5 songs to spark joy, excitement, and reflection

photography of woman listening to music

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”

— J. K. Rowling

The five songs featured here embody the structure of a happy and uplifting piece of music. They all have a moderate to fast tempo (>76 BPM) and a major tonality, that is, a happy, joyful feel. So to get a little bump up in your mood, take a listen.

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Three Little Birds – Bob Marley & The Wailers

“Don’t worry about at thing, ’cause every little thing is gonna be alright”

Key: A Major – Innocent love, satisfaction, youthful cheerfulness

Tempo: 76 BPM – Adante – Walking pace

The fourth song on the album Exodus, Three Little Birds was released in 1977. One theory is that Bob Marley was inspired to write the song about 3 birds which would sit on his window sill at his home. A long time friend of Marley, Tony Gilbert is quoted as saying that Bob “was inspired by a lot of things around him. He observed life”.


Hey ya! – Outkast

“Shake it like a Polaroid picture!”

Key: G Major – Rustic, idyllic, lyrical

Tempo: 158 BPM – Allegro – Quick, Lively

Topping the charts in 2003, PopMatters described the song as “brilliantly rousing” and “spazzy with electrifying multiplicity”. Some say that this clever song has a deeper meaning masked by a happy, funky exterior and that the song is really a comment on the state of modern relationships.

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Clocks – Coldplay

“And nothing else compares”

Key: Eb – Love, devotion

Tempo: 130 BPM – Allegro – Quick, lively

Released in 2003, this song made it into the Rolling Stone top 500 songs of all time in 2010. It features a repeating piano melody with atmospheric synthesiser, a rock rhythm with plenty of cymbal action, vocal harmonies, and the breathy falsetto of lead singer Chris Martin.

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How Deep is Your Love – Bee Gees

“And you come to me on a summer breeze”

Key: Eb Major – Love, devotion

Tempo: 105 BPM – Andante – Walking pace

This 1977 beauty from the album Saturday Night Fever is a classic. With it’s intense harmonies, strikes of electric guitar, and bright keys, this tune is sure to please. Co-writers Blue Weaver and Barry Gibb pulled together the “most beautiful chords” they knew to compose the song which was eventually recorded in Château d’Hérouville, France.


Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

“Do you remember when, we used to sing”

Key: G Major – Rustic, idyllic, lyrical

Tempo: 120 BPM – Moderato – moderate with movement

From the 1967 album “Blowin’ Your Mind!”, Morrison states that he didn’t receive any royalties for this song. He also says that the song “is not one of my best” and that he has about “300 songs that are better”.

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