Upbeat music can be both cheerful and insufferable, depending on your taste, but it’s pretty hard not to like Pharrell’s hit ‘Happy’, which fills me with boundless positive energy and love every time it comes on the radio. No matter what you thought of his hat at the Grammys, it’s hard not to like a song about untouchable, pure delight. Here are some other songs of the past decade or so that serve a similar purpose. Many are mainstream tunes and for that reason alone, you probably won’t love them all, so feel free to add your own picks in the comments section.
15. ‘Happy’ by Pharrell
“Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof, clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.” Definitely my top song of 2014 so far. Thank you, Pharrell, for reminding us that happiness is always, always, always more powerful than negativity. Anytime someone wants to stomp all over your good mood, put on this song and know that happiness wins every time.
14. ‘Party in the USA’ by Miley Cyrus
Remember this girl? What a great spirit she had. Even Anna Kendrick’s character can’t help but belt this out in Pitch Perfect, and I know the urge is universal. Old Miley, new Miley, any Miley might not be your cup of tea, but “Party in the U.S.A.” is something else, and it’s how I want to remember the unpredictable Nashville native.
13. ‘Mine’ by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift is known for maligning former paramours in her work, but consider “Mine,” which is a sweet story about long-lasting love. The music video is pretty cute too, and it’s nice to see something other than a revenge tune from her.
12. ‘Magic’ by B.O.B.
Another Pitch Perfect song! What more could you ask for?!
11. ‘Firework’ by Katy Perry
This isn’t just a fun pop song to me. A vocal gay rights activist, Katy Perry is also applauding differences and telling people to show off their true colors without fear, and this should happen more often.
10. ‘Love and Memories’ by O.A.R.
It’s hard not to like this, especially since it plays in Amanda Bynes’s greatest movie ever, She’s the Man.
9. ‘We’ll Be All Right’ by Travie McCoy
I’m not too crazy about “let’s get drunk!” songs but it’s impossible not to dance to this one, and there’s no harm in embracing the greatness of youth.
8. ‘Closer’ by Tegan and Sara
Amazing homage to Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” and unspeakably catchy.
7. ‘Bubbly’ by Colbie Caillat
Though calmer than the others, this song makes me just as smiley and, well, bubbly inside. You cannot get through “Bubbly” without feeling like all is right in the world. Colbie Caillat, I’ll forever love you for giving us this.
6. ‘Brave’ by Sara Bareilles
Seizing the day! Living life to the fullest! Not holding back! All good things celebrated in this special new song.
5. ‘I Like It’ by Enrique Iglesias
Another dance favorite of mine, and what in God’s name is there not to love about Enrique?!
4. ‘I Do’ by Colbie Caillat
A second gem by the unstoppable California crooner, only this one is a little more upbeat than “Bubbly.” They’re both amazing, but if you want something high energy, you’ll love “I Do.”
3. ‘Dance Apocalyptic’ by Janelle Monae
I could not stop listening to this during summer 2013, in part because I fell in love with the authentic music video. Everything about this is a life-changing experience.
2. ‘Walking On Air’ by Katy Perry
Everyone was too busy obsessing over “Dark Horse” and “Roar” to pay any attention to this new Katy Perry song, which has an odd ’90s feel to it that works. Some of you are lukewarm on the wide-eyed pop princess, but I’m a little let down this song didn’t get the play it deserved following the release of her 2013 album. At least you can listen and dance to it now!
1. ‘Call on Me’ by Eric Prydz
Yes, the music video is sexist and gross, but have you listened to rap lately? At least “Call on Me” is catchy enough to make you forget that the lyrics are as repetitive as songs come!
Any favorites of your own? Tell me in the comments section!