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From Queen to ABBA: These are the ten happiest songs of all time, based on science

From Queen to ABBA: These are the ten happiest songs of all time, based on science

Are any of these your go-to feel-good songs?

One scientist set out to find the ten most joy-inducing songs and discovered they all have a few things in common. 

In 2015, British electronics brand Alba asked their customers in the UK and Ireland to submit the tracks that get them in a good mood. This list of songs was then handed over to Dutch Neurologist Dr Jacob Jolij. 

According to his blog, Alba asked him to “find a general pattern in the songs that respondents reported and whether they could use this pattern to come up with a formula.” 

Jolij took on the challenge and found that “feel-good songs” have an average tempo of 140 to 150 beats per minute (bpm), are usually in major key and the lyrics are either about “positive events” or make no sense at all. 

The songs in the final top ten list “fit the formula pretty well,” Jolij wrote, but they also made it based on how often they came up as answers in Alda’s survey. 

The Ten Happiest Songs Of All Time

  1. ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ – Queen
  2. ‘Dancing Queen’ – ABBA
  3. ‘Good Vibrations’ – The Beach Boys
  4. ‘Uptown Girl’ – Billie Joel
  5. ‘Eye of the Tiger’ – Survivor
  6. ‘I’m a Believer’ – The Monkees
  7. ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ – Cyndi Lauper
  8. ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’ – Bon Jovi
  9. ‘I Will Survive’ – Gloria Gaynor
  10. ‘Walking on Sunshine’ – Katrina & The Waves


Jojil clarifies that music is completely subjective and these songs won’t work for everyone. 

“Music appreciation is highly personal and strongly depends on social context and personal associations,” he wrote. 

“In that respect, the idea of a "feel-good formula" is a bit odd — factoring in all these personal aspects is next to impossible, in particular, if you want to come up with a quantitative feel-good formula.”

If you're already suffering from the post-holiday blues (same), why not put these songs on and see if they cheer you up?