“You’ll fake it if you have to”

In the comments of the post I wrote yesterday about the work I’m doing to find my way around this new reality, community member Daisy mentioned that “A Better Son/Daughter” by Rilo Kiley was the soundtrack to her life during a time of difficulty. I immediately went looking for it and then listened to it over and over again at an inappropriate volume. Daisy, I hope you don’t mind if I borrow this song from you right now. Thank you for mentioning it.

I’m feeling music more deeply than I ever have. A lyric can send me soaring for hours or throw me against a wall. The notes crawl inside my body and I can feel them humming and expanding inside my lungs. Makes me feel so alive.

Here’s that Rilo Kiley Song. There are a few lyrics that may not be suitable for work or young and tender ears, but it’s definitely worth a listen. Do you guys have any particular songs that have given you strength when you felt like the simple act of opening your eyes was unimaginable? Please share. (Also, thank you for your comments. I read them all as well as all of your email. Thank you so much.)

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

You’ll be better

And you’ll be smarter

And more grown up and a better daughter or son

And a real good friend

And you’ll be awake

You’ll be alert

You’ll be positive though it hurts

And you’ll laugh and embrace all your friends

And you’ll be a real good listener

You’ll be honest

You’ll be brave

You’ll be handsome and you’ll be beautiful

You’ll be happy

Your ship may be comin in

You’re weak but not givin in

To the cries and the wails of the valley below

And your ship may be comin in

You’re weak but not givin in

And you’ll fight it you’ll go out fightin all of em

  • Tara Newhole

    I’m jealous!! That is such a great song, I wished I could have been the one to share it with you! :)

    I just assumed you knew it, since you have introduced me to so many great songs over the years. Glad someone returned the favor. SO happy the song found you!

  • Tara Newhole

    P.S. – Happy Birthday to Leta! :)

  • Janice

    I have two for you, but I like to sing loud and wallow in the songs… Toni Braxton – Unbreak my Heart; and the the equally awesome Allison Krause – Ghost in the House.


  • ClaireM

    Thanks for sharing this song, 24 hours later and I’m still listening to it. It just touches my inside. The songs I use change but P!nks song ‘So What’ has been the best.

  • hbmorgan

    Open Your Eyes by Snow Patrol
    Where I Belong by Switchfoot
    anything by Sarah Slean

  • monicaraizy

    “Nothing Lasts Forever” by Brett Dennen. This was the song I clung to when my life contracted a vicious south american intestinal worm (when I’d never even BEEN to south america!) and my heart spit itself in pieces out my mouth.

    I was never able to commit or believe in anything or anyone unless it promised rigid and unchanging guarantees. Otherwise – I simply couldn’t participate in it. So when change happened, and forever was cut off before the dropping of the blue velvet curtains, his voice and lyrics and intonation allowed me to…ride the waves of grief a few feet beneath the surface…rather than sink despairingly into the abyss. Music, like grief, for me – is a method of transportation. Grief takes me places, but music is the only momentum that can bypass my paralysis and mmooovvvvvveeeee me.


  • AmyBeth2

    Songs I’ve used to wallow are:

    A Beautiful Mess by Jason Mraz (so good!)

    Stay or Leave by Dave Matthews

    Especially good to listen to when things are so up in the air and with no resolution yet…

  • stephinboston

    Patty Griffin – When It Don’t Come Easy
    The Civil Wars – Poison & Wine
    Begin to Cry – Christopher Jak
    Keep Breathing – Ingrid Michaelson

    Lots of tears to those. Lots.

  • Katesss

    Maximo Park – Going Missing (and the rest of the album A Certain Trigger) helped me through a rough time. Also Socratic – Sleepless Nights off It’s Getting Late. Hope you find some music that makes you feel awesome. Xo

  • AliciaMaria

    Hi Heather..! I’m not sure if you’d like it, but my favorite Pandora station is the Hybrid station. Hybrid makes this amazing music that’s motivating in a way, but it can also just be on in the background without disrupting what you’re doing. When I’m working, this is usually what I have on..

