Favorites Friday: Cheer-Up Songs

I was musing on topics for this Friday, and thought I’d do another song round-up.  I’ve posted on my favorite songs about following your dreams (twice, in fact) but today’s not quite that.  These songs are for days when, never mind following dreams, you don’t even want to get out of bed.  Maybe it’s raining, maybe it’s Monday (in which case you could listen to “Rainy Days and Mondays” but it’s not very uplifting) and you just need something to battle the blues.

I have a playlist for those days, and here are a few of my favorites…  Links go to YouTube videos if you’d like to listen too.

“Talking Optimist Blues” by Neil Diamond is a slightly odd one, because it’s all about how lousy the singer’s life is.  It starts with “I’ve got worries by the ton” then lists them all–but “despite it all, I’d like to say, I’m gonna have a good day, today.  Gonna have a good time anyway.”  A lot of cheer-up songs focus on life getting better.  I like the reminder in this song that happiness isn’t out there somewhere, after everything changes.  We can’t always change our circumstances, but we can change our attitude.  And have a good day–today.  (Listen here)

“Daybreak” by Barry Manilow is more conventional, with an uplifting melody and enthusiastic singing–though it is present tense and there’s a little of the same message: “Hey, it’s daybreak, if you only believe, it can be daybreak.” (Listen here)

“Smile” was sung by many people but I have Josh Groban’s version.  It’s not a cheery, upbeat melody.  It’s almost a little melancholy, in fact, but it’s an encouraging, uplifting song in another way: “Smile, what’s the use of crying?  You’ll find that life is still worthwhile if you just smile.”  It’s sounds better when he’s singing it than when you just read it flat-out… (so listen here)

“Get Rhythm” by Johnny Cash is perhaps the most direct of all, with it’s repeated refrain, “when you get the blues, c’mon, get rhythm.”  It does what it promises, as it’s a good toe-tapper. (Listen here)

“Put on Your Sunday Clothes” from Hello, Dolly is another exhuberantly cheerful one, from it’s opening “Out there, there’s a world outside of Yonkers…full of shine and full of sparkle.”  All about seizing the wonderful things in the world, you can hardly help but feel enthusiastic…and to wonder how Michael Crawford ever transitioned from Hello, Dolly to The Phantom of the Opera.  But that’s a different story! (Listen here)

I have to say this post has put me in a good mood…since I listened to everything while writing it!  What do you listen to when you’ve got worries by the ton, get the blues, or feel down-and-out? 🙂

4 thoughts on “Favorites Friday: Cheer-Up Songs

  1. Great song choices! I love Neil Diamond and Barry Manilow. “Smile” used to be one of my favorites, but it is melancholy and is one of those songs that has too many bad memories attached at this point. “Get Rhythm” is such a fun song! When my kids were little they were into trains big time, and because of that they had a huge attachment to his “Folsom Prison Blues” – it was ridiculous and cute to see my two-year-old kid singing, “I hear the train a-coming it’s rolling round the bend, and I ain’t see the sunshine, since I don’t know when…” I wish we would have recorded it.

  2. I love old movies so for me it’s “Singing in the Rain” from the Gene Kelly film of the same name and “Pick Yourself Up” from the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers film, “Swing Time.” I find it interesting that, in listening to current Top 40 radio, how some of the songs have a positive message also – maybe because of the Great Recession and how hard it has hit the twenty-somethings who listen to those stations. One Republic’s “Gotta Be a Good Life” and P!nk’s “Try” come to mind.

  3. Dennis

    I’ll nominate the classic Disney song, Chim-Chim-Cheree, as a great cheer-up song. The melody isn’t especially upbeat; in fact, at times it’s haunting. But the message is totally upbeat. It’s about finding happiness in the face of circumstances that the rest of the world would consider difficult “Though I spend my life among ashes and smoke, in this whole wide world there’s no happier bloke.” And it finishes with a cheerful wish for those of us who aren’t fortunate enough to be chimney sweeps. If we shake hands with a chimney sweep and get ashes on our palms, don’t grouse about getting our hands dirty. That’s just good luck rubbing off!

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