22 March 2010

The Happy Song

Call me a hipster, a culture snob, a tasteless charlatan, or a naive fool - I'll deny all of them (except for tasteless charlatan, because I kind of like that), but, man, do I like finding out what music people like to listen to.  It's not even a judgment technique - I'm genuinely curious.  Because more so than books, movies, magazines or televisions shows, music choices just seem so intensely personal.  A catchy tune combined with sappy lyrics can reduce even my most jaded friends into piles of mushy sentiment and sincerity. 

Just over a week ago, sports columnist Joe Posnanski decided he wanted to compile the 15 happiest songs ever.  Songs that made him happy, regardless of whether or not they were objectively happy songs.  Within three days he had 318 comments.   Suggestions ranged from the cheesy/faux euphoric ("Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" and "Walking on Sunshine"), to the sentimental ("Over the Rainbow"), to the goddamn pretentious ("Books About UFOs"), to the quirky (The Ghostbuster's theme song), to the brilliant ("Spirit in the Sky"), to the unbearable ("Basket Case").

But honestly, who am I to judge? If "Don't Worry, Be Happy" seriously makes your day when it comes around on your playlist, well that's awesome.  I mean, I have to agree with Joe, and am surprised that SO MANY PEOPLE requested it, but I guess that's beside the point.  And in the end, he took what he wanted, discarded what he didn't, and published his fun list - it's up to 282. Read it!

So, I asked a group of friends to send me three of their happiest songs which I would publish here.  Even though I don't completely agree with every selection, I love this list because I love the honesty and randomness of these songs that mean something to people I care about.

Lala is pretty good, but it's not perfect, and there are a few essentials missing that deserve special mention, first.

"I've Just Seen A Face"  by The Beatles

Requested twice, this might just be one of the best songs I've ever heard.  I can't believe I only learned about this song in 2010.

"Lake Shore Drive" by Aliotta, Haynes, and Jeremiah

Don't be fooled by the innocent sounding voices.  This is ACTUALLY about LSD.

Here's the list.  It's fantastically odd.  Enjoy.
Special thanks to my contributors: the director, the baroness, the public intellectual, the dark feeling, the barrister, the traveler, the student, the southern belle, captain ahab, starbuck, the russian princess, the senator, the triathlete, the reporter, and others.  I hang with a terribly important crowd.

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