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33 Songs That Can Actually Change Your Life

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." —Victor Hugo

We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community about the songs that have helped them through hard times. Here are their powerful stories.

1. Imagine Dragons, "Demons"

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My friend died from an accidental drug overdose and it broke me. This song healed me and it gives me some sort of peace when I feel down.


2. Coldplay, "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"

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I was going through the ugly crying phase of unrequited love (the part where you realize the object of your affections is in love with someone else and you feel like you'll never be OK again). During one of the rare occasions when I ventured from the safety of my room, I turned on MTV and this song was playing.

It felt like a sign from the universe that everything would get better, and it did.

—Aaron Gatapia (Facebook)

3. Demi Lovato, "Skyscraper"

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It may seem super cliché, but I've been battling a lot of the same issues she's dealt with for several years, and it always serves as a reminder that I can get through this too. I've seen her quite a few times live and have bawled like a baby every time she's sang it.

—Kaitlyn Mueller (Facebook)

4. Idina Menzel, "Defying Gravity"

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This song went through a few stages in our relationship. My mom played it on every car ride, so naturally I hated it. Then I actually started to listen to the lyrics and it spoke to my angsty 15-year-old heart. :) Now it's seven years later and I still have it on my "Kick This Day's Ass" playlist!


5. Ingrid Michaelson, "Empty Bottle"

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When I was diagnosed with cancer I listened to this song at least two times a day for six months. Now whenever I feel defeated, blue, or empty, I play it on repeat.

"You're still you, remember you / Rosy child, strong and wild / With apple lungs / You, you breathe with ease / Floating on the breeze"


6. Survivor, "Eye of the Tiger"

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I had to take a six-week hiatus from the track & field team two weeks before a big competition because of a broken ankle. The doctor told me I wouldn't go back to distance jumping, and I listened nonstop to this song during physical therapy.

Three months later I was able to jump again; I was on my senior year so I didn't have a chance to compete again, but I got fully recovered and later joined another athletic team.


7. U2, "Walk On"

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I went through depression and anxiety following an abusive relationship and my mom's cancer diagnosis. This song told me I could get through the pain and overcome everything I was feeling.

It made me believe this was only temporary and brighter days were ahead. And I did overcome.

—Tracy Lytwyn (Facebook)

8. Coldplay, "Fix You"

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I heard this song right after my aunt passed away from cancer. It will always remind me of her and that although I'm sad to see her go, she's finally home.


9. Bloodhound Gang, "Bad Touch"

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I was working third shift in a hotel and HATED it, plus I'd just gone through a nasty breakup so I didn't have a lot to laugh at. But every night on my way into work they'd play the top songs of the day and "Bad Touch" was always No. 1.

It was such a goofy song, it got me to laughing. Couple weeks of that and I was back to myself.


10. Modest Mouse, "Float On"

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I recently just lost a friend and I listened to this song on repeat on the way back from the funeral. It really spoke to me that life goes on.


11. Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel, "For Good" (Wicked Soundtrack)

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This summer, I spent a month in France studying abroad. Five days after coming home, I got a call that my grandma was in the hospital. At the time, we thought it was a stroke, but it turned out to be a brain aneurysm and there was nothing we could do. I was absolutely heartbroken.

She never missed anything I participated in: She was at every soccer game, every dance recital, and this May, she watched me walk across the stage at my college graduation. I can't even put into words how proud of me she was.

She wanted the very best for me.

Her warm heart will forever be a part of me. "It well may be that we will never meet again in this lifetime / So, let me say before we part / So much of me is made of what I learned from you / You'll be with me like a handprint on my heart."

—Emily Back (Facebook)

12. Green Day, "Wake Me Up When September Ends"

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2010 was my hell year. I had a miscarriage in April, my husband left because of it in June, and my mother, who was my last surviving family member, died late that August. By September I felt like I had suddenly awakened on another planet and felt like I was in a fog until the end of the year.

That song just seemed to fit so eerily well.


13. One Direction, "Happily"

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This song got me through panic attacks in school. Whenever I felt panicky, I sang it and it helped me to forget what was going on and cheered me up.


14. Fun., "We Are Young"

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My friend had heart surgery and didn't make it. He was 18.

I remember my friends and I coming home from the hospital hearing this song for the first time, and that became the song that whenever we were feeling sad we would drive around blasting it. I still listen to it and think back — it's a sad song for all my friends but also one that just make us smile.


15. Pharrell, "Happy"

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I listened to this when academic stuff got too overwhelming and I just had to convince myself that I was happy in order to keep on moving and finishing everything I had to do. Now whenever I listen to that song, I remember those sleepless nights I spent listening to it and it makes me happy that I made it through that rough patch in my college life.


16. Bleachers, "I Wanna Get Better"

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For when I realize I'm horrible at something and get upset, and I need to realize as long as I'm better tomorrow than I was today, it's a success.


17. Sia, "Death by Chocolate"

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It's about a girl experiencing her first heartbreak, but it applies to many things for me. It happened to come on when I walked away from a meeting with people I thought would help me during a confusing and lonely time for me and they didn't. This song basically says, "Yeah, it hurts now, eat chocolate to your heart's content — it won't kill you — and in the end you'll be OK."

—Tolani O. (Facebook)

18. Queen and David Bowie, "Under Pressure"

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Earlier this year, I was going through an incredibly difficult time at work. I was under constant fear of being fired, and doing everything I could to avoid that. I wasn't sleeping and was incredibly depressed.

