From Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love to U2’s Beautiful Day: 12 irresistibly happy songs to lift your spirits

12 Crazy in Love (Beyoncé)

Would Beyoncé make it on her own in a post-Destiny’s Child world? Too fair, she could. What a song to announce your solo career to the world. Featuring a rap cameo from then-boyfriend Jay-Z, it’s a song that’s obsessed with love, happiness, and the possibilities of the world. Right from the opening notes, it bootiliciously grabs your attention. Once ubiquitous, it’s hard to imagine there was a wedding in the 2000s that didn’t feature the euphoric track in the DJ set. Beyoncé and Jay-Z had their marital troubles later, but in 2003 they seemed truly madly in love.


Singer Beyonce Knowles and rapper Jay-Z perform at the Fashion Rocks show in New York in 2006.

Singer Beyonce Knowles and rapper Jay-Z perform at the Fashion Rocks show in New York in 2006.

11 Brass in Pocket (The Pretenders)

You know that feeling when you’re dressed up, when you feel like you look good, when you have money in your pocket and you’re going to have a great night? There may not have been too many lately – but they will be back – and no one has grasped how special that feeling is like Chrissie Hynde. brass in pocket was the Pretenders’ third single, and by November 1979 it topped the UK Singles Chart. It made the band superstars overnight, but while there was a rosy future ahead of Hynde, guitarist James Honeyman-Scott wasn’t so lucky. He was only 25 when he died of heart failure caused by cocaine intolerance.

ten HopIpolla (Sigur Ros)

It’s a song without words and its title is derived from ‘Hopelandish’, the language somehow imagined by the Icelandic group. But it’s instrumental music that’s machine-made to lift the darkest moods. Epic in scale and evolving to a stunning crescendo, HopIpola might as well have been nicknamed Seize the day. It has been used in countless TV shows, especially when producers want the music to evoke hope or wonder. You’ve probably heard it while watching slow-motion replays of epic sporting moments, like the time Johnny Sexton threw a last-minute drop-kick to secure a famous win over France.

9 Beautiful Day (Bill Withers)

In possession of one of the greatest vocal abilities of the 20th century – hear the extraordinary Live at Carnegie Hall album if you’re not sure – Bill Withers sang about every facet of the human condition. Beautiful day is among his most iconic songs and is, in essence, a celebration of those closest and dearest to us. The song acknowledges the tribulations that can mark our existence, but the very sight of a loved one makes the hard times bearable. The song is a timely reminder not to take love for granted – and is notable for Withers’ sustained 18-second high E note at the end, one of the longest in chart history.

Video of the day

8 Don’t Stop Me Now (Queen)

Freddie Mercury and his friends have often tipped dangerously close to nothing, as they do here, but if the song doesn’t make you smile, what will? It’s an ode to joy that invites the listener to embrace their inner Freddie – just try not to sing when it comes to the car stereo. Brian May’s guitar – as on so many of Queen’s tracks – could have been designed for air guitarists everywhere. We are the champions runs closely in the stakes of the joy of living. Owl, you say? Imagine how great that would sound as Gavin Bazunu lifts the FIFA World Cup trophy in 2030? We can dream, right?


Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, performing at Slane Castle in 1986. Photo: part of the Irish Independent Newspapers/NLI Collection.

Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, performing at Slane Castle in 1986. Photo: part of the Irish Independent Newspapers/NLI Collection.

Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, performing at Slane Castle in 1986. Photo: part of the Irish Independent Newspapers/NLI Collection.

7 Silly Love Songs (Paul McCartney and Wings)

that of Peter Jackson To recover The documentary series depicts a close and extremely respectful working relationship and friendship between John Lennon and Paul McCartney, but that wasn’t always the case. As the Beatles broke up and recriminations fizzled, Lennon reportedly fired his former songwriting partner as the author of “silly love songs” and “sentimental slush.” Hurt, Macca recovered with a perfect pop song that also served as a love letter to his wife Linda. Sentimental? Yes. Stupid? May be. Joyful? You bet.

6 Friday I’m In Love (The Cure)

The curates will tell you that there are far superior songs in Robert Smith’s substantial body of work – and they’d be right – but for gloriously pure enjoyment, it’s impossible to beat this one. Smith described the song when it was released in 1992 as “a kind of ‘hands up, let’s be happy’ kind of record” and it does it in a way that never creaks – unlike the Bright happy people misstep of REM the previous year. The song and playful accompanying video put an end to the silly idea that The Cure was constantly moody.

5 Dog Days are over (Florence + The Machine)

What happened to Florence Welch? Ten years ago, the flamboyantly haired English belter was a staple and for good reason – those first two albums were top notch. This defining song has animated many music festivals. “Joy,” she sings, “hit her like a train on a track, coming at her, stuck still no turning back.” Everything about the song is over-the-top — the vocal pyrotechnics, the sound arrangements, the emotion — but its promise of better times is irresistible, now more than ever.

4 Beautiful Day (U2)

It would be rude to exclude the four North Dublin guys and while early songs like Gloria certainly uplifting, and it is impossible to listen Angel of Harlem without having a pep in your step, there’s a dizzying thrill to U2’s first single of the 21st century. It’s a real call to arms to celebrate the great things around us; seek wonder in everyday life. The song has been a staple of U2 shows since its release and when 80,000 voices cover it, word-perfect, in Croke Park, you can see why.

3 Walking on the Sun (Katrina and the Waves)

There are songs that feel good and then there is this effervescent pop classic. Is it possible to listen to Katrina Leskanich’s cheerful voice about finding love and not be completely elated? Every second of the song is upbeat, but it’s never cloying or sugary – a difficult feat to pull off. A version of the song first appeared on the band’s self-titled debut album, but the one we know and love has been completely re-recorded by a team of producers. who would go on to produce many of REM’s greatest albums.

2 Don’t Stop Believing (Journey)

One of the greatest soft-rock anthems of the 1980s is the sonic equivalent of 100 self-help books rolled into one. He acknowledges that sometimes hope can be scarce and dreams seem unattainable, but he also urges the listener not to give up on themselves, to strive for more, to pursue those dreams no matter what. The choruses are happy – whether in the original Journey or the inspired version sung by the cast of Joy in the while singing and dancing finale of the season one opener. “Don’t stop believing, hold on to this feeling‘.” That’s as good a mantra for 2022 as any.

1 Here Comes The Sun (The Beatles)

It’s been a long, cold and lonely wintersings George Harrison on one of the last songs recorded by the Beatles. More than half a century later, it’s a line that has particular resonance in this pandemic. We have been through two very difficult winters, but the promise of better days – of normality – seems awfully close. Harrison’s song is not only about the harsh English winters he grew weary of, but is also inspired by a desire to mend the increasingly strained relationship within the band. It’s one of the Beatles’ most promising songs and, remarkably, it’s the band’s most streamed track on Spotify worldwide.

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