Happy Songs
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25 happy songs guaranteed to put you in a good mood

Feeling down? Here's a playlist guaranteed to shift your mood from sullen to sunny.

Matthew Singer
Written by: Matthew Singer
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Nothing lifts the spirits like a good song. It’s truly what music is meant to do. Sure, not all tunes are necessarily meant to put you in a better mood - some are meant to piss you off, or offer an empathetic voice in times of sorrow. What music really, truly does better than any other artistic medium, though, is act as a dose of serotonin for the soul. No matter what’s going on in your life, hearing the right song at the right time can make everything feel better, at least for that moment. 

Of course, a sad song or a mad song can make you feel happy, if it means something to you. But a happy song - one specifically written to put all pain on hold - can penetrate almost any funk. On this list of the best happy songs ever written, you’ll find modern Top 40 bangers, joyful ‘60s and ‘70s soul jams, quirky rock tunes and mellow mood enhancers. There’s even a few hits that, played at the wrong time, might be described as ‘annoying.’ But when you truly need a pick-me-up, all of these songs will instantly brighten your day. 

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Best happy songs, ranked

1. ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ by Prince

‘This thing called life’ can leave you down in the dumps. Who better to lift you up than Prince? Abandon your inhibitions, get a little crazy, and you'll be alright in no time. Or at least for the four minutes Prince rips it up on this definitive track.

2. ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ by James Brown & The Famous Flames

JB and his band can hardly contain themselves, letting loose ecstatic screeches and strutting horns that pummel you in all the right places with infectious glee. This is essentially the end all, be all of feelin’ good in the funk era.

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3. ‘Don’t Stop Me Now‘ by Queen

When Freddie Mercury – Mr Fahrenheit, if you want to get formal – is having a good time, it’s best you don't try to interrupt it. Surrender to the infectious barrage of good vibes in this high-octane crowd-pleaser and you too will soon be floating around in ecstasy. 

4. ‘Good as Hell’ by Lizzo

Lizzo’s breakout hit song will have you feeling good about yourself, putting you in the mood to conquer the blues and the world. And that’s before she busts out the flute.

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5. ‘Walking on Sunshine’ by Katrina & The Waves

A pop rush so pure and addictive that it is actually on the ballot in nine states to be made illegal. Try to resist. It’s impossible.

6. ‘Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers

Bill Withers’s good-natured energy permeates his funk ode to the mood-altering power of finding your soulmate – a high that peaks on Withers’s gloriously sustained singing of ‘lovely daaaaaaaaaaaaaaay’ at the climax.

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7. ‘Tightrope’ by Janelle Monáe

When you need a confidence boost alongside your mood boost, this tune is what you need. Turn it up and take to heart the message about forging ahead past the doubters.

8. ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley & The Wailers

There never was a more convincing argument for tranquility than this one’s exuberant ‘every little thing’s gonna be alright’ refrain.

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9. ‘Shout’ by The Isley Brothers

So much more than the greatest wedding-reception song ever written – though it's also that – the Isley Brothers manic, soulful classic is a masterpiece of escalation, and a musical tribute to feeling so damn overjoyed all you can do is let out a primal scream... then do it again a little bit softer.

10. ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA

This track brings everyone to the dance floor (or your own private dance floor). There’s no denying the feels that burst forth when you're grooving like a ’70s star... or maybe like hologram of one

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11. ‘A Beautiful Morning’ by The Rascals

Regardless of the actual weather situation, you’ll be elatedly skipping out the door thanks to this tune’s unwavering sunniness.

12. ‘You Make My Dreams’ by Hall & Oates

Fantasy becomes blissful reality over euphoric doo-wop and a cheerful sensibility just this side of cheesy.

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13. ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)’ by Whitney Houston

Channel your inner Whitney with this upbeat, carefree tune that refuses to quit. You'll be transported to a pop paradise with ’80s flare, and how can you not smile about that?

14. ‘Good Vibrations’ by The Beach Boys

Brian Wilson brings his theremin surfing and turns a trashy B-movie-soundtrack tool into an aural ray of sunshine.

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15. ‘Feel Right’ by Mark Ronson ft. Mystikal

Mystikal lays down gravelly, hyper and wondrously dirty verses over Ronson’s perfectly captured throwback funk for a seriously adult party track littered with perfectly deployed MF-ers.

16. ‘Sir Duke’ by Stevie Wonder

‘Sir Duke’ is what happens when you let one of modern music’s true geniuses geek out over the musicians he loves, and Stevie’s tribute to Duke Ellington, Glen Miller, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington is four minutes of pure joy. If the ascendant horns don’t get you, hearing Stevie’s refrain of ‘you can feel it all over’ will. 

