Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Five Tracks That Make Me Happy

I gave up a long time ago on ever attempting to make a list of my favourite tracks. It’s physically impossible. I swear that discovering what lies beyond the event horizon of a black hole is more possible than me compiling a top twenty of favourite tracks.

Certain music suits certain moods, so some days I’ll yearn only to listen to Killswitch Engage. The next day I’ll want to listen to Ray Keith. The next, Fleetwood Mac. And so on and so on. Each day brings with it a different musical yearning so it would be absolutely ridiculous to suggest a top twenty as the next day it’ll likely completely alter.

I’m glad that the question “what’s your favourite song?” very rarely gets asked of me. That question in of itself is a split off because a lot of my favourite ‘songs’ are instrumentals and so not actual songs at all. But even categorised as a song, I still couldn’t tell you what my favourite is. There are too many amazing ones to pick any one over another.

So I’m deflecting such questions by instead posting five tracks that make me feel good inside. They’re not necessarily favourites, but the likelihood of a song cheering you up and it not being a favourite is quite slim. A song I dislike is going to do the direct opposite no matter how happy a song it may be. I’m going to attempt to mix up the genres too so I seem more deep and eclectic. Ha! Here goes.

Isaac Hayes – I Can’t Turn Around (1975) – As a fan of house music, I’ve pretty much been aware of Love Can’t Turn Around by Farley Jackmaster Funk since I learned what house music was. What I didn’t know until a couple of years ago was that it heavily sampled Isaac Hayes and thanks to the legendary Stu Allan, I was introduced to the original. Oh boy! It quickly became one of my favourites and is more often than not my go to song when I need a quick pick-me-up. I love the lyrics; I love Isaac Hayes’ deep and harmonious voice; I love the heavy brass during the last few minutes; I love that super funky 70’s soul style guitar; I love the rhythmic piano. Everything about this track just excites me so much. It’s about as complete a piece of music as I’ve ever heard. If you haven’t heard it then click the YouTube link. If you don’t like it then judge yourself extremely harshly as you are just wrong as a human being!

Donald Byrd – You & Music (1975) – I have Grand Theft Auto 5 and Gilles Peterson to thank for introducing me to this magnificent song. It’s beautiful in every way. Naturally, the brass is amazing because Donald Byrd is about as good a trumpeter as there has ever been, but then there are the strings on the chorus that sound heavenly. I could live without the vocals. That’s not to say they’re bad because they aren’t, but they aren’t part of the essence that makes this song so good. It’s all about the music, which is just as well because that’s thirty-three percent of the song title. Grand Theft Auto has had a habit of throwing out tracks that I love and introducing me to ones I was never aware of. Rockstar definitely hit gold with this one where I’m concerned.

King Unique – Love Is What You Need (Look Ahead) (Knee Deep Classic Club Mix) (2000) – Choosing just one house track over the many that make me feel good inside was no easy task, but this one is definitely worthy of being the chosen one. It’s a happy song both lyrically and musically. The lyrics pretty much tell you to cheer up. For years, I was only aware of the original version entitled Change of this track which was always a great one, but not a favourite by any means. Then I bought an album sometime around 2006-7 that featured this remix and it took the track to a new level of awesomeness. The essence of the original remains, but Knee Deep have beefed it up with added keys and brass. They also revamped the vocal and it just sounds better. They turned it from a good track into something of an anthem, though it’s never quite achieved the anthemic status it deserves. I may have to stick it in my next Mixcloud session so that people have the option to hear it. Failing that, click the link below and feel the joy.

John Barry – 007 and Counting (1971) – Anybody who properly knows me will know that I’m a big fan of James Bond movies. They’ll also know I’m a huge fan of the music composed by John Barry in the early films. The music is part of the reason why the early films are my favourite. John Barry was such a good composer and the theme songs are of course well-known, but the music during the movies themselves are every bit as good and even better in a lot of cases. Capsule In Space from You Only Live Twice is an iconic piece of music while Raid On Fort Knox from Goldfinger is energetic and inspiring. My favourite though is 007 and Counting from Diamonds Are Forever. This piece of music gives me a real warm, fuzzy feeling inside. The movie itself does because it marked Sean Connery’s return for one last fling at playing Bond (in an official MGM Bond movie that is – naturally I know he played him in Never Say Never Again as well). I love how this piece of music builds and builds, but then gives way to the sweet strings unannounced and the whole process starts again. It’s just beautiful. Truly, truly beautiful and so epitomises Bond in that period.

