Top 10 uplifting albums

Brighten up your day with music

The music business sometimes seems to have an obsession towards melancholy, depressing, maudlin songs, with many musicians seeing this as the way to go to earn artistic recognition. But while some people may revel in the misery created by listening to downbeat songs, there are times when most people will want to listen to something more uplifting – songs that make you feel energized, lift your spirits, and leave you feeling as though you are ready to tackle anything in your daily life and exercise.

To set you on your way, the team at have selected some of the best ‘uplifting’ albums to listen to, which will ultimately leave you feeling good – often through their sheer energy – once you’ve listened to them.

Today/Summer Days and Summer Nights – The Beach Boys (1965)

Releases of the legendary Beach Boys’ earlier material tend to be packaged as two albums for the price of one – giving you double the enjoyment. Anything that conjures up images of sun and surfing is likely to put a smile on your face – and The Beach Boys deliver just that, with largely upbeat tracks such as California Girls and Help Me Rhonda being among those you’ll already know (unless you have been surfing on another planet!). The luscious harmonies in every song make this an essential uplifting listen.

Scissor Sisters – Scissor Sisters (2004)

An album as outrageous as the outfits worn by the band that produced it. This has a complete sense of fun about it, and it not an album to be missed. The album draws on influences far and wide – from the likes of Elton John, Grace Jones, to the Pet Shop Boys. It even features a camped-up cover version of a Pink Floyd classic! It’s really a bizarre mix – not quite glam rock but never far from it – and contains some of the best hooks and melodies you are likely to hear. Listening to this album and its lyrical content will definitely leave you smiling.

Funeral – The Arcade Fire (2005)

For an album written at a time when family members of the band had passed away – hence the title – this is a surprisingly upbeat debut album. There are quieter moments but in the main The Arcade Fire – a five-piece line-up augmented by string sections – produce a euphoric sound within a very good collection of indie-pop songs. Comparisons can be drawn with Pulp, Talking Heads and Bjork – but that is not a criticism, just a reflection of the energy and style of the album. For those moments that take you down, this is an album that will make you feel considerably more uplifted and energized.


So Much For The City – The Thrills (2003)

Drawing heavily on the US west coast sound typified by luminaries such as The Beach Boys (see above!), this debut album has plenty of toe-tapping tunes that have a familiarity which makes them instantly likeable. You’ll find yourself saying ‘This one sounds a bit like…’, but this should not deter you from taking in the relaxing summer sound of the album. You may be familiar with tracks Big Sur and One Horse Town, which helped bring the Dublin band to the public’s attention.


Hopes and Fears – Keane (2004)

Simply an album without a single bad track on it. There are no guitars within earshot, as the melodic tunes are all piano-and-percussion-based – and this gives the songs an indie-rock feel that sounds quite different to anything else. While there are many melancholy bittersweet anthems here, the album is still uplifting, with tracks such as Somewhere Only We Know and Everybody’s Changing managing to create an epic sound which is enhanced by singer Tom Chaplin’s soaring vocals. If you’ve not managed to hear any of this album yet, then give it a try – you may be surprised how uplifting it is!

All Mod Cons – The Jam (1978)

The short, punchy album really hit the mark, and although the themes are at times a reflection of the grim realities of life in the UK in the late 1970s, there is enough raw energy from the three-piece line-up to lift your spirits. The distinctive bass lines, clinical drumming and urgent guitar-work make this album stand out from others of this ilk in the punk/new wave era. You may likely already know tracks like Down In The Tubestation At Midnight and David Watts but there is so much more on offer, and to ignore this album would be to miss out on feeling good.

Employment – Kaiser Chiefs (2005)

An album that proves Britpop is alive and kicking! There are enough rip-roaring catchy tunes here – such as Every Day I Love You Less And Less and I Predict A Riot – to make you positively bounce with energy. Once you hear these songs it is almost guaranteed that you won’t be able to get them out of your head. And the album doesn’t just have storming tracks – there are also others that slow the mood, but not the sort that end up leaving you drained. All in all, it’s generally an album of boundless energy – and this will almost inevitably transfer to you.

Together We’re Heavy – The Polyphonic Spree (2004)

You cannot fail to be uplifted by this, since the 20-plus members of The Polyphonic Spree create such a mass of orchestral and vocal sound that the room around you will be virtually vibrating. In addition to their vocals, the choir use keyboards, guitars, strings, brass – and just about anything else they can lay their hands on – to create beautiful music. The melodies are catchy, each track runs into the next, and generally the whole album will make you smile every time you hear it. And the chances are you will have heard some of this on a TV advert or two. 

Hot Fuss – The Killers (2004)

This record contains breathless keyboard-filled indie-rock that seems to draw much of its influence from the music of the 1980s, and is very upbeat. The album has a boundless energy which starts during the raw power of the opener and is sustained right through till the end – and even has a Gospel choir thrown in for good measure. The infectious melodies will quickly infuse themselves into your brain, meaning that this is an album you’ll never forget – even if you’re silly enough to want it to. If you need a quick-fire boost, just listening to the first few tracks should do the trick.

London Calling – The Clash (1979)

There are more than enough musical styles on this double release – from rock to rockabilly to reggae – that to dismiss it as just another ‘punk’ album would be an injustice. There is something for everyone here, and despite its general lyrical themes of hardship, it is not downbeat – and the music has so much energy that you cannot fail to be roused by it. Even if you do not listen to another ‘punk’ album again, try this and be pleasantly surprised.


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