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.