Music can be a significant mood determinant. When I’m feeling down, more often than not, I wind up listening to music that accompanies that feeling. This can be cathartic, and I’m the last person who would ever swear off the habit; in the wrong mood, optimistic pieces are unable to bring about any reparation. Still, I’ve come to recognize that, when taken to an extreme, this amounts to nothing more than wallowing. If you can find the right song(s) for it, it’s helpful just to listen to some positive music to help your mood follow.
I have a lot of songs I can turn to for this, but the song that has unfailingly provided me with a happy place for over a year now is “I’d Rather Be With You” by Joshua Radin. Part of this comes from my personal associations with it, particularly its positioning in the Scrubs episode “My Cookie Pants,” but the song has a sunny disposition from the first picking of its guitar riff that just makes its positivity impossible to resist.
The acoustic-pop ballad is much in line with all of Radin’s work: stripped-down, full of honest emotion, and sung with whisper-soft, soothing vocals. “I’d Rather Be With You”—coming from Radin’s 2008 album Simple Times—is a carefree song about a calm realization of love and deciding it’s time to take a leap while encouraging the other person, “Say you feel the way I do.” But rather than a will-they-won’t-they tone, the song is full of hope and pure affection, vicariously filling the listener with the warmth it carries.
Sonically, it perfectly matches the lyrics. Its light guitar riff has a rhythm reminiscent of someone with a skip in their step, and Radin’s gentle vocals perfectly fit the gentle feelings of which he sings. The song feels like warm, earthy tones, patient smiles, and a cool, spring breeze all wrapped up in one, and it’s nigh impossible to avoid getting swept up in it.
Some days, you need to lean on something with complex encouragements. Others, you’re going to want something aggressively positive. But if what you’re in the mood for is a subdued contentedness, “I’d Rather Be With You” can undoubtedly supply that, regardless of if you relate to the love story it presents. It’s a wonderful supplement to a good day, and the perfect cure for a rainy one.