Even a brief stroll through my playlists will reveal one simple truth about my musical taste: I really, really like sad songs. From gentle melancholy, to dramatic despair, to bittersweet nostalgia, my favorite songs tend to at least touch if not full-on cannon ball into the deep end of emotional tragedy. But even I sometimes get a craving for a pick-me-up, and when that happens, the tracks on this playlist are often the first ones I turn to.

Rather than an aggressive, forced-joy type of collection (though I have that too, I assure you!), these songs exemplify an effortless optimism. There are also subtle traces of emotional complexity woven through many of them, whether in lyrics that call into question a cheerful melody, or musical touches that hint at obstacles behind and forward from this moment of euphoria. Whether as an oasis from your sad-hours playlist too, or an addition to more cheerful listening habits, I hope these tracks make you, well, feel good!