31 Of The Best Songs About Being Happy: Happiness Playlist

Written by Dan Farrant
Last updated

It doesn’t take much to be happy. But admit it. Some days it’s so hard to even fake a smile.

There’s no better way to get out of a funk than listening to happy songs. They can surely put you in a chipper mood. Some can amplify that happy feeling. Others will make you want to dance like no one is watching.

Now more than ever, we need a little more happiness in our lives, and we have just the right compilation of songs to achieve that. So if you want to feel like a million bucks, here are 31 of the best songs about being happy.

1. “Don’t Worry Be Happy” By Bobby McFerrin

What better way to start our list than with a song with “happy” in the title? “Don’t Worry Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin is an anthem that will get you grooving your way to happiness.

The lyrics address the troubles in life that we face. Now troubles are different for everyone. Some don’t have a home. Some do but have no money. There may be trouble in relationships or work.

The singer makes a point when he says that worrying about our troubles makes them worse. What you can do is have the right attitude and mindset about the situation. And it starts with being happy. When you’re happy, you attract good things.

2. “Uptown Funk” By Mark Ronson Ft. Bruno Mars

When “Uptown Funk” came out, it became an anthem for partying and having a good time. It became a hit among listeners, propelling it to become the most successful single of DJ Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

The lyrics address a group of friends going out for a night on the town. They’re dressed to the nines and look “so pretty” and “too hot.” At the party scene, they check out all the girls and feel good about their chances.

As we all know, partying is synonymous with dancing and having fun. These activities bring happiness. So if you’re feeling down, play this song and let the infectious beat help you feel better.

3. “Happy” By Pharrell Williams

When you’re happy, you have this energy you can’t contain. Even if you’re bombarded by problems left and right, nothing can bring you down. This is what Pharrell Williams tells us in his 2013 song “Happy.”

This song hits differently as it tells us to be happy no matter what. The singer knows how happiness feels. It makes him feel light, like “a hot air balloon that could go to space.” And he’s so high with this feeling that nothing can make him feel blue.

The chorus implores the listeners to join in on the fun and clap along. So you can’t help but get caught up in the beat and feel engaged with the cheerful vibes of this song.

4. “Can’t Stop The Feeling” By Justin Timberlake

Former N’Sync member Justin Timberlake released “Can’t Stop the Feeling” in 2016. This is another upbeat soundtrack song, this one from the movie Trolls.

This song sent Timberlake to a new level of stardom as kids and parents alike fell in love with the infectious track. The lyrics describe happiness as an electric feeling that makes you feel like you’re flying.

It’s impossible to listen to this song without getting caught up in the good vibes. If you need a dose of happiness, press play, and your funk will immediately disappear.

5. “Don’t Stop Me Now” By Queen

British rock band Queen is synonymous with inspirational music. However, of their many joyous songs, “Don’t Stop Me Now” is one that never fails to get people happily singing along.

This rock anthem’s fun lyrics center on a person who is determined to have a good night out and not let anything get in his way. The song’s themes are celebratory and remind listeners to enjoy all that life has to offer.

As with many of Queen’s legendary songs, this one has become a mainstay in popular culture, thanks to its uplifting lyrics and electrifying high-tempo.

6. “Sunday Best” By Surfaces

You don’t need to have an explanation for why you feel good. Surfaces‘ “Sunday Best,” says that happiness feels like there’s always that sunshine above you.

Here, the singer feels “blessed, never stressed,” something that we all want to experience all the time. This is the kind of mindset that helps us go through challenges.

So even with problems, we can look at each day with positivity. And even if we “fall down sometimes,” it’s all right. We can push through if we find happiness, even in the simpler things in life.

7. “Just The Way You Are” By Bruno Mars

Singer-songwriter Bruno Mars appears on our happy list again. “Just the Way You Are” is a single from his debut album, Doo-Wops & Hooligans, released in 2010. This song is about happiness that comes from loving someone.

The lyrics paint the picture of a woman who doubts herself but whom the singer appreciates fully. Perhaps she has issues with self-confidence, but the singer saves the day by assuring her that she is beautiful. Inside and out.

But more than that, you can feel his sincerity and happiness as he sings about what makes her beautiful. He loves her as she is and wouldn’t change a thing about her.

8. “The Way You Make Me Feel” By Michael Jackson

Our next song, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” is similar to the previous entry. Both songs talk about the happiness one feels from loving someone. Michael Jackson released this song in 1987, and it was a #1 hit from his album Bad.

