Deeper Questions: Defiantly Happy Songs

In these dark days of political upheaval and world-class asshattery at the very top tiers of power, we all want to accentuate the positive. So, what songs make us look up from our shoes, and tell us to quit our mopin’?

That’s the Deeper Question of the week: defiantly happy songs. It’s those tunes that help us cast away the clouds, let the sun shine in, and put a bounce in our step whatever else may be happening in our lives.

Shannon’s Pick

I have a real tendency to get stuck in my head (shocking, I know!) so for me, it’s gotta be a song that just flatly refuses to let me think about anything serious. And nothing does that like Walk The Moon’s “Shut up and Dance.” 

Getting out of your own way, letting loose and having fun is literally built into the title, not to mention the hook! This track came out a few years ago and its release happened to match up with me finding a powerhouse group of friends whom I absolutely adore. We have it on a pretty heavy rotation, so this song always makes me think of wine-fueled dance parties, endless belly laughs and the deep comfort that comes with knowing you’ve found your people.

A long list of my favorite memories revolve around this song, and it immediately transports me to any one of those days every time I hear it. Plus it’s performed well, the rhythm is killer, and it’s just a damn delight.

Rain Shower Houses Street Imminent Village Sun (public domain)

Graeme’s Pick

I don’t believe in the idea that a person should have guilty pleasures. But if I did this might be one of them..

For a guy who co-hosts a podcast about the power of albums, I’ve downloaded an obscene amount of music from iTunes because it was something cool that I heard either a) on the radio / muzak in a store, b) on a TV show, or c) another random source. This is one of them.

The song is Hey Ya (Club mix) by OutKast. I don’t know where I first heard it but I loved the fun boppiness of it and the synth refrain after each “Hey yaaaaa” makes me unbelievably happy. When I hear that “1-2-3-4” at the top of the song. I just want to jump up out of whatever mood I’m in.

I have no connection whatsoever to the lifestyle in the song, nor if I were pressed into a closed reading of the lyrics would I probably endorse many things sung in it: I have no interest in having anyone “shake it like a Polaroid picture” but… goddamn is that song infectiously cheering. Every time I hear it and I want to launch into a massive lip-synced dance routine. Which is kind of awkward when you’re walking home after work. But one day…

Rob’s Pick

My pick here is The Boo Radleys’ “Wake Up, Boo!”, an anthem to being awake, alive, young, and in love even as summer is gone and the melancholy of autumn is upon us . It was released during the height of Britpop, and draws very heavily on a Motown pulse via Beatles-esque harmony that demands that you go along with it on its merry ride.

I associate it with my initial year living in Britain in the mid-to-late 90s. I spent some of that time looking for temp work and living in a place where I was an outsider wondering if I’d made the right choice in moving there. Eventually, I realized that I absolutely had even though I still had a lot of growing up to do and many lessons to learn.

This song gives me a feeling of welcome, which is in part due to the way it sounds. The line “do you have to put the death in everything” is particularly resonant. I have a melancholic streak! It’s almost like this song is being sung right to me. But another reason I find this song so welcoming is because of the friends I made pretty early on in that period who welcomed me into their circle without pause. It reminds me of my youth a bit too, in another life that felt like an open frontier, even if it was kind of uncertain, too.

Finally, this song reminds me that there’s no such thing as certainty anyway. At the best of times, contentment in the face of that reality is a choice the most fortunate among us are free to make, and that if we can choose that for ourselves, we should.


What about you, faithful readers and Deeper Cuts fans?

What song gets you in a good mood, despite your protestations? What song just reminds you of a happy, joyous time in your life?

Tell us all about it in the comments!


2 thoughts on “Deeper Questions: Defiantly Happy Songs

  • “Shiny Happy People” by R.E.M. (for obvious reasons) and “Good Lovin'” by the Young Rascals.

    • I always suspected that “Shiny Happy People” only *sounds* like a happy song. There’s something lurking under the surface in that one …

      Thanks for comments!

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