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THESE 20 SONGS ARE GOING TO MAKE YOU HAPPY SAYS ONE SEASONED NEWSPAPER WRITER

  We all want to be happy but sometimes we don’t know where to find it. In a world that is so often racked by bad news & misery, our happy zones need a lift.

Taylor Swift and unleash your inner cheerleader image www.mymusicfiles.net

Make like Taylor Swift and unleash your inner cheerleader.

Here is a list of 20 songs that I reckon can do just that. I’ve purposefully left out Pharrell’s Happy because, quite frankly, it has been played to death.

But Pharrell was on to something. He knows that music is one of the quickest and most effective ways to get an almost instant happiness hit.

Think of these 20 songs as a sort of daily mix tape — and please give us your nominations for the songs that make you happy.

Lovely Day — Bill Withers

Bill Withers is one of the great unsung heroes of American soul with early 70s classics including Use Me, Lean on Me and Ain’t No Sunshine. Withers’ 1977 hit Lovely Day is the keeper, though. A supple groove and Withers’ warm tone match lyrics “Just one look at you/and I know it’s gonna be/a lovely day.” The perfect wake-up song.

All You Need is Love — The Beatles

The Beatles released more than a dozen songs with ‘love’ in the title. It is hard to imagine any group doing that in these cynical times. The Fab Four weren’t afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeve and audiences across the world responded to their positive vibe. The title says it all.

Better the Devil You Know — Kylie Minogue

For years, Kylie Minogue wanted to disown her early hits written and produced by Stock Aitken Waterman. Minogue’s attitude never made sense because tracks like I Should Be So Lucky, Got to Be Certain, Hand on Your Heart, and Step Back in Time had a winning innocence. Better the Devil You Know is the pick of the bunch.

Get Lucky — Daft Punk

I’m sure the lyrics for Get Lucky are about scoring in a club but I like think Daft Punk’s 2013 hit can instil a more general ‘lucky’ vibe in listeners. Chic-master Nile Rodgers lays down the wonderful groove. One to play on the way to work.

You Are the Sunshine of My Life — Stevie Wonder

You thought I was going to nominate Superstition, didn’t you. I very nearly did but You Are the Sunshine of My Life is one of Stevie Wonder’s most gorgeous tunes on his Talking Book album and it is hard to deny the heartfelt lyrics.

Rock with You — Michael Jackson

When DJs are desperate to get people on the dance floor they invariably reach for Michael Jackson. Billie Jean, Beat It, Thriller, and Wanna Be Startin’ Something are all guaranteed party starters. Rock with You, from Off the Wall, is probably the King of Pop’s most joyous song. Close your eyes and let the rhythm get into you.

Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go — Wham!

The critics dismissed Wham! (George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley) as fluff but teenage girls knew better. The duo’s 1984 number one is guaranteed to put bounce into your step. Pop at its brightest and breeziest.

New York, New York — Frank Sinatra

For me, it is a toss-up between My Way, Come Fly with Me and New York, New York for the most uplifting Sinatra hit. I’m going with New York, New York, from 1979, because by the end of the song anyone listening is ready to take on the world. Your little town blues will be melting away. You’ll feel “A number one, king of the hill, and top of the heap”.

Shake it Off — Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift goes pop with a chart topper that reminds me big time of Toni Basil’s Mickey. Swift’s empowering lyrics, about ignoring the haters and being yourself, are set to a beat that brings out your inner cheerleader.

Summer Breeze — Seals & Crofts

Seals & Crofts didn’t get much respect from the critics but their 1972 hit Summer Breeze is undeniable. One listen and your troubles immediately recede, your pulse rate slows. You are walking on the beach at Malibu or through a lush golden meadow.

Celebration — Kool and the Gang

In 1979, Kool and the Gang released the awesome Ladies Night but Celebration, from the following year, is the group’s most joyous disco workout. This is a stone-cold get-on-your-feet classic — four minutes of concentrated funk.

Stayin’ Alive — The Bee Gees

Hit ‘play’ on Stayin’ Alive and you can immediately envision the young John Travolta strutting down the streets of Brooklyn as Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever. The beat is so infectious it immediately inhabits your body. You are powerless to resist.

Your Smiling Face — James Taylor

Taylor’s You’ve Got a Friend would be the obvious choice but, for me, there is something special about this 1977 hit from the JT album. Taylor reportedly wrote the song for his and partner Carly Simon’s three-year-old daughter, Sally. “Isn’t it amazing a man like me can feel this way” Taylor wrote in his most unabashedly happy song.

SexyBack — Justin Timberlake

Everybody needs some sexy in their lives and JT is man to provide it. 2006’s SexyBack, with Timbaland providing the beats, is seduction set to music. This will put a wicked smile on your face.

Holiday — Madonna

There is something very winning about early Madonna and especially Holiday, the third single released from her debut album. The song is simplicity itself — and that is why it works so effectively. The lyrics say it perfectly — It’s time for the good times. Forget about the bad times.

I Gotta Feeling — The Black Eyed Peas

We’re talking nightclub euphoria right here. Will.i.am and the crew, with production help from David Guetta, created dance perfection with this fist-pumping 2009 anthem to positivity. Tonight’s gonna be a good night.

With a Little Help from My Friends — Joe Cocker

“This title puts it all into focus”. That is what Joe Cocker said when he launched into With a Little Help from My Friends at Woodstock in 1969 — and he isn’t wrong. Cocker’s gritty rendition of the John Lennon/Paul McCartney classic is perfect for a singalong.

Prince — 1999

Prince smashed it in 1984 with his multi-platinum Purple Rain soundtrack but 1999, from his 1982 album of the same name, is his ultimate party anthem. Listen to this LOUD while you’re primping for a big night out. Party like it’s 1999.

Bohemian Rhapsody — Queen

Every ‘happy music’ list needs a classic driving song. I’m thinking Golden Earring’s Radar Love, Bachman Turner Overdrive’s Takin’ Care of Business, ZZ Top’s La Grange, and AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. I’m going with Queen’s 1975 monster hit for sheer head banging bliss.

California Love — 2Pac

Most rap music is depressing but not this 2Pac banger from 1995 with its bomb beat from Dr Dre. One listen to this funky ode to life on the West Coast and you’ll want to be hiring a convertible and get the radio pumping. Turn it up. Turn it up.

Colin Vickery is the National TV Writer for News Corp Australia and author of healing arts e-books OM: The Art of Hope, Health, and Happiness and I AM: The Art of Self-Empowerment.

Originally published as The 20 songs guaranteed to make you happy

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Henry Sapiecha

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