In the lyrics, the singer addresses how he feels about his woman. Everything about her enchants him, from the way she walks to how she looks. But beyond appearances, he loves how he is when with her.

By being in love with her, his “lonely days are gone.” And he will do everything in his power to keep her by his side.

9. “Love On Top” By Beyoncé

In 2011, Beyoncé released her album 4, aptly named as it was her fourth studio album. One of the singles is “Love on Top,” and it’s easy to see why it is about happiness.

In the lyrics, Queen B is unapologetically celebrating all the ways she loves her man. His presence alone makes her feel the sun is always around to bring brighter days.

He sounds like the kind of man that many women would appreciate. First, he gives his all to the relationship. Second, she can always rely on him. And lastly, he prioritizes her by putting her “love on top.”

10. “I Got You (I Feel Good)” By James Brown

With the words “I feel good” right in the title, you know this song will make you happy. James Brown‘s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” came from his 1964 album Out of Sight and remains a hit today.

The brass on this blues song makes it sound happy, and the lyrics elevate that sensation. The song talks about feeling good because the singer has found the woman of his dreams.

Feeling good is akin to feeling “nice, like sugar and spice.” And there is nothing else in the world he’d rather do than hold her in his arms.

11. “Walking On Sunshine” By Katrina And The Waves

Can you imagine that this song is 40 years old? Still, a lot of people recognize it when it plays. “Walking on Sunshine” was released in 1983 off Katrina and the Waves‘ debut studio album.

The song has an optimistic outlook as the singer gets the confirmation she needs from her partner. She feels like she’s walking on sunshine when she’s assured of his love for her.

She is optimistic about their relationship despite the fact that he’s away from her. And when he comes to be with her, she hopes it won’t be just for the weekend but forever.

12. “On Top Of The World” By Imagine Dragons

Our next song, “On Top of the World,” is about Imagine Dragons‘ climb to success. However, listeners can appreciate that sense of accomplishment in a personal way.

The lyrics mention cresting the highest mountains while also fording the deepest rivers, making the acceptance of highs and lows easy to understand. Overcoming these obstacles makes the singer feel like he’s on top of the world.

And by that, it means he’s happy to finally achieve success. He has paid his dues, and now he enjoys the fruits of his labor.

13. “Shiny Happy People” By R.E.M.

American rock band R.E.M. is no stranger to infectious, upbeat songs, but “Shiny Happy People” is one of their sweetest. This pop-rock track played a big role in their shift toward mainstream recognition.

The catchy beat and relatively simple lyrics celebrate love and happiness. With a sound that mixes power pop and bubblegum pop, it’s an optimistic song that will have you smiling in no time.

The track has become one of R.E.M.’s most enduring songs. It has made countless appearances in commercials, films, and television. It was even featured in Sesame Street when the show parodied it as “Furry Happy Monsters.”

14. “Let’s Go Crazy” By Prince

We only get one life. The best we can do is enjoy living. That’s the message behind Prince‘s 1984 single “Let’s Go Crazy.”

At its core, this song with “happiness” in the lyrics is about fighting against evil. The singer warns us against Satan, whom the song refers to as the de-elevator. He tells us not to let evil bring us down.

Instead, we must turn to God. The world is rife with struggles, but there is “a world of never-ending happiness” waiting for us. To bide your time until you get there, he encourages us to grab our friends and go crazy, living it up while we have time.

15. “Shout” By The Isley Brothers

The younger generations may no longer be familiar with The Isley Brothers’ “Shout.” No wonder, as the song is as old as their grandparents. But the infectious beat of the song will make you want to dance along to it.

In the lyrics, the singer talks about the happiness he feels from the love of his woman. And it’s something most of us can easily relate to.

When we’re happy, we want to move, just like the singer does. He wants to “lift my heels up,” “throw my head back,” and “kick my heels up.” For most of us, it’s like punching the air and shouting with happiness.

16. “Sweet Caroline” By Neil Diamond

Love always has the ability to make us happy. In “Sweet Caroline,” Neil Diamond sings about how his nights are no longer lonely when his lover comes into his life.

From the lyrics, the singer tells us how he thought that life would never be this good. Perhaps he’d been through enough heartaches to expect the same from his new relationship.

