Let's face it: the world is kind of a terrible place these days. Most news outlets and media are filled with news of crime, terror attacks, and modern-day Nazis (among other things). You can barely turn on the television or go on the computer without seeing or reading about the most recent string of negativity that is being presented. So what are we supposed to do to bring any bit of positivity to these bleak and troubled times?

Admittedly, this can be a rather personal question. What you do to make things in your life less negative is entirely up to you. As for me, I'm one of the people who always turns to music for every occasion. If I've had a good day, a bad day, or a whatever kind of day, music is always the answer. For me, the following five artists are always perfect for any occasion.

1. *NSYNC

Alright, I'll admit it. Like many other people of my generation, I had a "boy band" phase. However, mine started about seven years after *NSYNC went on hiatus, and it didn't start because I heard their music on the radio or found it on YouTube. It actually started with a series of parody videos called the "Wimpy Boy Band Series". These videos made me laugh, so I decided to look into the source material to see just how good it was. Of course, I recognized some of their songs since I had heard them throughout my life, but I just hadn't gotten into their music before. It didn't take long for me to really get into it, and now songs like "Pop" and "It's Gonna Be Me" are some of my go-to songs to give me a mood boost, no matter what.

2. Backstreet Boys

Since I was horrendously late to the battle of the boy bands that dominated the late '90s and early 2000s, I didn't pick one group over the other. For me, the main difference between the two comes from the fact that the Backstreet Boys are still an active presence in the music world. When I started getting into their music (again, thanks to the "Wimpy Boy Band Series"), they had recently released their album This Is Us and some of the songs from that album dominated my "Recently Played" playlist, especially "Straight Through My Heart" and "Bigger." Of course, I couldn't ignore the sheer domination of some of their older hits, like "I Want It That Way" and "As Long As You Love Me."

3. Billy Idol

During the days of my childhood, the music of my house was dominated by various artists of the '70s and '80s. Some of my favorite artists growing up included Mötley Crüe and Twisted Sister (which I wrote about at length here), and these artists will always hold a special place in my heart. One artist who holds a permanent place on my "Recently Played" playlist is Billy Idol. Why? I honestly don't know. It could be that some of his biggest hits are great to dance to, especially "Dancing With Myself" and "Rebel Yell." It could also be that some of his songs are just extremely catchy. I still can't hear the opening riff of "White Wedding Pt I" without taking the time to listen to the whole song.

4. Def Leppard

One of my favorite bands since roughly the age of 12, Def Leppard is always playing somewhere in the back of my mind. Sometimes when I am asked what my favorite band is, I think back to when I was in sixth grade music class and we were asked to name our favorite artists. When it was my turn to answer, I thought for a moment before decisively answering "Def Leppard", which my classmates all giggled about. Despite the fact that their first album came out in 1980, Def Leppard is still an active group in the music world, promoting the 30th anniversary of their album Hysteria and actively touring. Like them, I will always jam out to songs like "Photograph" and "Hysteria." Of course, who can't forget one of their most well known songs, "Pour Some Sugar On Me," which has been covered by countless bands, including...

5. Ninja Sex Party

Despite the silly and sexual nature of their original works, Ninja Sex Party is an awesome band. I have written at length about NSP and their songs, so I won't sit here and repeat myself. Any of their songs are guaranteed to improve my mood and make any time better, especially their cover of "Take On Me" or their original song "Attitude City." With a new original album, a new cover album, and a tour in the works, NSP is one of my favorite bands that isn't going anywhere any time soon.

6. Sonata Arctica

It's a funny story... My discovery of Sonata Arctica was something of an accident. One random day when I was in my early teens, I was browsing YouTube and came across a series of videos called the "Legend of Zelda: The Abridged Series" by a Youtuber by the name of adamwestslapdog that was a comedic parody of the main story of the video game The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Once this series was completed, the series continued by covering the plot of The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
I'm sure you're wondering what on earth this has to do with how I discovered my favorite band. Well, for "Majora's Mask: The Abridged Series," adamwestslapdog decided to change the theme song to be something more fitting to the plot of the game. This song happened to be Sonata Arctica's "FullMoon." I looked into this band even more afterward, and they quickly became one of my all time favorite bands. Songs like "Paid in Full" and "Blank File" dominated my "Recently Played" playlist, and whenever they release a new album, I exclusively listen to it for at least a week afterward. There are often times where I will sit and listen through their album Pariah's Child featuring songs like "The Wolves Die Young" and "Cloud Factory" just because I enjoy it that much.

Listening to music can drastically affect peoples' moods, and more often than not, it improves mine for the better and reminds me that there are good things to be enjoyed in the world. In these troubling times, we need to focus on the things that bring us joy to remind us that there is good around. Hopefully by sharing the things that bring me joy, I have brought you some as well.