5 albums to make your mind, body and spirit happy

With winter finally releasing us from its frigid, bitter and gnarled clutches, we can now look forward to weekend excursions to the beach, ice-cold lemonade underneath a towering maple tree and blasting the radio to our favorite summer jams on cross-country road trips. But shaking off seasonal affective disorder, which plagues more than five percent of the American population, can be a behemoth of a task--trust me. As the temperatures bubble above 60 degrees and the sun hangs longer and farther in the sky, moods begin to shift--at least for most of us, researchers believe roughly one percent suffer from summertime sadness--and we become unclouded by that looming ominous presence.

To jumpstart a liberated mind, here are five albums, ranging from pop to country, to help free yourself from the chains of depression:

Signs of Light, The Head and the Heart

The jovial production style will undoubtedly get stuck between your ears. It's haunting but can only brighten any mood. Whether you are feeling particularly sad or disheartened or numb, this folk-pop's brand of tunes serves as a reminder of life's absolute sweetness.

Perfect for: a late-night view of the cityscape as you sip some blackberry-biting merlot on a rooftop somewhere tucked away from the crunching noise of civilization.

Road Less Traveled, Lauren Alaina

As far as well-crafted, emotionally-rich and utterly-authentic pop-country albums go, Alaina's sophomore effort checks all the right boxes. Her voice has finally come into its own, and she doesn't shy away from the more anguished anecdotes from her life. It's hard to believe she used to compete on American Idol.

Perfect for: sunning by the pool, popping a cold one (if that's your thing) and just hanging out with the besties.

More Than Just a Dream, Fitz & the Tantrums

There's something magical about the band's gentle nudge, as if the sun itself reaches down its proverbial hand and peels back the shades of our lives. As the profess on the album's title track, life is more than just a dream: it's visceral and tangible and you can claim it whenever you want to. You just have to destroy the walls constructed around your mind.

Perfect for: that weekend bonfire out in the middle of nowhere, a place where only you can dance, dance, dance and be free from the pressures of reality.

Carnival Ride, Carrie Underwood

Underwood's voice is warm and it envelopes you from within. When she rips the top off songs like "Flat on the Floor," you can't help but stand up and cheer, and in turn, your soul rejoices, too.

Perfect for: spring cleaning, both metaphorically and literally--as you sweep away the cobwebs and dusty bunnies, jamming out and pretending you are headlining Madison Square Garden is the perfect way to wash away any sour mood.

I Say Yes, J Sutta

Talk about an album that conquers all. If you are seeking out a record to completely wash your sorrow and angst away, J Sutta's splashy debut album is electrifying. Packed with dance fever and intense hooks, the record will make you one and the same with the beats, with the unfettered intoxication of freedom--and you'll never look back.

Perfect for: glitter raves.

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