One particular night, I had one of many panic attacks and decided to turn on some music to calm down. Nothing was working, and it'd been almost 30 minutes. Finally, this song popped into my head and immediately this wave of calm came over me. I finally went to sleep, and began playing it every night on a loop after that. Five months after that night, I decided to quit that job.

I found a new one and I'm so incredibly happy and I love what I do. This song reminds me how far I've come from that dark place. Freddie Mercury and David Bowie saved my life.


19. Avicii, "Wake Me Up"

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This song got me through a really bad breakup. It taught me that there was still so much about myself that I didn't know yet, and now was the time to find out. "All this time I was finding myself, and I didn't know I was lost."

It also inspired me to go public with my DJing, which has been a blast.

—Tison Hiland (Facebook)

20. Rilo Kiley, "A Better Son or Daughter"

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I was in the hospital and hadn't been able to cry for months. One of the staff had written the words down for me because after talking to her for so long, she said that the lyrics reminded her of me. I was finally able to cry and she broke the rules and hugged me as I sobbed.

I listen to that every time I'm depressed. I actually went to Boston Calling over the summer and saw Jenny Lewis, the lead singer for Rilo Kiley, and she played that song. I sobbed in the audience.

—LeAhh Marie (Facebook)

21. Paramore, "Last Hope"

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I was going through a rough time with anxiety, losing friendships, and dealing with an injury. The song is about telling yourself that it's OK if things aren't going great. Sometimes you just have to let go of the things you want to control, and at the end of the day, that dim light at the end of the tunnel will help you keep going.


22. Mumford & Sons, "The Cave"

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It was what helped me first get sober. "So make your siren's call and sing all you want / I will not hear what you have to say / 'Cause I need freedom now and I need to know how to live my life as it's meant to be." It helped me to realize that there was more to my life than drinking and using and wanting to die. It was my song to my addiction, telling it to fuck off and let me live a full and healthy life.


23. Tom Petty, "Learning to Fly"

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This song reminds me that life is constantly changing, and those changes are what makes me learn and grow. I might stumble and fall, but I learn something from every experience, good or bad.


24. Jewel, "You Were Meant for Me"

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It didn't get me through a breakup, as the lyrics would suggest. It somehow helped me get past the confusing and unexpected death of a friend. I think it was just how emotional she sounds when she's singing it... It just fit.

In hindsight, it probably wasn't safe to be singing along and crying so hard while I was driving.

—Jessica Zepp (Facebook)

25. Hillsong United, "Oceans"

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My grandfather died in January, and on the day of his funeral I got news that a friend of mine was killed in a car accident. In the next few months it felt like death was following me. I needed some hope again, and this song was a catalyst to healing for me.


26. My Chemical Romance, "Helena"

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My cousin died in March from a heroin overdose, and one of my best friends I had been living with committed suicide in June. I had never dealt with death before, and I lost two of my favorite people in the whole world within a few months. It is easily the hardest thing I have ever gone through.

I remember the day I found out my cousin was in a coma, my friend who has since passed sat with me on our porch and he talked to me while I cried. He loved My Chemical Romance and told me to listen to them because they had gotten him through some hard times. I didn't know this song would also help me through his death but now every time I hear it I can't stop thinking about either one of them and how much they loved me.

—Dakota Duncan (Facebook)

27. Jason Mraz, "Song for a Friend"

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This is the song I always listen to when I'm in a bit of a funk in my life, since I was about 15 years old. It's such a powerful and uplifting song that tells you to find the positive in not only yourself but in everything around you.

Everything will work out in the end. :)

—Tonianne Tartaro (Facebook)

28. Taylor Swift, "Safe and Sound"

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My senior year of college, I was severely depressed, to the point of being suicidal many nights. I played the song over and over and over during those really bad nights. Once I got a handle on my depression, I got the words tattooed on my wrist so I could always remember how far I've come — and that no matter what, come morning light, you and I'll be safe and sound.

—Krissy Vanderbeck (Facebook)

29. Metallica, "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)"

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I was 17. My mother was just put in hospice care; she was literally in a sanitarium. This song helped me feel all I needed to when I was alone so I could pull myself together and help everyone else by not breaking down. I took care of [my mother] myself, so up until that point I knew how to deal with it in reality, but sitting alone in my room was scary.

Everything about that song made me cope with the world I was in.

—Erica Cruise (Facebook)

30. "The Coolest Girl" (A Very Potter Sequel)

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Going through bullying in the sixth grade, I felt like I could really connect with Hermione when she sings this song.

"Wake up, kid, you know you're more than this…"


31. Jack's Mannequin, "Swim"

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My dad has been going through pancreatic cancer for six-plus years. When we first found out, he wasn't supposed to live longer than a year. That song was played constantly in my car or in my studio in college.

This song made me stronger and made me feel so comforted. The meaning behind it makes it that much more touching. Andrew McMahnon (the lead singer) was diagnosed with, fought, and beat leukemia. That song is about that — about keeping on and just fighting through. I still cry every time I listen to it. It touches me every single time.

—Angela Jensen (Facebook)

32. Carole King, "Way Over Yonder"

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It's so hard to choose just one, but this song has gotten me through many rough times. Whenever I listen to this song, I'm reminded to never stop dreaming and to never stop reaching for the impossible.

Everything will be OK.


33. Christina Aguilera, "Hurt"

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This song meant a lot to me when my dad died of an overdose. I hadn't talked to him in months because at the time I hated him. I couldn't help him with his addiction and I had a lot of regret and guilt.

The song talks about all of that. I sang it at his funeral.

—Brian Frank (Facebook)

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