Too much tertiary education... Former performer/wrestler, teacher, scientist; Published author & Father... Want to be a writer if I grow up...
Published September 23rd 2022
Music makes things better
It feels like we, as a world, have spent the past three years waiting for things to get "better", to somehow improve. And while things are slowly getting there, for many the idea of "better" seems nebulous.
So, I have gone through my collection to find songs about things getting better. This means these songs all have "better" in the title somewhere.
But that led to a small problem – not every "better" song is about things getting better. Some are demands, as in a "You better do as you're told!" sort of thing. So, as usual, a lot of listening to great music occurred to make sure I was only including affirmations. This does mean songs like 'Better Be Home Soon' by Crowded House don't make the cut. I also avoided songs with purely negative connotations. That still left me with more than enough for a strong list.
The usual rules also apply here: one song per artists, one version of each song, and I need to like the song. Let's see what we can do about "better"!
'Things Are Getting Better' by the Kinks (1964)
Early Kinks, when they were a part of the British Invasion following on the heels of the success of The Beatles. This is typical of the era, but it is actually a decent song in itself, with the guitar sound that would come to define the band in the 60s.
'I'll Feel A Whole Lot Better' by The Byrds (1965)
An interesting song, this one, as the singer knows he'll feel better… once the person he's singing to is out of his life. That's a… a concept. But the band's vocal harmonies are so wonderful and the playing behind them is really strong as well.
'Getting Better' by The Beatles (1967)
From the classic Sgt Pepper's album, this under-rated track is a song that really pushes forward a positive message. As I said in my review, Lennon's rejoinders to McCartney's statements in the verses are like a subverted call and response. But this is a track that does not get enough love from a great album.
'It's Getting Better' by Mama Cass (1969)
One of Mama Cass' solo tracks, away from The Mamas And the Papas, this song is a decent enough showcase of her voice without it going over the top. Just a standard hippy track, yet lifted to heights by Cass' singing.
'I Should Have Known Better' by Jim Diamond (1984)
I know I wanted to have mainly positive songs here, but this is a sentiment that so many people can relate to, and I just love this song. He's lost the girl, but he knows he should have done things better to keep her. Simple. And sad. Diamond's voice makes it and he does manage to soar nicely.
'Things Can Only Get Better' by Howard Jones (1985)
A player of synth-heavy 1980s New Wave music, Howard Jones had a few hits before fading away. This is one of his better tunes, a song that really pushes the positive sentiments.
'Should've Known Better' by Richard Marx (1987)
Richard Marx has been accused of being over-produced, and that is probably valid, but his songs were still catchy and so easy to sing along to. This one is another song of regretting a past choice, but is sung in such an up-beat fashion.
'Better' by The Screaming Jets (1991)
Who cares what they say, you and I know better, right? That's the message of this song in a nutshell, and sometimes it's this sort of passive aggressive affirmation that we need to get ourselves out of a rut and push ahead.
'Music Sounds Better With You' by Stardust (1998)
I am not normally one for dance pop, and in the late 90s I was in a very retro phase of my music collecting, but there was something about this song that just hit the right chords with me, and I have enjoyed it ever since. Fun fact: this was the only song released by the band; they deliberately disbanded after its release.
'Life Is Better With You' by Eskimo Joe (2004)
An interesting sounding song from Eskimo Joe, one that goes from alt-rock to a sort of pop-rock in the chorus. I think that change-up is why I like it so much, and the lyrics are positive as well.
'Life Can't Get Much Better' by Good Charlotte (2016)
When Good Charlotte first came on the scene, I was not a fan. They sounded like every other pop-rock band out there. Some of their songs were okay, but that was it. Fast forward to 2016 and this song, which actually spoke to me as a much older man, with some good lyrics and a feel that I enjoyed. Colour me surprised – I like the song. A lot.
'Soon You'll Get Better' by Taylor Swift feat. The Chicks (2019)
One of the highlights from Swift's Lover album, this song harkens back a little to her country days, helped by the addition of the (formerly Dixie) Chicks. It really is a pleasant song.
'Better Than I Am' by Keith Urban (2020)
This was one of the stand-out tracks from Urban's The Speed Of Now album, a pleasant ballad that really sounds like Keith means it as he sings it. And what better declaration of love than saying your partner is better than you?
'In Better Times' by Paul Weller (2021)
From the Fat Pop album, this track has some amazing lyrics and is, in all a beautiful song. It is quite the uplifting piece of music and one of the highlights from an album that I think more people should have taken note of.
Wow! So many from the twenty-first century! That was not something I was ready for! The 60s, sure, it was a time of some optimism, but this century? Anyway, this has been an interesting cross-section of music, covering a few genres and many singers and years over the course of 15 songs.
At any rate, I hope you have found a song or two here to make you feel better about anything.
The first song that popped into my head when I read your blurb was The Beatles Getting Better. But there are many great songs in this list. The one that really got to me was Should have known better by Jim Diamond.
Wow that one really brought back some real memories for me. Such a great song that I had forgotten about.