The songs that are irrefutably stuff that always makes you feel way better when you're bummed out, the songs that are just the thing to listen to when you're lethargic and need energy to get you out of your rut, out of your slump. Songs which immediately make you go "Squee!" Songs that may even make you feel so inspired you spill coffee on your leg as you scramble across the house to grab some paint or something and get all creative.... so this is my list.
"Dust in the Wind," Kansas - For some morbid reason, this song is a wonderful pick-me-up. Somehow the knowledge that all of this is transient is immensely uplifting. Perhaps the quintessential solace song.
"Thirsty at the Well," Rob Jungklas - This is one of my Thea songs, which scores points right there. But it's also got the most beautiful prayer I've ever heard as the last verse: "I ask not for consolation but for passion and for grace / I ask not for comfort but for clarity / Let me breathe in the spirit / Let me live in the light / Let me burn with a pure intensity." Amen. Just reciting it runs a chill up my spine.
"Ordinary Day," Great Big Sea - Another empowering, uplifting song in the vein of the first.
"Dam Would Break," Toad the Wet Sprocket - This song described me for a while. It's about wishing for catharsis, and is almost a catharsis in itself; singing along brings to the surface something more primal, especially the wordless chorus, which always makes me feel like I'm howling with the wolfpack. In a good way.
"Super Metroid Brinstar OC ReMix," JD Harding of Overclocked ReMix. This is the song that starts off my days-long MP3 playlist; I hear it every time I boot Audion. I never get tired of it. It's ambient but driving but flowing; my single favorite song from the site ever. It never fails to inject a little energy into my work. Similarly, "Beyond All Fear of Doom," from the Souls in the System soundtrack (old Mac space shooter adventure game), gets my heart pumping in good ways. Or "Sadhana," by Steve Stevens. I'll cut the instrumentals short there.
"Old Man River," by Jim Croce. Solace song right up there with #1.
"Beast," KMFDM. One of the best high-energy songs in my collection. It's just great fun.
"Get Out the Map," Indigo Girls. A celebration of picking up and moving onward, facing a bright new future. A great kick in the pants when I'm feeling mired and need to throw myself at a quixotic task to escape it.
"Cassandra," Delicious Blue. A song about a mage standing on the outside looking in at our society. Written and sung by a woman with immense insight and a powerful voice, and I don't say that just because she was my magic teacher. Very much a comfort song for me.
I could go on - Sting's "Shape of My Heart," Wolfstone's "Till I Sleep" (or half of what they play, actually), Joshua Kadison's "Invisible Man," David Crosby's "Too Young to Die," Rhythm Corps' "Feel a Whole Lot Better." I have several dozen deeply moving solace songs, most of which I've put on the compilation CDs I used to make for friends way bax when, and a number of which I've already named. I tend to think of "solace songs" and "happy songs" in much the same category -- they make me happy when I'm down, and when I'm not down I just listen to whatever and ride my internal high.