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The happiest pop songs in the world have been revealed thanks to science and it’s safe to say they’re absolute bangers – Music psychologist Michael Bonshor


It’s official, science has settled the debate about the world’s happiest pop songs – and looking at the list, we knew it all along.

Music psychologist Michael Bonshor teaches his subject at the University of Sheffield, and reckons he knows a thing or two about what makes a jolly track.


Music theory heads listen in, because according to the scientist, the perfect combo for a happy score is: a major key, 137 beats per minute, four beats in every bar, a classic verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure and a ‘seventh chord’ key change to add a bit of pizazz.

‘Previous studies have found songs are perceived as happy if they are in a major key, with a sweet spot of approximately 137 beats per minute,’ Bonshor said on publishing his findings on Study Finds. And the track that best follows this sunshine formula is… Good Vibrations by The Beach Boys. Hurrah.

That hardly comes as a shock, as the tune is a staple optimistic summer classic (remember summer?).
Beach Boys With A Surfboard
Good Vibrations unsurprisingly came out on top (Picture: Getty Images)
P!nk In Concert For IFA Opening
We love to see P!nk making the list (Picture: Getty Images)

Next up on the list was James Brown’s I Got You (I Feel Good) followed by House Of Fun by Madness.

Then in a detour to modern pop, legend P!nk appeared on the list with Get the Party Started, before fifth place jumped back to 1983 for Billy Joel’s classic Uptown Girl, and back again to 1971 for a bit of Bob Marley with Sun Is Shining.

The Beach Boys also took seventh place with I Get Around (they certainly do it seems when it comes to happy playlists).

Coming in for the last three places was Village People with their school disco classic YMCA, Abba with Waterloo, and Earth, Wind & Fire’s September.

Bob Marley
Of course, reggae legend Bob Marley made an appearance too (Picture: Getty Images)

The happy formula is being made into an actual song called The Lighter Note off the back of the research, which was also conducted by Müllerlight.

The yoghurt brand found that out of 2,000 adults, 32% turn to music daily to improve their mood, and the average person has a playlist of 8 happy songs on the go, with almost half (46%) saying singing along to their favorite tracks is a great way to boost their mood. 

It feels as though this is a good time to make a new playlist to get us through February – that’s until we can blast out Good Vibrations in the sunshine again.


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