But to his surprise, Caroline changes everything. He appreciates how she made everything better so quickly. And even the simple act of holding hands with a lover can bring so much happiness.

17. “Happiness” By Taylor Swift

Sometimes it’s difficult to see or feel happiness following a breakup. But according to Taylor Swift‘s “Happiness,” it’s possible.

From the lyrics, the singer is realistic in showing the two sides of a relationship. When things go wrong, we can’t help but feel bitter or angry at the other person.

At the same time, the singer reflects on the happy times they shared. She recognizes that once she was happy with him, as he was with her. But now that they’ve parted ways, there will be happy days for her and him separately.

18. “You Make My Dreams” By Hall & Oates

Our next song, “You Make My Dreams,” was released as a single in 1981 by Hall & Oates. But it experienced a revival thanks to Joseph Gordon Levitt’s happy performance in the movie 500 Days of Summer.

The lyrics explain how the singer finds what he’s looking for from his love interest. He wants to be with her because she makes his life complete. Even nightmares are tolerable, knowing he finds peace from having her arms around him.

More than that, this person makes his “dreams come true.” Understandably, when you find that kind of person, it brings endless happiness.

19. “Good Vibrations” By The Beach Boys

You most likely know The Beach Boys for their laid-back California vibe. “Good Vibrations” shares that sensation with the listener. Though they released it in 1966, the song is a timeless classic that you can listen to when you want to feel happy.

The song quickly begins with the singer admiring a love interest. You know how it feels when you look at a person and you feel something toward them. Somehow, you get the feeling that they’ll either be good or bad for you.

But for the singer, he picks up “good vibrations” from her while she gives him “the excitations.” Here, good vibrations are synonymous with good feelings or good vibes.

20. “Lovely Day” By Bill Withers

If there’s someone guaranteed to brighten our day, it’s our special someone. Take it from Bill Withers‘ song, “Lovely Day,” released in 1977 from the album Menagerie.

In the lyrics, we find the singer expressing his appreciation for his lover. There are days when he wakes up to a heavy feeling, as though something is wrong with the world. It’s something most of us can relate to.

But he realizes that everything will be okay because he has her by her side. Just one look at her changes his perspective on life in general. Whatever happens, it’s going to be “a lovely day” for him. And that thought translates to happiness.

21. “A Beautiful Morning” By The Rascals

It’s not just people that bring happiness. Sometimes, you only need to look around to find that simple things bring good feelings. If you want to know more, listen to The Rascals‘ “A Beautiful Morning.”

The song reflects a lazy, laid-back feeling that makes you feel happy inside. The lyrics talk about simple pleasures, like breathing fresh air, listening to the birds, and seeing flowers blooming.

If you like waking up to music, program this song as your morning alarm and start your day on a happy note. Indeed, a beautiful morning can do so much to uplift our spirits.

22. “Happiness” By Little Mix

Up next, we have Little Mix‘s “Happiness” from their 2020 album Confetti. It’s a song that mentions “happiness” as something that you must find in yourself and not from other people.

The lyrics encourage listeners to always look from within, whether it be for happiness or love. The singer realizes too late the mistake of using someone “to fill up my loneliness.”

Sometimes, we must go through heartbreak to realize how amazing self-love is. But the good thing is, she’s happier once she got out of that relationship. She realizes that loving herself first can give her the kind of happiness one can’t find in romantic relationships.

23. “I Can See Clearly Now” By Johnny Nash

When we’re going through challenges, we feel as if a dark cloud follows us. But once we pass that stage, we see the obstacles from a new perspective. That’s what Johnny Nash‘s “I Can See Clearly Now” is all about.

From the lyrics, we can feel the singer’s despair from the pain and suffering he experiences. But when the obstacles are gone, “It’s gonna be a bright sunshiny day”!

Everything feels brand new, and we can look forward to a new day with renewed hope. Instead of seeing shadows, we can see a clear path with blue skies and a rainbow. These evoke feelings of being happy.

24. “Just Fine” By Mary J. Blige

Many of the songs on our list are known for their infectious sound. Mary J. Blige‘s “Just Fine” is another uplifting, feel-good track that marries positive lyrics with an energetic beat.

The lyrics of this critically-acclaimed song will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. The singer encourages us to “do what you want to do” because it brings happiness. She doesn’t recommend that you mope around or assume negative vibes.

