music and why it makes me happy
by Lucas Grenda
This is a long list (10 songs), but stay with me—here you’ll learn why I just cannot stop talking about these songs. I’m going to pick one song from each album (in no particular “favorites” order) and talk about why that song makes me happy. (1. This was so difficult 2. Every one of these albums is full of bangers to check out 3. I am not musically inclined, I just appreciate rhythmic sound.)
- TBH the entire album: All The Best! —Paul McCartney/PM and the Wings
This album is the epitome of happiness. Every single song (seriously) on this album is a bop—and considering they’re all written and performed by the always impressive Paul McCartney, this is no surprise.
Songs like “No More Lonely Nights” and “Listen To What The Man Said” will make you want to fall in love, while “Band on the Run” and “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” will have you jamming and singing at the top of your lungs. Every “tune” (as Paul would say) is lovely and radiates positive vibes. The album truly is all the best.
- “Is this Love” from Legend—Bob Marley and the Wailers
Is there anything better than knowing someone loves you? Friends, family, and Bob Marley (and the Wailers) all have something in common—they love you every day and every night. This hit from the very appropriately titled album Legend floods the room with the peace and love synonymous with reggae music. Other notable tracks are “Buffalo Soldier”, “Could You Be Loved”, “Jamming”, and “Satisfy My Soul.”
- “Pigs (There Different Ones)”(& basically the rest of the album) from Animals—Pink Floyd
This is not the most well known Floyd album, and frankly it probably isn’t even the best, but gosh dangit, is it the most compelling. Roger Waters (and some David Gilmour) wrote an awesome theatrical 41-minute jam session that sounds phenomenal and gets even cooler when you listen to the cryptic lyrics and research the albums inspirations.
Personally, nostalgia that comes with this album is enough to put a smile on my face. All five songs seem to blend together, which forces you (or gives you the privilege) to listen to the entire thing in one sitting.
- “Out There” from Disney’s Greatest Vol. 1—Various Artists
Arguably the best Disney ballad—let alone best SONG—to ever exist, “Out There” is about an outcast finding joy and excitement in a world where they are not able to be a part of. Quasimodo, the star of Hunchback of Notre Dame, expresses that nothing could make him happier than spending just a single day living amongst the normal people he watches from above in the bell tower.
Tom Hulce CRUSHES the vocals, Alan Menken shows his one of his most impressive pieces ever, and the message behind the song makes it emotional, beautiful, and inspiring as all heck. Nothing can keep me from singing to this song. Nothing. Other notable tracks from this album are “I Won’t Say I’m in Love”, “Strangers Like Me”, “I Wanna Be Like You”, and (oddly enough) “Cruella De Vil.”
- “Stay” from beerbongs and bentleys—Post Malone
Shocker? Maybe. “It’s true…”, Post Malone’s “Stay” from beerbongs and bentleys has got to be one of the best songs of 2018. Amongst plenty of ‘phat beats’ and rather awesome workout tracks, “Stay” is played on acoustic guitar and electric bass, accompanied with raspy yet smooth vocals. The lyrics, though containing some ‘mild language’, are generally sweet… a far cry from the filthy and braggadocious lyrics from the majority of Posty songs. With uniquely slow and “pretty” vibe to it, “Stay” stands out as the chill, relatable, car-ride-with-the-windows-down kinda song on ‘beerbongs and bentleys’. Other notable tracks from this album are “Rockstar”, “Better Now”, “Pyscho”, and “92 Explorer”.
- “Martha My Dear” from The White Album (The Beatles)—The Beatles
This song is such a pretty little gem on my favorite Beatles album of all time. A dainty piano combines with clunky horns to bring us a very unique tune that PERFECTLY matches the tone and subject matter of the lyrics.
Take a second to listen to the song.
DON’T READ ANY MORE UNTIL YOU LISTEN TO THE SONG….
Great, now that you’re back, I have to tell you that ‘Martha’ is actually Paul McCartney’s dog at the time—an English Sheepdog. Listen to the song again, really listen to the lyrics. Isn’t that SOOOO precious?? What an adorable little piece that needs WAY more appreciation than it gets. Other notable tracks on this album are “Mother Nature’s Son”, “Honey Pie”, “Blackbird”, “I Will”, and “Rocky Raccon.” (but really, all THIRTY songs on this album are great…even if some are a little weird or disturbing)
- “Company Man” on Flag—James Taylor
I don’t think I can imagine anyone who would disagree that James Taylor is one of the most listenable voices in music. His sound is all his own and his lack of vibrato is untraditional but works so freaking well with his twangy tone. “Company Man” really shows his range—implementing plenty of impressive high(ish) notes and “ooo” inducing riffs, all with his signature folk rock/country/pop style. Considering how bouncy, fun, and smile/head-bob inducing the song is, you would’ve never guessed the lyrics are about Taylor dissing the business side of art (a cool message if you ask me). Other notable tracks on this album are “Sleep Come Free Me”, “B.S.U.R.”, “Rainy Day Man”, and “Johnnie Comes Back.”
- “They Call the Wind Mariah” on Swing Low (Sam Cooke)—Sam Cooke
Originally from the 1951 (absolute banger) musical Paint Your Wagon, “They Call the Wind Mariah” was a heavily orchestral, quite theatrical tune. It’s very good. That’s why it blows my mind how much BETTER Sam Cooke’s rendition of this classic really is.
The instant the guitar jumps joyfully into the song you can’t help but tap a foot and bounce in your seat. Then Cooke’s instantly recognizable velvety voice carries the melody “way out west” and through this atmospheric tune.
The story, the build, and the emotion that the singer and his accompaniment put into this song make nearly 3 minutes feel like a lifetime journey. It’s so beautiful. It makes me very happy (ha). Other notable tracks on this album are “Chain Gang”, Twilight On the Trail”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, and “If I Had You (I’d Be Happy).
9. “April Come She Will” from Sounds of Silence—Simon and Garfunkel
A bittersweet song by one of the strangest and most impressive musical duos of all time (I think). I first listened to this song during a time in my life where I realized that the times were going to change and I was going to have to accept that—and this song helped me accept that. It let me know that even though I was moving away from my home and my family (friends are a part of family), there will be times where we would all meet again and life would be wonderful.
Also, coincidentally, April is the same month I get out of school and will start summer vacation with the people I love. The happiest thought of all :). Other notable tracks on this album are “Leaves That Are Green”, “Kathy’s Song”, “Somewhere They Can’t Find Me+Anji”, and “A Most Peculiar Man.”
- “Wait For the Moment” from My First Car—Vulfpeck
What a way to top off a list of the happiest songs I could come up with. Vulfpeck’s album My First Car is a short-and-sweet, six-song long techno-funk journey that is very vibe-y and fun. But sticking out from the rest of the songs is the only one with singing—the absolute best song on the album by far—“Wait For the Moment.”
A collaboration between the band and R&B singer Antwaun Stanley is modern, funky, and possibly one of the most vocally satisfying songs from the last quarter of a century. The painfully delightful and charismatic lyrics decorating the smooth bass-line are sung beyond impressively by Stanley, easily giving listeners the chills.
What a song.
What a list.
I hope these songs make you happy, because they sure do make me happy : )
p.s. Hi there! It’s Sam. I have no happy song recommendation, because Lucas kinda took that one from me.
To comment, though, all of these songs truly are “bops” and can put anyone in a good mood, so I highly recommend giving them a listen.
Also, George Harrison passed away 17 years ago on Thursday, so I will recommend “If I Needed Someone,” a Beatles song written by Harrison.