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Here Are The 10 Most Feel-Good Songs Ever, According To Science

Written by Tom Williams on September 22, 2015

Music’s power to help us drown out our sorrows is well documented, but so is its ability to make us feel fan-frickin-tastic. So to figure out how music picks us up, a cognitive neuroscientist has determined which popular songs have the most fun-loving musical formulas. Literally.

As the Daily Mail reports, Dr Jacob Jolij from Holland’s University of Groningen has revealed what his recent study believes to be the 10 most feel-good pop songs.

In doing so, Dr Jolij has devised a wacky mathematical formula which assesses how ‘feel-good-y’ (not the scientific term) a track is by looking at its lyrics (L), its tempo in beats per minute (BPM) and its key (K).

Here it is, with FGI standing for how feel-good a song is:
(Warning: May remind you of school)


In his research, Dr Jolij applied this formula to only 126 songs and listened to feedback from music listeners. So as it was a pretty limited scientific test, Dr Jolij recognises that people’s reactions to music are still subjective.

“A feel good song is very personal,” Dr Jolij says. “Music is intimately linked with memory and emotion, and these associations strongly determine whether a song will put you in a good mood or not.

“However, there are some key criteria for composers to consider when creating feel good songs – namely lyrical theme, musical key, and tempo. Combine these three ingredients together and you have the formula for the perfect ‘feel-good’ song.”

The science of music streaming data has previously been used to figure out the 25 most timeless songs ever and find the world’s most popular genre.

Catch the 10 most feel-good songs according to science, below, alongside the top feel-good songs from the past six decades.

Gallery: 10 Most Feel-Good Songs Ever, According To Science

Top Feel Good Songs From Each Decade, According To Science

10s: Happy – Pharrell Williams
00s: Dancing in the Moonlight – Toploader
90s: Let Me Entertain You – Robbie Williams
80s: Uptown Girl – Billy Joel
70s: Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen
60s: Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys

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