    I read your post earlier and couldn’t think of any songs to recommend, and then, I turned Pandora on and this one popped up. It’s one of those songs I’m 100% sure I’ve cried hysterically to before, while dealing with some of my very real, painful emotions that show up now and then. (I’ve basically determined that I’m a sad, lonely person, despite having a great significant other, 2 awesome dogs, and a mostly positive, incredibly sarcastic, yet upbeat attitude most of the time.. It’s kind of hard to explain to people that I’m meant to be sad, with bouts of happy (on the inside) rather than the other way around, but I suppose it’s who I really am, since it’s all I’ve ever known..)

    ANYWAY, shut up, Alicia.. the song I came here to recommend is called True to Form, by Hybrid. It’s a beautiful song.

    A couple other amazing ones (criers, for sure..) are called

    Break My Soul (the lyrics hopefully don’t apply to you and Jon..)

    and Disappear Here (slow at first, but it picks up.. this one gets me every time, and I think you might like the lyrics better for this one.)

    both also by Hybrid. I hope you love them all! <3

  • LauraZ

    I tune into Peace is Just a Word by The Eurythmics


    Love Annie, her voice…

    Just stop the world,
    Just shut it down…there’s no point in it spinning around…

  • SportyMcGee

    The Boxer – Simon and Garfunkle

    Old school, I know. But here is the thing:

    In the clearing stands a boxer
    And a fighter by his trade
    And he carries the reminders
    Of every glove that laid him down
    Or cut him ’til he cried out
    In his anger and his shame
    I am leaving, I am leaving
    But the Fighter still remains

  • Bodnoirbabe

    This is going to get buried, but the song I love to help me is “In My Mind” by Amanda Palmer. It’s all about how she has this image of herself in her mind and she constantly struggles to become that image. Through the song she realizes that maybe she’s not becoming that person because she doesn’t want to BE that person. She realizes she’s happy with the person she already is. It’s really quite beautiful, simple, and powerful. Here’s a link to the youtube:


  • Sarah LeDoux

    Sia – Breathe Me
    Cults -Bad Things
    Otis Redding – These Arms Of Mine
    Cat Power – I Found A Reason
    Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright (The Essential Bob D.)
    The Big Scary – Thinking About You
    Miike Snow – Song For No One
    Passion Pit – Sleepyhead

    And also anything by M. Ward. Especially his live version of Vincent O’brien.


  • Bodnoirbabe

    I have another recommendation for you, something that will help you find strength to get through this mess.

    “Memory” from the musical Cats.

    I know it’s a musical, and a bit of a cheesy one at that, but that song really is powerful. It reminds us that our past gives us memories, beautiful, warm, and gone. But we have to remember that new days are coming and with them, new memories. Keep your head up.

    Here’s a sample of the lyrics as well as a link to one of the best performances of it by Elaine Page:


    Not a sound from the pavement
    Has the moon lost her memory?
    She is smiling alone
    In the lamplight
    The withered leaves collect at my feet
    And the wind begins to moan

    All alone in the moonlight
    I can smile at the old days
    I was beautiful then
    I remember the time I knew what happiness was
    Let the memory live again

    Every streetlamp
    Seems to beat a fatalistic warning
    Someone mutters
    And the streetlamp gutters
    And soon it will be morning

    I must wait for the sunrise
    I must think of a new life
    And I musn’t give in
    When the dawn comes
    Tonight will be a memory too
    And a new day will begin

    Burnt out ends of smoky days
    The stale cold smell of morning
    The streetlamp dies, another night is over
    Another day is dawning

    Touch me
    It’s so easy to leave me
    All alone with the memory
    Of my days in the sun
    If you touch me
    You’ll understand what happiness is

    A new day has begun”

  • findsfives

    This Year by the Mountain Goats. They sound kind of like mountain goats, but if you can get past that, This Year especially, is made to be blasted at full volume while singing along/sobbing/fists pumping. xoxo

  • luv and kiwi

    Also! The Shins’ “Simple Song”

  • CrazyCanuck

    Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini variation 18, by Rachmaninoff.

  • Christiane71

    Feel like swearing and shouting ?
    Martha WAINWRIGHT (Rufus’sister): “Bloody mother fu**ing As***le” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GA7wDt676pk

  • zen momma

    I highly recommend “Sit Down” by James. This song helps me to remember that I am not alone.