America – You Can Do Magic (1982) – I don’t quite know how I happened across this pop rock song. I think it might have been while listening to Smooth FM or something. The how is inconsequential. All that matters is that this is a lovely track and as jolly as you’re ever likely to hear. The lyrics are great and so easy to sing along to. This is what pop sounded like when pop was good! The amount of times I’ve stuck this song on repeat to cheer me up is tough to number. It was always great after a night shift at the airport because it’d lift my spirits and the singing along would give me the energy to complete the drive without crashing into the back of a lorry or something. THIS SONG SAVED MY LIFE! Okay; maybe that’s taking it too far, but I dare you to listen to it and it not make you feel a little better inside. It’s about as happy as a track can get without being “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands”. Although that song does the direct opposite to making me feel happy. I don’t like being told what to do!

Five tracks that are certain to brighten the day of even the most miserable sonuvabitch! If they don’t have that effect then I’m sorry; there’s no saving you. I could name a whole bunch more that cheer me up on top of these and I may return to this topic in the future to provide you with more happy-go-lucky in music form. In the meantime, make do with these. Listen to them again and again. Consider that my therapy for you.

Do you have certain music you turn to when you need a pick-me-up? What songs make you feel good inside? Are there any on my list that you particularly like? Tell me your thoughts on this post by commenting in the usual place so I can respond to you and get some lively happy music related conversation going. Thank you for reading and see you soon.

37 thoughts on “Paul.E.Bailey’s World – Five Tracks That Make Me Happy

  1. Fantastic bunch of tunes here somewhat surprised to see some mainstream stuff made the list, I had a feeling all your top picks would be gems from the underground, I can always tell the true nature aof passion a person has for music, if they argue the fact that there taste is truly eclectic compared to others who say the same I know I’m then in the presence of a serious listener lol…

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    1. I’m actually quite cool with older mainstream stuff. Recent pop is awful, especially EDM, which, to me, is pop by another name. I did try to pick some more obvious ones for the benefit of our less learned listeners. Had I gone with connections like ‘Funkanova’ by Wood, Brass & Steel sampled in ‘Come and Be Gone’ by The Bucketheads, or ‘Sometimes I Feel like A Motherless Child’ by El Chicano sampled in ‘Mi Vida Loca’ by Kid Frost then nobody would have had a clue. I could go on all day about sample connections. As you well know, I respect the roots.

      Apologies for not keeping up with your Mixcloud work by the way. I do intend to catch up eventually. Shit’s a bit hectic at the moment.

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      1. Yes!!!! I hate to be the old man but what really is the EDM movement it’s certainly not the dance we know, and pays no respect to the roots, I’m not all that sure what that genre is really it’s too much of a blanket term thrown around by hipsters…

        No apologies needed I’ve been enjoying a lot of your older work there lately, I tend to listen but never comment oddly enough, I’ll definitely get on that as those funk mixes are amazing…

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      2. Perfectly described. A total blanket term so they can get away with tracks that sound like a weird mixture of house, garage, trance, techno, breakbeat, electro… it’s basically a term for people who don’t have a clue about dance music, especially as EDM by its very definition encompasses ALL styles of dance music.

        I’m really proud of my funk mixes. There won’t be many people out there my age who appreciate the forefathers of dance music. I feel it’s only right to pay my respects even if very few people are tuning in. I’m always downloading new stuff as well so there’ll be a whole lot more of these sessions to come.

        FYI, I put the finishing touches on an old skool Breakbeat Hardcore mix yesterday. First one I’ve done in a couple of years. 32 tracks in less than 62 minutes. That’ll be coming next week. Keep a look out. Very banging!

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  2. I will readily admit, I wasn’t previously familiar with any of these artists or songs, but I gave each of them a listen, so thank you for including links to the songs! I agree with you that the question of “what’s your favorite song?” is an utterly ludicrous question. I am honestly not sure how I would begin to answer that, because, as you say, it depends so much on mood and time and place. I think I would need to devote an entire blog post to a proper answer to the question you posed to your readers, but a cursory response is that, to cheer myself up, my playlist will include some Motown, some pop, and maybe some rock.

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    1. Oh you can’t beat a bit of Motown to cheer you up. I’d have to say “You Keep Me Hanging On” by The Supremes and “Jimmy Mac” by Martha Reeves & Vandellas are my favourite Motown songs. The funny thing about them is they’re ironic. Neither song is a positive one lyrically, but they make you feel great inside

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      1. Isn’t that funny when you think you know a song, and then one day you stop and pay attention to the lyrics and realize its actually not an upbeat happy love song? It reminds me of some listicle I read once about the top ten bad choices for wedding songs based on this very phenomenon.

