5) Switchfoot - "Dare You To Move" (The Beautiful Letdown, Columbia 2003)
This is one my two favorite Switchfoot songs, and just a good song to listen to anytime. Medium-hard but downtempo and melodic. Since I finished working on my Masters degree back in May, I've been having trouble finding a job in my field. This song is one of the three songs (along with "True North" and "The Greater Plan," both by Shelter) that have played a big part in keeping me motivated.
4) Rancid - "Fall Back Down" (Indestructible, Hellcat/Warner Bros 2003)
Tim Armstrong hit a pretty dark place when his wife, Brody Dalle, divorced him. His friends and bandmates in Rancid helped him out, and he wrote a song about it. "Fall Back Down," from what just might be Rancid's least fan-accepted album, is a tribute to the community that exists in the punk scene and the support you get from friends. The video featured Kelly Osbourne and one of the twins from Good Charlotte, but it's a good song anyway.
3) Shelter - "True North" (The Purpose, The Passion, Supersoul 2001)
This is the song that inspired me to start building this list months ago. Shelter were one of the more well known bands to emerge from the Krishnacore movement of 80's and 90's hardcore, blending hardcore sounds with ISKCON philosophies. There are other songs that could have made this list (such as "Mantra" or "The Greater Plan"), but "True North" stands out to me as a truly inspirational punk song. Over a relatively poppy hardcore background, Ray Cappo discusses the importance of having direction in your life and how that direction can give you the strength to push on through obstacles.
2) Rise Against - "Built To Last" (Our Impact Will Be Felt, Abacus 2007)
This is actually a Sick Of It All song that Rise Against recorded for Our Impact Will Be Felt, a Sick Of It All tribute album. I have the original song (along with the album of the same name), but when I'm in need of uplifting punk songs the Rise Against version just hits me better. "Built To Last" is a hardcore anthem that I would love to hear live someday, in which Tim McIlrath (Lou Koller in the original) declares that "[their] impact will be felt" because they're built to last.
1) Jimmy Eat World - "The Middle" (Bleed American, Dreamworks 2001)
"True North" may have inspired me to start this list, but "The Middle" immediately hit the top 5 and kept climbing as I revised it. The song delivers the plain, straightforward message of being yourself no matter what anyone else things. The video is an interesting way of illustrating the point, depicting a teenage house party. Everyone at the party is only wearing underwear, except for one fully clothed teen obviously feeling out of place. Just as he gives in and begins taking off his clothes, he finds a girl who has likewise decided to give in to the trend, and both of them change their minds and leave.