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17. ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ by Johnny Nash

Johnny Nash’s enraptured zydeco-soul hybrid injects images of blue skies and rainbows directly into your cerebral cortex, where they will linger for use on any rainy day.

18. ‘Dance to the Music’ by Sly & The Family Stone

The titular exhortation seems almost superfluous given the horn lines’ uplifting, to-the-moon groove. Almost.

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19. ‘All You Need is Love’ by The Beatles

Lennon & McCartney’s brassy, bouncy, pro-harmony singalong should have instantly brought about world peace when it came out. We’ll have to settle for bringing on a good mood.

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21. ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)’ by Whitney Houston

The lyrics are full of yearning and loneliness, but that skyrocketing chorus absolutely obliterates any bad feelings in its path. No one can sing it like Whitney, but that won’t stop the whole dancefloor from trying.

22. ‘Blister in the Sun’ by the Violent Femmes

The goodball bassline is one of the ’80s most blissed-out riffs, and paired with Gordon Gano’s nasally delivery this stoned-out classic is guaranteed to cause an involuntary strut. Worry about the stained sheets later. 

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23. ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams

There’s no way you don’t feel great the moment Pharrell’s buttery falsetto floats over the easily cantering beat into your grateful ears.

24. ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’ by Michael Jackson

Jackson’s primal screams and guttural hoots reveal themselves as the only meaningful way to express true love.

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25. ‘Kites Are Fun’ by the Free Design

There’s no hidden meaning in this jaunty, sun-soaked ode to flying kites. It really is just a spectacular ’60s era song about kites. And it will instantly transform even the most hardened cynic into a child daydreaming about a day at the beach. 

26. ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ by Justin Timberlake

Dance, dance, dance... How can you not when listening to this tune? Justin Timberlake and the Trolls for whom the song was written are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

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27. ‘I’m Coming Out’ by Diana Ross

The Supremes leader didn’t know she was singing a gay pride anthem when she recorded this signature hit from her 1980 blockbuster Diana - it was written by her collaborators, Chic’s Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards, who didn’t explain the double meaning to her. (She thought it was about her declaring independence from Motown and label owner Berry Gordy.) But she’s since embraced the song and its message. No wonder: every note sounds like it was fed through a prism and came out a rainbow on the other side.

28. 'Roam' by The B-52s

Thanks to Fred Schneider’s cartoonish vocals, too many of the Georgia trail blazers' mainstream hits are unjustly thought of as novelty songs. But this one, with Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson taking lead, is an undisputed classic - an ode to wanderlust and following love wherever it takes you.

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29. ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ by Bobby McFerrin

According to some one of the most annoying songs of all time as well, but relentless optimism has to count for something, right?

30. ‘Groove Is in the Heart’ by Deee-Lite

Is this the GOAT one-hit wonder? It’s certainly in the conversation. The funky Bootsy Collins bassline? The Q-Tip cameo? The slide-whistle? Once this particular groove gets into your heart, it’s there forever.

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31. ‘I Really Like You’ by Carly Rae Jepsen

The Canadian pop princess has better songs, sure, but this one hits like a shot of pure sunshine straight into the veins, conveying the feeling of that blissful window when a crush threatens to tip into something greater - not love, quite, but really, really, really, really, really, really like. Also, Tom Hanks is in the video. What’s not to love?

32. 'It's Oh So Quiet' by Bjork

The Icelandic avant-pop auteur’s rather faithful cover of the 1951 Betty Hutton big-band B-side is perhaps the biggest outlier in her discography, but it’s also one of her biggest hits. No wonder: it’s a screaming, screeching, squawking ode to love’s ecstatic rush that the singer conveys with absolute abandon.  

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33. ‘Love On Top’ by Beyonce

Transferring classic Motown exuberance to sleek 2010s R&B, the Divine Miss Bey practically struts through this vivacious celebration of commitment (which may also be a double entendre). In five years, she’d be sashaying down a sidewalk, bashing out car windows with a baseball bat in a rage, but the euphoria’s great while it lasted.  

34. ‘Shiny Happy People’ by REM

Derided by fans of the alt-rock legends as either a failed experiment or sellout move, this ‘60s pop pastiche is not nearly as bad as its reputation holds. Singer Michael Stipe himself has called the song ‘satire’, but hearing him harmonize with Kate Pierson of the B-52’s is an instant pick-me-up, joke or not.

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35. ‘Here Comes the Sun’ by the Beatles

The twee-est song in the Beatles catalogue won’t make you jump with joy, but it’s guaranteed to part the clouds in your own heart and make you think about everything you’re grateful for. 

Looking for more feel-good hits?

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