to be myself and never let the opinions of others stand in the way of who you are or want to become. Dookie led me to Enema Of The State and onward I went. That golden ’90s era of pop punk that shaped my youth will forever be the thing that sparked a change in me. [Eric Cios]