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12 Songs to Improve Your Playlists and Your Mood

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

Making playlists can be a great way to improve your mood and brighten your day. Especially in the dull, wintery days of February. Beat that seasonal slump and discover some new music with me as I go through some of my recent faves. I’ve broken down my list into three sections: Charting Bops, TikTok Discoveries and Personal Faves, so there’s bound to be something for everyone here. 

Charting bops

1. “This is why” – Paramore

I am a huge Paramore fan, so they had to end up on this list somewhere. They have so many fun tunes but I chose “This is Why” because it is the energetic first track on their newest album. If you ever feel like you’re stuck in life, put on this song and dance around your living room. 

2. “I’m Not here to Make Friends” – Sam Smith ft. Jessie Reyez & Calvin Harris

Sam Smith has been really blossoming into their own image and confidence lately and “I’m Not Here to Make Friends” is a perfect album for self-confidence and self-love. Sam Smith already kills it with the vocals but Jessie Reyez and Calvin Harris add so much life to this track. I have been loving listening to this while getting ready to go out. 

3. “Golden Hour” – JVKE

Originating on TikTok, JVKE took the charts by storm with this gorgeous track! The dramatic strings and lovely lyrical imagery evoke such warm and fuzzy feelings. I can’t help but smile when listening to “Golden Hour.” Speaking of TikTok, the next section houses some of my favorite TikTok song discoveries.

TikTOk Discoveries

1. “girlfriend” – hemlocke Springs

If you’re in the mood for a synth-heavy, 80s-inspired dance party, “girlfriend” by Hemlocke Springs is going to be your best friend. Hemlocke Springs is not only a breakout TikTok music star, but is also a recent Dartmouth graduate! She recently received her Master’s Degree back in November of last year!

2. “Cure for me” – Aurora

Originally released on AURORA’s 2022 album, The Gods We Can Touch, “Cure For Me” went viral on TikTok because its chorus samples a bit of instrumental that sounds very similar to the Coconut Mall theme from Mario Kart Wii. Coconut Mall was always my favorite track back in the day, and this little hit of nostalgia always puts a smile on my face. 

3. “Nexus (Is It Over)” – Austin & The Powers

This is my most recent TikTok discovery. The lead singer of Austin & The Powers started to appear on many For You page because of his voice’s uncanny similarity to that of the lead singer of the recently disbanded Panic! At the Disco, Brendon Urie. “Nexus (Is It Over)” is such a feel-good track that gives me big summer road trip vibes!

Personal Faves

1. “Paradsin'” – Rina Sawayama

Rina Sawayama’s 2020 self-titled album is one of the most impressive albums I have listened to in recent music history. I wrote a review on it with our college radio station back in 2021 that you can check out at wznd.com. Track 6, “Paradisin’” sounds like it just jumped out of an early 2000s high school chick flick, and it couldn’t be more perfect for a list like this. I find myself turning this song up and bopping to it in my car no matter how many times I’ve heard it. 

2. “Everybody’s Gay” – Lizzo

While this is technically a Halloween song, I find myself listening to it all year round. Of course, everyone knows that Lizzo is the queen of self-love bops. This “Thriller”-inspired, instant Halloween party classic preaches “taking your mask off” (pun intended) to just let loose and be yourself. Plus, the guitar and synth breakdown toward the end gets me pumped up every time. 

3. “Mona Lisa” – Sabrina Carpenter

This last addition is a criminally underrated pick from Sabrina Carpenter. “Mona Lisa” comes from Sabrina’s 2018 album, Singular: Act I, so it is a bit of a deep cut from a few years ago. But, if you’re looking for another getting-ready-playlist jam, this one is smooth, sexy, self-confident perfection. 

No matter what occasion you’re building your playlist for, these twelve tracks have a surplus of serotonin. Happy listening! 

Sonny Crull

Illinois State '23

Hi! My name is Sonny Crull, I am a Senior at Illinois State, and I'm majoring in Interpersonal Communications with a minor in Music! As a writer, I aim to use my voice and platform through Her Campus to share fun, engaging, and relatable content.