    I’ll sing myself to sleep
    A song from the darkest hour
    Secrets I can’t keep
    Inside of the day
    Swing from high to deep
    Extremes of sweet and sour
    Hope that God exists
    I hope I pray

    Drawn by the undertow
    My life is out of control
    I believe this wave will bear my weight
    So let it flow

    Oh sit down
    Sit down next to me
    Sit down, down, down, down, down
    In sympathy

    Those who feel the breath of sadness
    Sit down next to me
    Those who find they’re touched by madness
    Sit down next to me
    Those who find themselves ridiculous
    Sit down next to me
    In love, in fear, in hate, in tears

  • ckat22

    I wish I had time to read all the comments to be sure i am not double sharing, but life is so insane right now, all I can do is offer this: “Lord is it Mine” by Supertramp. And no, it is not a hymn, despite what the title implies … my heart is breaking for you and your loved ones. As a child of multiple divorces, I can only imagine the stress of being on the other side of the equation. I think of you all often, and I do a combination of hoping, praying, and wishing (cause I’m still not sure which is the right medium for me to offer up my heart for other people) for peace, happiness and health (mental and physical) for all. You are loved. You are needed.

  • angelly

    I’ve been reading this blog for years and this is the first time I’ve posted. I just wanted to tell you that my heart is with you right now…

    “Looking Out” by Brandi Carlile
    when you feel like giving in or the coming of the end…someone loves you

    “Let Him Fly” by the Dixie Chicks
    it took awhile to understand/the beauty of just letting go

  • Anndruh

    I have to double down on the Rilo Kiley action and recommend “More Adventurous”.

    And it’s only doubts that we’re counting
    On fingers broken long ago
    I read with every broken heart we should become
    More adventurous
    And if you banish me from your profits
    And if I get banished from the kingdom up above
    I’d sacrifice money and heaven all for love
    Let me be loved, let me be loved

    And if my brain quits, well I guess then that’s just it
    And if my hands stop working you can call me lazy
    And if I get pregnant, I guess I’ll just have the baby
    Let it be loved, let me be loved

    I’ve been trying to nod my head, but it’s like I’ve got a broken neck
    Wanting to say I will as my last testament
    For me to be saved and you to be brave
    We don’t have to walk down that aisle
    ‘Cause if marriage ain’t enough
    Well at least we’ll be loved

    I felt the wind on my cheek coming down from the east
    And thought about how we are all as numerous as leaves on trees
    And maybe ours is the cause of all mankind
    Give love to make more, try to stay alive

    I’ve been trying to nod my head, but it’s like I’ve got a broken neck
    Wanting to say I will as my last testament
    For you to be saved and me to be brave
    We don’t have to walk down that aisle
    ‘Cause if marriage ain’t enough
    Well at least we’ll be loved”

  • GrangerLang

    These songs all give me strength on a pretty regular basis. Some of them hold my hand, some of them set my steely determintation to pull myself together, and some of them are like the brassy best friend that will punch someone in the face for you:

    The Lonely Forest – Let It Go http://youtu.be/u-ixmXNUFe4
    “Let it go, dear, and let your worries fall
    Let it go, dear, nothing to fear at all”

    Ben Howard – These Waters http://youtu.be/Q2mRT4njl-k
    “See these waters they’ll pull you up, Oh if you’re bolder than the darkness.
    Let these songs be an instrument to cut, Spaces between the happiness and the hardness.”

    Alabama Shakes – Hold On http://youtu.be/MPrza6iiCWU

    Blitzen Trapper – Might Find It Cheap http://youtu.be/90vNJijgsFU

    The Moondoggies – It’s a Shame, It’s a Pity http://youtu.be/xPjtbyg6GWw
    “Where’s the light coming from, where’s the light coming through?
    It’s a long way down, don’t get tangled in the crowd”

    Nico Vega – Gravity http://youtu.be/ZOkKufaZ84s
    “I’m looking at the heavy ground, I can feel it but I won’t let it drag me down
    Over time, you can kill me, but I’ll resurrect so nananananananana”

    The Ting Tings – Keep Your Head http://youtu.be/8r9vTXiocBc
    “You’ve gotta face it, Gotta go outside
    And do the day-walk”

  • __Rah__
  • Daddy Scratches

    Once, at the height of the worst depression I’ve ever experienced, I listened to Slipknot’s “Psychosocial,” like, 80 times in row.

