Music is an incredibly powerful art form, as it can make us feel a whole range of emotions. Music can be heart-wrenching; it can be beautiful, silly, serious, politically fueled, or just for fun; but the best music is music that makes the listener feel something. A lot of the music I write about and listen to tends to be a bit on the sad side, so Ben and I decided we’d lighten things up a bit and list five songs that make us smile!
My Morning Jacket, “Wordless Chorus”
Z is one of the most interesting albums to look at as a My Morning Jacket fan. It signals a shift for these guys, as their lineup changed and their sound was transformed compared to It Still Moves. These changes and additions helped lead singer Jim James be more himself and have more fun, both on stage and in the studio. It’s hard not to smile when you hear this track, the “Wordless Chorus” of harmonies is just amazing, and his howling at the end is a lot of fun. When they play this live, Jim James glides around the stage in a cape, and it’s hard not to laugh! It’s also a moment to get a fist pump from the man notorious for his full beard and brown pants.
Ephrata, “The Sound”
Ephrata, the Seattle band that has been written about on a few occasions, is gaining a reputation for writing mesmerizing, dreamy, orchestral-pop songs. There isn’t one better than “The Sound”. It is climatic and dynamic. Every time all the instruments play that single, booming note, if you’re like me, you want to punch the air or crank your head. Combined with the beautiful melodies and lush harmonies, you can’t help but smile every time you hear this song. It’s a classic song that should be heard by everyone.
The Who, “Blue, Red and Grey”
The Who By Numbers, in my opinion is The Who’s most underrated record. I feel like it’s Pete Townshend at his most vulnerable. Songs like “However Much I Booze”, “How Many Friends”, and “In A Hand Or A Face” are all pretty heavy tracks. While “Squeeze Box” is an upbeat and fun tune, “Blue, Red, and Grey” always puts a smile on my face. It’s a beautiful song featuring Townshend on ukulele and just some horns. He sings the line, “I like every minute of the day” and it’s hard not to smile when you listen and hear Townshend explain why.
Fatboy Slim, “Praise You”
Remember when Fatboy Slim burst on to the music scene? This song and its accompanying video were a big part of the DJ/producer’s exponential rise in popularity. “Praise You” is a fun, groovy tune. It’s a song that you can listen to while driving (perfect on a sunny day with the top down), cooking up a meal at home, or having a party at home. And who hasn’t tried to imitate the choreography in this video (maybe I’ve said too much)? Or maybe you already dance like that. But regardless if you have rhythm or not, this song is one that puts a smile on all our faces.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs, “Poor Song”
This track is hidden at the end of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ debut LP, Fever To Tell. It’s hidden so well, it’s also known as “Baby I’m Afraid” or “Porcelain” as well as its proper title, “Poor Song”. What really makes me smile is the last verse where Karen O sings, “Well I may be just a fool/But I know you’re just as cool/and cool kids, they belong together”. It’s a quirky lyric, and her delivery of that line, especially live, always gets a chuckle out of me.
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