Uplifting, resilient, hopeful …. these are words that can be used to describe Cliffdiver’s latest single “IKEA Strikes Back.” But as we’ve seen, emo is not always an uplifting genre, working out difficult feelings through song. So Cliffdiver’s latest track made us stand up and take notice, and we reached out to the band to get their picks for 10 Emo Songs That Are Actually Happy and Positive.
The band’s Briana Wright, Joey Duffy and Matt Ehler were all kind enough to share their picks, offering insight into how each of their choices impacted their own lives.
But before we turn it over to the band, let’s take a listen to “IKEA Strikes Back.” The song is featured on their newly released album Exercise Your Demons, which is now available at this location. You can also pick up the song here and catch the band on tour at these dates.
Cliffdriver, “IKEA Strikes Back”
Now, see Cliffdiver’s picks for 10 Emo Songs That Are Actually Happy and Positive below.
“To The Tune of 5,000 Screaming Children”
The Juliana Theory
I wore this song all the way out when I was a kid. Like a lot of teenagers, I felt misunderstood and like the rest of the world was trying to gaslight me into giving up my power. The chorus “We’re not misinformed or misdirected / Functioning on your subjective” became a real anthem for me and makes me feel validated and empowered to this day. —Bri
“Crying Is Cool”
This song feels like a warm blanket and the words feel like they’re directly from your best and oldest friend. I’m definitely the kind of person who needs to be told that it’s okay to feel and to cry and to take up space and to fall apart. Also, the lead singer Willow just has one of my favorite voices in the world. —Bri
This one always drags a smile across my face. There’s so much turmoil and uncertainty but this song reminds us that there’s always a moment for consideration that, y’know, maybe you really were trying your best and got it right just a little bit. It’s far too easy to give in to the shame of making mistakes if you don’t learn to give yourself a little credit. —Bri
Spanish Love Songs
I picked this song because it gives me hope. Being able to yell out the frustrations, fears and pain that the band sings about so eloquently on my bad days, I’m able to find such camaraderie in the lyrics, and I instantly don’t feel so alone in depths of that despair.
The line “Am I going to be this down forever” is so powerful because we know that the answer to the question is, no, it won’t always be like this. That’s what happy feels like to me. Plus, on good days I can listen to it and say “Boy, I’m glad I don’t relate to this today” lol. —Joey
This is one of my absolute favorites. It’s such a witty song, both gnostic and crude as only Max Bemis can do with lines that are permanently stuck in my head. It’s a call to action that — despite a seemingly indifferent universe —there is purpose and beauty to be had if we’re willing to work for it.
It’s been my mantra for years, and some days I felt like Max was singing right to me “you CAN do better, you don’t have to settle for misery.” No matter how dark it got, I just gave up, I knew I could be better. Plus, it’s just a banger track, the string plucks give me life. —Joey
“Came Out Swinging”
The Wonder Years
It gets me pumped! It’s about the grind of tour and of personal growth. Tour is hard, especially in your 30s, so the lines about long drives, eating fast food and lower back pain are all too real. Dan then pivots and talks about his growth and declares with a huge outro that I’ve screamed over and over “I spent the winter writing songs about getting better and if I’m being honest i’m getting there!” What better feeling is there than that? You can’t help but to smile when you’re done singing along. —Joey
Origami angel is one of my favorite emo bands to emerge in the last 5 years or so. Such a cool and unique style (especially considering they’re a duo) and this song really showcases that.
It just brings you back to that nostalgic feeling of being a care-free kid without responsibilities, but at the same time, it kind of reminds you that “Hey, you’re still that same kid, even though it feels different now.” Accepting who you are and the choices you’ve made are a huge part of finally being content with yourself and this song does a great job of pushing you to do just that. —Matt
Oso Oso pretty much writes nothing but hits and this song is no exception. I love the vibe of this track and its dynamics between the verse and chorus. To me, it tells a story of someone who maybe doesn’t view themselves in the best light and is unable to see what they truly are because they flood out the good things with what they don’t like about themselves.
Sometimes you need a third party, or the ability to see yourself from someone else’s point of view to realize how special you actually are. —Matt
“The Sands Have Turned Purple”
This track does a great job of just getting me hyped and feeling that I can leave my failures behind me to look toward a brighter future. The lyrics aren’t necessarily presented as “happy” or “positive” but I’ve always taken it as a hopeful message that we can learn from our mistakes as humans and intentionally grow and evolve. —Matt
This is another really fun track that actually has a tinge of feelings of self-doubt and inability to change — but overall it presents a hopeful tone that it is in fact possible to take a step back, take a breath and with a cool head, you can see a little more clearly. —Matt
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