    I don’t know that I’d recommend that for anyone else.

    But, hey: I eventually clawed my way out of that depression. And I like to pretend the song helped.

    Something more recent and more uplifting? Nero’s “Promises” (the Skrillex remix).

    Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZMfhtKa-wo

  • moghoola

    Sober by Kelly Clarkson helped me through my divorce..love the song and her voice. Spent many a night on the floor crying, listening to it on repeat. It was the good kind of cry though.

    “I don’t know,
    I could crash and burn but maybe,
    at the end of this road
    I might catch a glimpse of me.”

  • Lauren3

    I. Fucking. LOVE this song. Cannot tell you how many times I’ve blared it and yelled the lyrics while chopping the bejesus out of some vegetables for dinner.

    “Cuttooth” does it for me too (durr, Radiohead); and “Where Is My Mind?” by the Pixies, and “Don’t Make Me a Target” by Spoon, and “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel.

    If I think of more I’ll let you know. LOVE TO YOU HEATHAAAAH…

  • spoilt

    Amanda Palmer has been a very strong force of inspiration in my life the past two years. Her songs go from ecstatic-fun to gorgeously dark, but each one has the undercurrent of channeling the strength it takes to be exactly who you are. You might like this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9WZtxRWieM
    Amanda Palmer, “in My Mind.”

  • vrcmama

    I’ll be honest, I couldn’t even listen to music when my marriage was falling apart, but I did rely heavily on the “fake it ’til you make it” philosophy. Eventually, you won’t have to fake it anymore.

  • VanessaLiala


    The Head and the Heart

    Lost in My Mind

  • Fifi Coon

    Your hair is still adorable. Even on day 23.

    We all flounder – sometimes everyday.

    Kenny Chesney is my go to music – for just about anything. Makes me feel like I am on a beautiful beach somewhere drinking a margarita.

  • mishnmash

    Don’t know if you have had any Aussie contributions yet, but when I am heartbroken, I tend to go to Stuff and Nonsense covered by Missy Higgins (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bQ9JHsteWo&feature=related).

    There’s some beautiful Aussie music that get a lot of play when I am feeling sad.. Angus and Julia Stone (try ‘I’m Not Yours’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj1AOKUPYTY), Josh Pyke (try ‘Goldmines’ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE2Au_jAvso), or Clare Bowditch (try ‘Divorcee at 23′ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8oJIoMdh4s). You might find solace in the emotion of Matt Corby’s voice – his song ‘Brother’ is pretty powerful (http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/media/s3412077.htm).

    Hope you get tingles up and down your spine when you listen to these songs.. like I do..

  • Jamie Elizabeth

    Tin Foil by Rainer Maria is a good one, lots of yelling “God Damn It!” so that’s always a plus…

  • Monkey

    Well, in my post-break up moments, Ani Difranco’s “Dilate” did it for me. Actually, Ani Difranco’s music got me through a lot. “Marrow” is another good one. “Independence Day”. I could keep going on.

  • JillyMack06

    For the love of sanity…REFUSE LISTENING TO THE SMITHS or MORRISSEY. Yes, the man has the voice of an angel…the angel of depression.

  • luv and kiwi

    Both Sides Now~ Joni Mitchell
    Beware…it’s one of those songs that you need in order to break apart the remaining pieces so that you can start with a clean slate putting yourself back together correctly.

  • substances

    I’ve been listening to White Lies- Death a lot lately. It gets me dancing when I feel like I can barely pick up my legs.