In addition, she tells us to have the right mindset and accept things as they are. In fact, she lets us know that there’s nothing she’s going to change about her life because it’s “just fine.”

25. “Sir Duke” By Stevie Wonder

Young or old will definitely enjoy our next song on the list. Stevie Wonder‘s “Sir Duke” has such a happy and upbeat sound that you can’t resist jiving into it.

This song is a tribute to jazz musician Duke Ellington, who greatly inspired Wonder. The lyrics talk about how music helps people come together and understand each other in deep ways. That’s because music is “a language we all understand.”

In fact, when people hear a particular song, it affects them in different ways. To make a point, “Sir Duke” evokes feelings of happiness. You can just feel that irresistible vibe.

26. “Dance To The Music” By Sly And The Family Stone

If there’s one thing “Dance to the Music” evokes, it’s the feeling of happiness and having fun. Sly and the Family Stone originally recorded the song to please their record executives, though you can’t tell by the band’s enthusiasm on the track.

The song was a crossover hit on the pop charts because of its catchiness. The lyrics break down the song’s creation, highlighting the different instruments used. Many sections are acapella, inspiring the listeners to smile and sing along.

Though the lyrics are sparse, they encourage the listeners to “Get on up and dance to the music.”

27. “I’m Coming Out” By Diana Ross

It’s difficult not to be in a happy mood once you heard Diana Ross‘ “I’m Coming Out.” It’s a celebration of your true self, even if it means the possibility of people not accepting you.

But the singer has the courage to face the music, so to speak. She is proud to tell and show the world who she really is. She’s basically saying this is her time “to break out of the shell.”

This song is empowering in so many ways. Though it has become an anthem of the LGBTQ community, it can also be about coming out of things that shackle you.

28. “Groove Is In The Heart” By Deee-Lite

You can tell that the group Deee-Lite loves dance music just by listening to the opening beats of our next song, which relies on classic samples. “Groove Is in the Heart” is their biggest hit from their 1990 album World Clique.

From the beginning, the singer declares their intent to get the listeners on their feet. The beat makes your body move before you realize what’s happening.

The lyrics explain what’s going on with your body as they talk about breaking away from your normal routine and letting loose on the dance floor to boost your mood.

29. “Three Little Birds” By Bob Marley And The Wailers

The number one thing that shoots down happiness is worrying. In Bob Marley and the Wailers‘ 1980 single “Three Little Birds,” they keep telling us not to worry because things always work out.

The verses of the song talk about appreciating life. Here, the singer finds three birds on his doorstep, and they seem to sing to him that there’s no reason to worry.

And so the singer starts a new morning with a smile on his face. It sets the tone for the rest of his day, like a reminder to put happiness in his heart.

30. “Happy Together” By The Turtles

Another old but gold song on our list is The Turtles‘ “Happy Together.” Though it was released in 1967, it remains one of the band’s biggest hits.

It’s easy to see why. This love song is a catchy one as it talks about how compatible the singer is with his love interest. The lyrics address how much he loves his partner and how he’ll never leave her for anyone else.

Some verses talk about how he knew he would end up with her no matter what. Their being together brings endless happiness.

31. “I Gotta Feeling” By Black Eyed Peas

We can think of nothing else better to close our list than an anthem for having a good time. Black Eyed Peas‘ “I Gotta Feeling” is the hit single from their fifth album, The E.N.D., released in 2009. The album title stands for The Energy Never Dies, which perfectly explains how the Black Eyed Peas approach music.

The song starts building the happy energy by chanting how tonight will be a good night. The rhythm builds up until you’re dancing along without realizing it.

The lyrics take the listeners through a fun night with the group, going wild and letting loose. They suggest losing whatever stresses you out and just enjoying the night.

Summing Up Our Being Happy Songs

Songs about happiness are endless! That’s how prevalent this topic is among songwriters. We just want to be happy if we could.

But the message we want to leave you is to be happy even with the smallest thing. How we feel about our day or our lives in general, starts from a decision to look at things in a positive light.

We know it’s not always easy, but hey, let the songs above give you the inspiration. And lastly, we hoped that our list put a smile on your face.

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Dan Farrant, the founder of Hello Music Theory, has been teaching music for over 15 years, helping hundreds of thousands of students unlock the joy of music. He graduated from The Royal Academy of Music in 2012 and then launched Hello Music Theory in 2014. He plays the guitar, piano, bass guitar and double bass and loves teaching music theory.