The Ultimate Feel-Good Music Playlist According to Science

2 min read

Curating the ultimate feel-good playlist is a nearly impossible feat. Finding the right balance between bubbly and over-the-top is a delicate balance.

Now, science has determined what the perfect playlist is for a good time. Prepare yourself for some amazing, science-approved driving songs!

The Method

The study was sponsored by the British electronica group Alba and conducted by Dutch Neuroscientist Dr. Jacob Jolij. Alba asked people in the United Kingdom and Ireland what songs made them feel good. The information was then given to Dr. Jacob Jolij, who analyzed the data to determine the top ten best feel-good tunes.

Jolie has found a way of dividing music into numbers using tempo, key, and lyrics.

Jolij looked only at songs with lyrics that were positive, between 140-150 beats per minute (BPM), and in a major key. To create his list, he developed a formula based on the number of positive lyrics divided by how frequently a song departed from 150 BPM or major key.

Room for Future Studies

Dr. Jolij believes that his studies are only scratching the surface of all they can do and all we can learn from them. He states, “The really interesting questions are yet to be answered.”

He has a lot to ask! Is this model prescriptive, meaning that composers can use it to create specific feel-good songs? What is it about the major scale that makes us feel so good? Why do fast songs work? It seems like he’s got his work cut out.

There is no doubt about it. I would have been more interested in math if it had been cool when I was in high school.

The List

Here are the top 10 feel-good songs.

Queen – “Don’t stop me now”

“Dancing Queen” by ABBA

The Beach Boys – “Good Vibrations”.

Billy Joel, “Uptown Girl”,

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor

The Monkees – “I’m a Believer”.

Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”

Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer

Gloria Gaynor, “I Will Survive”,

“Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina & the Waves

It makes sense now why many of these songs have become karaoke favorites and why I like to dance in my kitchen when they play.

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