  • janeingrid

    Hey Jude

  • Jamie Elizabeth

    Oh, I have more. Boy, do I have more.
    Four Winds by Bright Eyes.
    Losing It by Belle and Sebastian.
    Coughing Colors by Tilly and The Wall

  • LuckIsMyMiddleName

    Eels is always good music for depression, whether you want to wallow in it (“It’s a Motherfucker” and “Agony” are good for that) or look for hope and strength in the midst of it…in which case I recommend “Somebody Loves You”:

    Woke up with a bang
    And a bug on your face
    It crawled in your mouth
    And gave you a taste of
    The good life you left behind
    But i think you’re gonna be fine

    Somebody loves you
    And you’re gonna make it through

    This nagging malaise
    Is more than a phase
    It feels like a job
    But no boss ever pays you to lay there
    And think how you’ll die
    While the tears start to well in your eyes

    Somebody loves you
    And you’re gonna make it through

    One more saturday
    All alone through the night
    You’ve got to be sure
    When you turn out that light
    That it’s going to turn on again
    You’ve got to be your good friend

    Somebody loves you
    And you’re gonna make it through

  • smjawahir

    ‘Blower’s Daughter’ by Damien Rice.

    The attachment to the song was subsequent to an attachment to the movie ‘Closer’. I despised the move when I first saw it, but then later, at a time of darkness in my life, I became obsessed with it. Based on a play, the stark, honest, searing nature of the relationships between the characters mesmerized me. Still does, even though I have (hopefully) moved past that darker time.

  • geekjive

    “brand new day” by joshua radin – it’s very full of hope.

    It’s a brand new day
    The sun is shining
    It’s a brand new day
    For the first time
    In such a long long time
    I know
    I’ll be ok

  • appelsauce

    Like vrcmama indicated, when things are really rough, I can hardly listen to music at all. My husband has been known to do interventions when he finds me crumpled in a corner listening to Radiohead.

    However. I can ALWAYS listen to Ani DiFranco, and my all-time favorite for hard times is “Light of Some Kind” from the album “Not a Pretty Girl.” The lyrics don’t match the experience 100%, but the faith in the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, paired with the gritty instrumentals and the way she seems to be singing with her teeth clenched…. Oh man, that song has always given me strength.

  • poohbeargs

    In the midst of my current marital crisis, I have been listening to “I Am a Rock” by Simon and Garfunkel quite repetitively. I listened to it on repeat for my entire 40-minute commute to work the other day.

    I also rely heavily on the Indigo Girls at all times but even more so when I am in crisis. Some favorites for my current issues are “Love Will Come to You,” “The Wood Song,” “Hand-me-downs,” and “Love’s Recovery.” These do not, however, improve my mood…they allow me to wallow. If you are in a dark place, these might not work. Actually, “The Wood Song” is sort of uplifting, now that I think about it.

    I also enjoy angry country songs about cheating men…but my circumstances are different from yours.

    ETA – AND ALSO “Iowa” by Dar Williams, for some reason, is really doing it for me right now.

  • shotsjr

    i’ve been having a bit of a hard time myself lately…but i didn’t realize how hard it’s been until i listened to this song and (seemingly) out of nowhere started bawling. i guess i needed that…so thanks :)

  • pehuff

    I know Sarah McLachlan standards can be a bit cliche, but “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy” always makes me feel stronger. Definitely one of those songs.

    And if I shed a tear I won’t cage it.
    I won’t fear love
    And if I feel a rage I won’t deny it.
    I won’t fear love.

  • delpien

    nutshell by alice in chains. pretty mainstream, i know, but after my mom was suddenly diagnosed with stage iv colon cancer, it was the only thing i could hear for months on end, which i didn’t ~ and still don’t ~ understand because it had absolutely nothing to do with the heartache i bore. for some reason unknown to me, it touched a place in the depths of my soul, and even when it wasn’t playing endlessly on cd (at max volume, i might add), there wasn’t a time i couldn’t hear it in my head. that one simple song will forever be the soundtrack for an agonizing chapter of my life.

    coincidentally enough, mom was in remission when i happened to purchase tickets to see them perform; a week before the show she died.

  • Lauren3

    Welp, already thought of another one. This one is for when you feel like doing some motherfucking BROODING.

    “Run Myself Into the Ground” by Jessica Lea Mayfield:

    Everyone’s watching me
    and I’m starting to believe
    that I can read everyone’s mind

    That part… oooh yeah, chills.

  • KatR

    Whenever Mumford and Sons go banjo, I become instantly happy.