It’s official. January is the toughest month of the year – we have less money, the economy’s usually tighter, the weather’s cold, and we’re struggling under New Year’s resolutions that are making us healthier if perhaps grumpier.
So, to make sure that at least the music pumping through your earbuds is just as motivational and inspirational as possible, I’ve rounded up ten of the best songs that are sure to help banish your case of the January blues…
1. A Great Big World, “This Is The New Year”
A Great Big World are kind of a great big deal at the moment, thundering along the track that indie-pop stars fun. took almost two years ago to global success. Tracks such as the new release ‘This Is The New Year’ about the optimism and joy at a brand new start, is a perfectly perky beginning to starting or restarting your New Year’s resolutions and a hell of a soundtrack for those endeavours.
2. Adele, “I’ll Be Waiting”
Queen of the heartbroken ballad, Adele might be working on hit album number three at the moment, but one of the lesser-played tracks on global smash 21 is the perfect buoyant tune for curing your January maladies. ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ is the happiest offering on 21, and is full of loving sentiment and bright, sunny production. Stick this one when you’re trudging through town in the cold and soon you’ll be skipping like it’s summer.
3. Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger”
Kelly Clarkson has continued to evolve and change as an artist, despite never really rising as a pop auteur. She’s comfortable in her own music rather than trying to emulate anyone else’s, and never has this been more apparent than on the empowering ‘Stronger’ which shares its name with her fifth studio album. ‘Stronger’ is a blast of motivating rock-pop all about feeling tough after a breakup and about overcoming the adversities in life. Stick this on and you’ll plow through any obstacle when the cold nights roll around.
4. Avicii vs. Nicky Romero, “I Could Be The One”
One of the best dance/electronic tracks of 2013, Avicii and Nicky Romero teamed up with Swedish singer Noonie Bao (who is woefully uncredited for her flawless vocals) in this gloriously life-affirming track which is about finding the positives in life and the goodness in our situation. The song is a riotous uplifting one and the video which stars Inessa Frantowski as a lonely, disillusioned office worker who begins to see the way out of her dull life, is one of the year’s absolute best.
5. Ellie Goulding, “Goodness Gracious”
Sometimes a song doesn’t need to be exactly relevant to be perfect for a time of year. Coming off the back of the No. 1 ‘Burn’, popstrel Ellie Goulding has released fan favorite ‘Goodness Gracious’ from her Halycon Days album which is a perfect song for invigorating your spirits thanks to its sunny, electropop production and instantly memorable chorus. Having this song stuck in your mind all day will certainly make every cold, grey morning seem much more manageable.
6. Vienna Teng, “Level Up”
A lesser known artist than others on the list, Vienna Teng is an astonishingly brilliant musician and her latest album Aims is a triumph, with soul-lifting lead single ‘Level Up’ the best of the bunch, enlisting positive mantras in the lyrics and a brilliant Eighties-inspired production that suggests ‘Level Up’ could at home as the soundtrack to a movie happy ending. The sublime video featuring some of the best dancing we’ve ever seen, has to be viewed as soon as possible.
7. Beyonce, “XO”
Surprising the entire world with her new album in mid December, Beyonce’s visual album had fourteen songs, each with their own stunning video, and cream of the crop is lighters-aloft anthem ‘XO’ which is a big-hearted power ballad about true love and the love she feels for her fans that will have you forgetting the bad weather in lieu of singing along heartily. The Terry Richardson-directed clip is a big, joyous affair at Coney Island as Beyonce hangs out with friends and has fun in the sun.
8. Britney Spears, “Stronger”
The second of the ‘stronger’ themed songs in this list, this pop throwback is a bonafide classic due to its themes of empowerment, strength, and overcoming any kind of obstacle in your way, be it a bad relationship, or facing getting out of bed in the morning on a freezing cold winter’s day. Stick this all-time-classic Britney track on and you’ll find yourself striding confidently into whatever the day may hold with your head held high and your confidence just as elevated.
9. Lights, “Saviour”
Canadian singer-songwriter Lights is the sonic equivalent of lemonade – refreshing, sweet, and just light enough to make her music listenable, rather than disposable. Her breakout single ‘Saviour’ is a big, bombastic sweet love song that showcases her honeyed and yet deceptively strong vocals and the twinkling Eighties-pop production that evokes Owl City and Ellie Goulding’s love child. Sweet electropop at its finest and a song that will have you swooning and singing wherever you go, bad weather be damned.
10. Janelle Monae, “Dance Apocalyptic”
Janelle Monae is one of the most innovative, exciting and incredible performers in music today, combining a deep love for sci-fi with social undercurrents and catchy beats and lyrics, ensuring her albums are always ten steps ahead of everyone else. Album standout ‘Dance Apocalyptic’ is a darkly fun track that is sure to have your feet tapping along within thirty seconds flat thanks to the incredible production and the joyously sombre lyrics. Nothing could be more appropriate for finding light at this darkest time of year.