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      2. Absolutely. Big Love by Fleetwood Mac sounds like a love song about a hot affair at first, but Lindsay Buckingham actually explained it’s about him looking out for love as though it’s a danger to him. It’s a great play on words, but then Buckingham is nothing if not a musical god

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  3. Too young for America? Nobody is too young for good music unless they choose to be 🙂 I admit it house music was what got me into the funk and soul vibe by backtracking through samples used, but we’ve all gotta get to the old ones somehow, right?
    I’m very aware of The Dazz Band and Franki Valli, although I admit my style of hip hop is more 80’s and early 90’s. Massive fan of Ice T, NWA, LL Cool J and various others. I’ve never heard of Cake, I won’t lie, but it’s good to see that you’ve got your go to happy music 🙂

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    1. Maybe you don’t have any reasons or motivations. I meet many who just like music for the sake of liking it which is absolutely fine. Not everything must come with a deep and meaningful reason behind it. I take it seriously because when I get into something invariably I get REALLY into it (I’ve had it suggested to me I could be mildly autistic). I definitely don’t suggest myself as a benchmark for anything. People should enjoy what they enjoy in their own way and screw all those that try to tell you you’re doing it wrong 🙂

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  4. First of all I must say – I like that pic of you… you look sooo… pensive. LOL as far as feel good music one of my main go tos nowadays is Sam Tsui’s Timber/Counting Stars mashup… So upbeat and just makes me want to dance all around now matter what LOL (check it out if you are so inclined: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJ380x7qnvE ) Everything else is a depending on my initial mood as to what would make me feel good – does that makes sense? I almost always feel good after watching/listening to The (M)orons as well… Broadway guys that sing their friend’s songs… They are hilarious. And F. Michael Hanie is super cute too so that helps 😛 particularly their songs “I could use a drink” and “a guy like Drew”

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      1. Lol daaaaw… Paul, I would never be that mean to you! I might make fun of your clothes or taste in music… but never physical features you can’t easily change… haha I’m just teasing!!! I’m not mean enough to attack your fashion sense or anything else about you 🙂 and I really do like your nose – it suits you 😊

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      2. Lol true enough! I just didn’t know what else to pick on since we mostly just know each other on here… and I would refuse to make fun of your writing! But from what little I had been able to gather – you seem to dress pretty well, fashion sense or no LOL

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      3. For a very long time I gave up on myself… I’ve often been told I have a cool sense of style, but at times I’ve just resorted to sweatpants and tshirts after becoming a mum especially… never did my hair or makeup… now the past year plus I’ve decided to take more care again. Not that I do my hair everyday or anything, but I realised keeping up with it in general has made me feel better about myself – made me feel more attractive and that I’m splurging on myself instead of just being run down and doing everything for everyone else but myself… I suppose as a dad you don’t have the same sentiment about putting gel in your hair lol…

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    1. The caption to the pic when I posted it was something along the lines of me trying to look all deep and contemplative. Haha. The song you suggested is certainly upbeat. I can see why it’d perk you up. It’s a bit too “white” for me (I really couldn’t think of another word, but most my music seems to have black roots).
      Totally makes sense as I kind of outline in one of the first few paragraphs. I have my go to music for certain moods. I find I’m listening to music far less nowadays as it distracts me from writing/thinking about writing, which of course gives this post a hint of irony!

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      1. Lol ok ok I guess I can see the whiteness to it 😂 what of the more comedic songs? I found that I always did my best work with music or tv on in the background as a teen… somehow it sharpened my focus… rarely do that music wise anymore though… not sure why that is…

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      2. I started listening to the first link, but then got sidetracked. I’ll give you my feedback as and when. I don’t mind a bit of comedy music. Tim Minchin is the king of that.
        I find music or TV really distracts me nowadays. I still work away regardless because if I didn’t I’d get nothing done, but I’d get more done with a quiet place to go

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      3. I lied somewhat because I realised I did always put headphones on and blast music at work whenever I really had to focus. I do find lately something I get distracting, but usually it’s the right kind of distraction like glancing up at the tv periodically gives my brain a break for a few seconds at a time and then I have renewed focus when I look back at my work

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      4. I understand that and you have a good point. I often find I forget what word I want to use and the more I think the worse it gets because I frustrate and pressurise myself. If I step away for a minute; make a brew, force myself to use the toilet, etc; I find the word suddenly pops in there of its own volition

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