Songs That Make Me Smile, Part II

Here are some more songs that can help chase the clouds away when I’m having a rough day. If you’re interested, you can find more in Part I.

“I Believe I Can Fly” by Me First And The Gimme Gimmes

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes work wonders with every song they cover (and they have covered a lot of songs). They take what is often an overly long, boring ballad, and turn it into something fun that takes half the time to listen to. That, my friends, is magic. I listened to this song on repeat while I was studying for my Statistics exam and sang along with it while I drove to write it. Got an A+ in the course!

“Combine Harvester” by The Wurzels

FA introduced me to this song, and two bars in I knew it was going to be great. A parody from the mid-70s, it hits all the buttons with its themes about love, romance, booze, corduroy pants, and farm equipment. You can’t go wrong.

“Skyliner” by Charlie Barnet

Back when CD players were starting to become popular, my folks replaced our giant console record player/stereo (it was made of real wood and had SOLID STATE in chrome under the lid) with an (at the time) amazing CD player/stereo setup. One of the first CDs that we got was a set of three Big Band discs. We listened to it constantly, and my sister and I called this the “water song” because the saxophone parts reminded us of those cheesy water effects on TV where the screen would slowly ripple. Yes, I’m a child of the 70s.

“Play That Funky Music” by Wild Cherry

Do not – under any circumstances – listen to this song on tinny little speakers. You need something with bass. Lots of bass.

“Super Mario Bros. Theme Song” by Koji Kondo

Think of an instrument. Any instrument. This song has been played on it. Think of any combination of any instruments. This song has been played on it. Now think of something that’s NOT an instrument. Guess what? This song has been played on it. Think of any inhabited region of any country on the planet – someone there has heard this song and would probably enjoy whistling it with you. Any alien ships that land on Earth to spread goodwill and technology (or eat us) will probably play this when they land because they’ll think it’s our planetary anthem.

Stay safe.

Songs That Make Me Smile

During the day, I almost always have music playing. Whether I’m listening to a record, or have my earbuds in, or have the radio on, or I’m blasting music over bluetooth… I’m very rarely without music. Sometimes I’ll play stuff in my head. Sometimes I’ll whistle or sing to myself (ideally when there’s nobody around).

My taste in music has widened over the years as I’ve met new people and found out what they like. I think it’s safe to say that I like most kinds of music – some more than others of course, but I think I like most of it. I rarely listen to the lyrics to any song. I treat the vocals as another instrument, and I like picking songs apart and listening to what each instrument does and how they work together.

On rough days, music can help me stay afloat. If I feel really down or like there’s panic coming, I will crank up the music – nice and loud and upbeat.

Here are some songs that make me smile or help me see things differently when things aren’t going well.

“Get Over You” by The Undertones

This is my go-to song for almost any occasion. The best chorus in the best song by the best band on the planet. If you don’t like classic punk or think you’re going to hate this song, at least skip to 2:00 in the video and listen to the harmony in the chorus. Not bad for some kids out of Derry!

“Lydia The Tattooed Lady” by The Muppets

From the second episode of the first season of the original Muppet Show comes this gem. Supposedly, “Lydia The Tattooed Lady” was one of Jim Henson’s favourite songs, and the Muppet version of this song pretty much bursts at the seams with glee. This song made it onto my first “Videos That Make Me Smile” list.

“Mr. Blue Sky” by The Electric Light Orchestra

This song is… I don’t know what the best way to describe it would be. Somehow, ELO managed to perfectly package optimism in song format. I can’t listen to this song without tapping my toes or bouncing up and down.

“King Of The Road” by Roger Miller

This song is an exception to my “upbeat music” rule. Miller’s vocals are laid back and you can practically feel the swing. Everybody has heard this song, and most people can probably sing a few bars. There is nothing quite like listening to this song on a record player – pops and hisses and all.

“The Blue Danube Waltz” by Johann Strauss

This song has so many different meanings for me. It reminds me of the simpler times of childhood. It reminds me of HAL 9000 (one of my favourite movie characters). It makes me think of the grandiose and amazing things that humanity is capable of when we share a vision and work together.

BONUS: “The Blue Danube Hustle” by The Rice And Beans Orchestra

You know how every food tastes better when you deep-fry it? Well, every song sounds better when you, uh… “disco” it. Do the Hustle Waltz (whatever that means)!

Stay safe.