April 1, 2023

One of the cool things about music is how artists can create songs that evoke feelings—and happiness is a common theme. Whether it’s a song about sparking joy, looking forward to brighter days, or simply reflecting on happier moments in the past, there’s no doubt that being happy something everyone should strive for as part of their everyday routine. From love to heartbreak, to dreams, to nights out, here is a list of songs that reflect different aspects of this emotion. 
Pharrell released the best-selling song of 2014 when he dropped “Happy,” the theme song from the animated film Despicable Me 2. In addition to the groovy track sparking joy and cheer in listeners, the visual for “Happy” became the world’s first 24-hour music video.
Stevie Wonder was a central pillar in making the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. a national holiday. To help propel the cause, he released the celebratory track “Happy Birthday.” Over time, the song has become a cultural staple to sing at parties after belting the original birthday song.
Sometimes life throws so many curveballs, and Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” encourages listeners to be positive. The basis of the song is not to live life worrying about trying times but about practicing happiness instead.
In 2002, Ashanti was the new face of R&B when she released her self-titled debut album. Her second single, “Happy” tells the story of being infatuated with her partner and being so happy with this newfound love.
Rock band The Turtles may have released their hit song “Happy Together” back in 1967, but the breezy track continues to be used across TV and film scenes today. The song finds the lead singer telling how happy he is with his partner. In the second verse, they sing, “Me and you, and you and me / No matter how they toss the dice, it had to be / The only one for me is you and you for me / So happy together.”
In Mary J. Blige’s “Be Happy,” the singer realizes she needs to genuinely love and be happy with herself before she can truly love anyone else. It's often been said that people can’t go looking for happiness; they have to find it within themselves first. Blige stresses this in the song as she says, “I just wanna be so, so happy / But the answers lies in me.”
In 1995, No Doubt released their third studio album, Tragic Kingdom and one of the standout tracks is “Happy Now?” The song is all about the protagonist questioning if her ex-partner is happier since they decided to end their relationship. The protagonist is confident she doesn’t want the ex-partner to try to rekindle anything.
When Maze and Frankie Beverly came onto the music scene in the late ‘70s, one of their standout classics was “Happy Feelin’s.” The warm and soulful song oozes with the theme of spreading good vibes and feelings everywhere.
Leona Lewis worked with hitmaking producer and songwriter Ryan Tedder on her single “Happy.” The song is all about a person striving for happiness even if things don’t always turn out how they may desire. 
In 2008, alternative rock band N.E.R.D. released their third studio album Seeing Sounds. One of the album's standouts is “Happy,” a track in which Pharrell details being in much better head space after a failed relationship.
After Avril Lavigne saw significant success with her debut album, she followed up with her sophomore project Under Skin. The album's second single, “My Happy Ending" is all about Lavigne trying to get closure on a past relationship and realizing that perhaps she and her ex-partner didn't have mutual intentions. On the hook, she says, “And all our memories so close to me just fade away / All this time, you were pretending / So much for my happy ending.”
In 1987, R&B group Surface released their hit song “Happy.” It tells the male perspective of finding love and realizing the happiness it can bring. He never thought he would find someone to make him feel that way and wants to spend forever with his newfound love.
In Britney Spears’ “Born To Make You Happy,” she’s trying to figure out where her relationship went wrong. She knows that if her partner was present, they could make the love work because she knows they were meant for each other.
On Michelle Branch’s “Are You Happy Now,” the singer questions if her ex-lover is happier since they’re no longer together. Her ex seems to be walking away nonchalantly, but she thinks he would lie to her about his happiness since he wasn't always truthful about his feelings during their relationship.
Although the Edwin Hawkins Singers released their classic tune “Oh Happy Day” back in 1967, the gospel track remains a popular song among choirs across the globe. One of its most popular adaptions came from a scene in the 1993 film Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit.
One of the elements that stands out on The Rolling Stones' classic track "Happy" is the instrumentation of guitars and horns. This musicianship helps elevate the song's breezy sound while spreading the theme of finding love and happiness.
Sister duo Chloe x Halle teamed up with rapper Joey Bada$$ on their single “Happy Without Me.” The song tells the story of reminiscing on a past love and seeing how their ex is happier since moving on. From the protagonist's point of view, once she sees her ex-lover with someone else, she starts reflecting on all of the good memories they had. 
When R.E.M. released their 1991 single "Shiny Happy People" the song was initially intended as satire of the Chinese government's propaganda after the Tiananmen Square protests. However, the song's intended meaning seems lost to listeners due to the upbeat production. "Shiny Happy People" peaked at number ten on Billboard Hot 100. 
Although it wasn’t released as a single, NAO’s “Happy” was a standout track among fans on her debut album. The song has NAO realizing how her friend may be feeling down at times, and she wants to be there for them to make them smile.
On Paramore’s single “Fake Happy,” the group reflects on the emotion in a different sense. On the track, lead singer Hayley Williams details how people may sometimes go through life smiling to everyone, even when they may not feel that happy deep down inside. 
“Destiny’s Child’s “Happy Face” is a feel-good anthem for everyone. The group members explore how people don’t always appreciate the little things, whether that means waking up and seeing the sunrise, or just breathing—it’s important to realize one’s blessings. On the hook, the group sings, “I woke up this morning, the sunshine was shining / I put on my happy face / I’m living, I’m able, I’m breathing, I’m grateful / To put on a happy face.”
T-Pain is no stranger to singing about libations, he has the discography to back it up. Buddy teamed up with T-Pain on his single “Happy Hour," in which the two reference different cocktails to tell the story of how one may act if they’re a little tipsy.
Blink-182’s “Happy Days” is the type of track that could resonate with anyone. The song reflects on how people should continue to push forward and go after their dreams, even when the world can seem so hard and negative.
Sheryl Crow's single "If It Makes You Happy" reflects on the notion that if something can bring happiness, then there's no point for a person to be sad as well. "If It Makes You Happy" became a top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
Drake gifted fans a double album with Scorpion, in which listeners get rapping Drake on the A Side, and singing Drake on the B Side. When he dropped the track listing, people were hyped about how "Ratchet Happy Birthday" would sound. While most fans assumed the track would be more of a celebratory song that people could party to, "Ratchet Happy Birthday" actually finds Drake detailing the emotional detachment he feels during a woman's birthday celebration.
Mya Singleton is a freelance writer and photographer based in Los Angeles. Her work has also been featured on The Sports Fan Journal and AXS. Feel free to follow her talking all things music on Twitter @MyaMelody7
More must-reads:
Get the latest news and rumors, customized to your favorite sports and teams. Emailed daily. Always free!


Leave a Reply