If I was hopeful that the dark times might brighten after the Orange Menace was evicted by the people, well, those hopes look if not dashed, surely bruised and battered on the floor.
Homegrown fascism and bigotry have only more fully taken over the GOP, monstrous, genocidal fascism has uncloaked itself most viciously by Russia. And the Earth ain’t getting any cooler – remember that existential threat?
Okay. I’ll stop there. And provide another edition of Happy Songs for Dark Times. Instead of serving up one very particular tune that especially cheers me personally (like I have here, here and here), I will serve up a smorgasbord of happy songs, specifically happy songs that actually and rather helpfully have the word “happy” in their title.
And for that, naturally we must start with the king of the “happy” songs, Pharrell William’s “Happy”:
Pharrell starts the video of “Happy” in a dark alley, as if to indicate the gloom he will be banishing with this undeniably catchy, buoyant tune. For the rest of the video he and a diversity of fellow humans (and some Minions – “Happy” is the Oscar-nominated song from “Despicable Me 2”) sing and dance along, affirming that happiness is a truth. And when you hear this song, I feel positive you too will want to sing and dance and affirm happiness is a truth along with them.
This really is one of the happiest-making songs out there – I imagine it would top any poll of the happiest songs the world can agree on.
But there are more happy “Happy” songs. Let’s give a listen:
I just declared Pharrell’s “Happy” the likely winner of any happy song poll. Bobby McFerrin may want me to hold his beer. This a capella classic – McFerrin impressively provides every vocal, or voice and body produced sound – may not have the exuberance of Pharrell’s “Happy”, but it will make you smile with its joyous, infectious, laid back optimism. It cradles you in a blissful groove. Like you’re swinging in a hammock or gently strolling and skipping on a sunny sidewalk. Plus the video features the two great American clowns of the past century: Robin Williams and Bill Irwin.
“Let me give you my phone number, when you’re worried, call me, I’ll make you happy” indeed!
Imagine me and you listening to this song. The verse starts in minor, and the singer sounds slightly pained, but then he suggests we could be “happy together”, and bursts into a chorus so joyous, so exuberant, all sorrowful puppy dog feelings weighing down the verse are dispelled by a parade of sunshine and banners and streamers. So “Happy Together” indeed.
This classic is perhaps more affirmative than joyous, but hey, how can such an unabashedly declarative affirmation not make the recipient of these words overjoyed: “You’ve made me so very happy. I’m so glad you came into my life. I want to thank you, girl, every day of my life.” Man, guy, wow, really means a lot to hear you see that. Yep, that makes me happy too!
Happily The Beatles also have a happy song with “Happy” in the title. And in this clip from the movie “A Hard Days Night”, as a wink wink nudge nudge, the performance of “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” is preceded by a TV showgirls routine to the same tune.
This song has only just been released (on YouTube) two weeks ago. Infused with confident Jamaican joy, it invites you to party in a groovy, laid backed way, singing along, whether in tune or not it’s all good, to the catchy chorus: “Happiness – We no inna nothing with stress … (words I can’t discern but it’s okay) … Happiness – We no inna nothing with stress …”
I almost didn’t include this song, because although it emphatically declares “Happiness”, the video is more effective in selling me a car than on joy. But maybe you will find this mid-tempo dance track more endorphin eliciting than I.
That’s the “happy” pop tunes I’ve selected (by which I mean “Happy” pop tunes that actually are happy*). But we will find even more “happy”-ness originating on the stage:Continue reading