Experts have revealed which song is the happiest in the world. They used a formula for the ultimate cheerful tunes.
Certain songs just make us feel happy from the inside out. When we are feeling down, a good cheery song is one of the quickest and easiest solutions to getting you feeling jolly again.
Indeed, a survey of 2,000 British people found that 66% would listen to music to cheer them up. 40% of them said the cold weather and dark nights were a reason for needing cheering up.
The hunt and research for the happiest songs in the world were commissioned by yoghurt brand Mullerlight.
Music psychologist Dr Michel Bonshor specialises in musical well-being and positive psychology, and he has found a formula for what makes a happy song.
The happiest song in the world – ‘Good Vibrations’ by The Beach Boys
According to Bonshor, the most uplifting tunes require regular rhythm and structure and are at 137 beats per minute (bpm).
So, the tune that follows this formula the best is ‘Good Vibrations’ by The Beach Boys. If you’re now humming it in your head and thinking, “Yea, that is a really happy song”, we thought the same. Better yet, listen above while you read on.
Dr Michael Bonshor teaches on the MA Psychology of Music course at The University of Sheffield in England.
He found that the most uplifting and happy-inducing songs have a tempo of 137 bpm and a standard verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure.
However, they are also usually sprinkled with unusual or unexpected elements like a key change or “seventh chords”.
Seventh chords – adding interest
Seventh chords consist of a triad plus a note forming an interval of a seventh above the chord’s root. Dr Bonshor said, “We like seventh chords as they add interest.
“Regular chords use three notes, whereas seventh chords add an extra note which provides a sense of musical tension and relief”.
As such, it has been revealed that a number of popular songs follow the formula to make what is described as “happy songs”. ‘Good Vibrations’, however, is the champion of them all. Along the way, Bonshor found that the happiest songs are generally in the major key.
Bonshor said, “Alongside this, cheery songs usually have a strong 1-2-1-2 beat to them so that you can dance along.
“We like high volume when it comes to how our happy songs are made, with notes played in a bright and bouncy way by instruments such as trumpets or electric guitars instead of mellower instruments”.
The top then happiest songs – according to science
After ‘Good Vibrations’ in the top spot, ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ by James Brown, ‘House of Fun’ by Madness, ‘Get the Party Started’ by P!nk, ‘Uptown Girl’ by Billy Joel make up the rest of the top five.
The top ten is then rounded out by ‘Sun is Shining’ by Bob Marley, ‘I Get Around’ by The Beach Boys, ‘YMCA’ by Village People, ‘Waterloo’ by ABBA, and ‘September’ by Earth, Wind & Fire.
In terms of specifics, people from the North East, South East, Wales and Northern Ireland all said ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ by Queen put them in the best mood.
In Scotland, Yorkshire, the North West, East Midlands, and East Anglia, it was ‘Dancing Queen’. It appeared that pop music was, in general, seen as the happiest genre.