25 songs guaranteed to put you in a happy mood

Even in the best of times, we all have tough days. Often, self-medicating involves a dour emo ballad and a stiff drink. And sometimes, you just need an energetic shot of sunny bubblegum pop, a self-affirming banger or a head-bopping rock pick-me-up guaranteed to shift your mood skyward.

On this list you’ll find blissed-out classics and newer hits perfectly calibrated to make you feel good as hell, all of which pair up nicely as a complement to the perfect summer songs or an antidote for a rainy day. Time to let a little sunshine into your queue. 

Best happy songs

"Let’s Go Crazy" by Prince

Image: Warner Bros. Music

1. “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince

“This thing called life” can leave you down in the dumps. Who better to lift you up than Prince? Abandon your inhibitions, get a little crazy, and you’ll be alright in no time.

"Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina & The Waves

Image: EMI

2. “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & The Waves

A pop rush so pure and addictive that it is actually on the ballot in nine states to be made illegal.

"Lovely Day" by Bill Withers

Image: Columbia

3. “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers

Bill Withers’ good-natured energy permeates his funk ode to the mood-altering power of finding your soulmate.

"Tightrope" by Janelle Monáe

Image: Bad Boy Records

4. “Tightrope” by Janelle Monáe

When you need a confidence boost alongside your mood boost, this tune is what you need. Turn it up and take to heart the message about forging ahead past the doubters.

"Good as Hell" by Lizzo

Image: Atlantic

5. “Good as Hell” by Lizzo

Lizzo’s hit song will have you feeling good about yourself, putting you in the mood to conquer the blues and the world. The flute plays a big part in all of that. 

"Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley & The Wailers

Image: Island Records

6. “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers

There never was a more convincing argument for tranquility than this one’s exuberant “Every little thing’s gonna be alright” refrain.

"I Got You (I Feel Good)" by James Brown & The Famous Flames

Image: 20th Century Masters

7. “I Got You (I Feel Good)” by James Brown & The Famous Flames

JB and his band can hardly contain themselves, letting loose ecstatic screeches and strutting horns that pummel you in all the right places with infectious glee.

"Shout" by The Isley Brothers

Image: RCA Victor

8. “Shout” by The Isley Brothers

So much more than the greatest wedding-reception song ever written — though it’s also that — the Isley Brothers manic, soulful classic is a masterpiece of escalation, and a musical tribute to feeling so damn overjoyed all you can do is let out a primal scream… then do it again a little bit softer.

"Dancing Queen" by ABBA

Image: Atlantic

9. “Dancing Queen” by ABBA

This track brings everyone to the dance floor (or your own private dance floor). There’s no denying the feels that burst forth when you’re grooving like a 70s star.

"A Beautiful Morning" by The Rascals

Image: Atlantic

10. “A Beautiful Morning” by The Rascals

Regardless of the actual weather situation, you’ll be elatedly skipping out the door thanks to this tune’s unwavering sunniness.Recommended

"You Make My Dreams" by Hall & Oates

Image: RCA

11. “You Make My Dreams” by Hall & Oates

Fantasy becomes blissful reality over euphoric doo-wop and a cheerful sensibility just this side of cheesy.

"I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)" by Whitney Houston

Image: Arista

12. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston

Channel your inner Whitney with this upbeat, carefree tune that refuses to quit. You’ll be transported to a pop paradise with 80s flare, and how can you not smile about that?

"Good Vibrations" by The Beach Boys

Image: Capitol Records

13. “Good Vibrations” by The Beach Boys

Brian Wilson brings his theremin surfing and turns a trashy B-movie-soundtrack tool into an aural ray of sunshine.

"Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen

Image: Elektra

14. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

When Freddie Mercury  — Mr. Fahrenheit, if you want to get formal — is having a good time, it’s best you don’t try to interrupt it. Surrender to the infectious barrage of good vibes in this high-octane crowd-pleaser and you too will soon be floating around in ecstasy. 

"Feel Right" by Mark Ronson ft. Mystikal

Image: RCA

15. “Feel Right” by Mark Ronson ft. Mystikal

Mystikal lays down gravelly, hyper and wondrously dirty verses over Ronson’s perfectly captured throwback funk for a seriously adult party track.

"Sir Duke" by Stevie Wonder

Image: Motown Records

16. “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder

“Sir Duke” is what happens when you let one of modern music’s true geniuses geek out over the musicians he loves, and Stevie’s tribute to Duke Ellington, Glen Miller, Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington is four minutes of pure joy. If the ascendant horns don’t get you, hearing Stevie’s refrain of “you can feel it all over” will. 

"I Can See Clearly Now" by Johnny Nash

Image: CBS

17. “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash

Johnny Nash’s enraptured zydeco-soul hybrid injects images of blue skies and rainbows directly into your cerebral cortex, where they will linger for use on any rainy day.

"Dance to the Music" by Sly & The Family Stone

Image: Epic

18. “Dance to the Music” by Sly & The Family Stone

The titular exhortation seems almost superfluous given the horn lines’ uplifting, to-the-moon groove. Almost.

"All You Need is Love" by The Beatles

Image: Capitol Records

19. “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles

Lennon & McCartney’s brassy, bouncy pro-harmony singalong should have instantly brought about world peace when it came out. We’ll have to settle for bringing on a good mood.

"Blister in the Sun" by the Violent Femmes

Image: Slash

20. “Blister in the Sun” by the Violent Femmes

The goodball bassline is one of the ’80s most blissed-out riffs, and paired with Gordon Gano’s nasally delivery this stoned-out classic is guaranteed to cause an involuntary strut. Worry about the stained sheets later. 

"Happy" by Pharrell Williams

Image: Columbia

21. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams

There’s no way you don’t feel great the moment Pharrell’s buttery falsetto floats over the easily cantering beat into your grateful ears.

"The Way You Make Me Feel" by Michael Jackson

Image: Epic

22. “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson

Jackson’s primal screams and guttural hoots reveal themselves as the only meaningful way to express true love.

"Kites Are Fun" by the Free Design

Image: Project 3

23. “Kites Are Fun” by the Free Design

There’s no hidden meaning in this jaunty, sun-soaked ode to flying kites. It really is just a spectacular ’60s era song about kites. And it will instantly transform even the most hardened cynic into a child daydreaming about a day at the beach. 

"Can’t Stop the Feeling" by Justin Timberlake

Image: RCA

24. “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake

Dance, dance, dance… How can you not when listening to this tune? Justin Timberlake and the Trolls for whom the song was written are guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

"Don’t Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin

Image: EMI-Manhattan

25. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin

According to some one of the most annoying songs of all time as well, but relentless optimism has to count for something, right?