“Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof… Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth…” What better way to start the #InternationalDayofHappiness than singing along to Pharrell? Celebrated for the first time on 20 March 2013, International Day of Happiness marks a profound shift in attitudes is underway all over the world where ‘progress’ is considered to be about increasing human happiness and wellbeing, not just growing the economy.
In 2011, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which recognised happiness as a “fundamental human goal” and called for “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes the happiness and well-being of all peoples” followed in 2012 by the first ever UN conference on Happiness took place where the International Day of Happiness was set to be observed on 20 March every year.
In observation of the day, I headed over the the International Day of Happiness website and joined the Action for Happiness movement.
The pledge is straightforward:
I will try to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around me.”
Hence today, on #InternationalDayofHappiness in a bid to create more happiness, here is my Happiness mixtape to help you celebrate the day in style.
First song of A side (Yes, we are indeed talking tapes again!) has to be Pharrell’s Happy of course. From the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack album, also the lead single from Williams’ second studio album, Girl (2014), not only was the song a soulful reminder to celebrate happiness, but the video released as “the world’s first 24-hour music video” on the website 24hoursofhappy.com to coincide with the single release became the gift that kept on giving with many cover videos on YouTube in which people from different cities throughout the world dance to the song.
What a Wonderful World
In 1967, the jazz legend that is Louise Armstrong gave us the utopia of “trees of green, red roses too; friends shaking hands, saying how do you do” and to this day we are hoping and dreaming of a world so wonderful.
Best Day of my Life
It’s not just the opening banjo lick and the stuttering chorus but the upbeat lyrics and the conviction that “this is gonna be the best day of my life” that makes this 2013 hit from the American indie rock band American Authors one of the happiest songs of all time.
Walking on Sunshine
From Katrina and the Waves’ 1983 eponymous debut full-length album, resonates so much with so many of us that royalties from airplay and advertisements are estimated to be $1 million per year for the ten years ending in 2010. No surprise, as this remains as one of the top happiness inducing songs.
The lyrics may refer to Saturday night granted, by this upbeat Mark Ronson and songwriter Bruno Mars collaboration is guaranteed to give you that Saturday feeling whatever day of the week.
One of the best-selling songs of all time, while the lead single from Daft Punk’s fourth studio album, Random Access Memories (2013) featuring Pharrell Williams and co-written by the duo, Williams, and Nile Rodgers, is an ode to getting lucky in the sexual sense, there is no denying a song about luck of any kind will put you in a happy mood.
Joining American Authors is Bill Withers who also is convinced “it’s gonna be a lovely day” with his 1977 single “Lovely Day”.
Can’t Stop the Feeling
Justin Timberlake no doubt puts a smile on your face when he sings, “I got that sunshine in my pocket/
Got that good soul in my feet”. Just imagine how sunshine might feel in your pocket, and you’re guaranteed to go all fuzzy and warm inside. The best-selling song of 2016 in the US, with 2.49 million copies sold, written for the Trolls soundtrack, does just that!
While a musical middle finger to the gold-digging beau and her beau, there is no denying that there is something totally feel-good about this 2010 monster hit written by CeeLo Green, Bruno Mars, The Smeezingtons, and Brody Brown which allows us to join in and let off some steam as we cuss out and resolve to forget the one that’s wronged us.
Don’t Worry Be Happy
Released in September 1988, this upbeat song by Bobby McFerrin became the first a cappella song to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song’s title is taken from a famous quotation byThe Indian mystic and sage Meher Baba (1894–1969) who often used the expression “Don’t worry, be happy” when cabling his followers in the West. There is much joy in the lyrics’ jovial and rebellious denial of reality in pursuit of happiness.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s gave us the gift of two of the most feel-good songs put together with his 1993 a ukulele medley of “Over the Rainbow” and Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”.
Three Little Birds
Who are we to argue with Bob Marley when he softly sings “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright”?
I Got You (I Feel Good)
From one legend to another, with what is arguably James Brown’s biggest hit. While he may refer to having his loved one by his side to feel like “sugar and spice”, regardless of whether you have a significant other or not, I dare you not to listen to this song and instantly feel uplifted.
The song written by British duo Lighthouse Family, for their debut album Ocean Drive (1996) is not a straightforward happy song but more a bittersweet tribute to the strength of the human soul to get up when down with lyrics such as “But we’ll get through it anyway / We’ll get back to the start again” and a promise to us all that “We could be lifted from the shadows”.
It’s a Wonderful Life
A song by the English singer Black from his 1986 album of the same name and somewhat of a Euro-hit, “It’s a Wonderful Life” has been described as a “seductive, bittersweet ballad”. Forget the inherent melancholy of the rhythm and focus on the lyrics and you’re bound to be uplifted.