Goodness this weather is bleak. How can it be grey and cold, day after day? I am wearing tights people, TIGHTS. In May. This is against the laws of nature. I should be inexpertly slapping on St Tropez and skipping around in skirts with a sweater tossed casually over my shoulders to keep off light breezes and instead I'm digging thick jumpers out of storage. Oh, and to make things even better (hollow laugh), I've also got the worst hayfever EVER!
At times like this, music is the only thing that can lift the spirits, allowing you to shut your eyes and let some sun-soaked melody flood your brain and alleviate the spirit-crushing misery of another sullen, cloudy day.
Some people find that if they’re feeling blue, the best music to listen to is super-melancholy stuff, so they can have a proper wallow and emerge feeling a lot better. But if the prospect of sobbing quietly on the bus while Morrissey warbles “to die by your side is such a heavenly way to dieeee...” doesn’t appeal, here are some happy songs that make me feel better when things are grim. Note: these are not break-up songs, that 's a whole separate category involving lots of Kelly Clarkson – see more here.
1. Run To The Hills, Iron MaidenActually, anything by Iron Maiden really, but Run To The Hills makes me walk a bit faster, hold my head up higher and do air drumming when (I think) no one is looking. I’ve seen Maiden five times and will most probably name my firstborn after Bruce Dickinson. It’s been scientifically proven* that Iron Maiden fans are happier than most people because they don’t feel the need to be hip, relevant or ironic. So listen to The Number of the Beast and feel better.
2. Robert De Niro’s Waiting, Bananarama
“A walk in the park can become a bad dream, People are staring and following me, This is my only escape from it all, Watching a film or a face on the wa-ah-ALL!” Who can resist this perfect expression of creepy teenage pop paranoia? Banarama are one of my all-time favourite girl bands because they never, in actual fact, looked like girls – they were proper women, with REAL (as in occasionally off-key, not auto-tuned into oblivion) voices and cool, weird clothes (frumpy dungarees and clumpy shoes! Could you see The Saturdays wearing those? I think not.)
3. What You Waiting For?, Gwen StefaniI’ve listened to the lyrics of this song more carefully recently and it seems to be Gwen confessing her absolute terror at not being ‘good enough’ to be a solo star and her internal monologue as she tries to reassure herself and boost her confidence. I think everyone can identify with that – I’ve definitely experienced ‘imposter syndrome’ so whenever I’m feeling like a bit of a fraud, I imagine Gwen hissing in my ear “take a chance you stupid ho” and go for it!
4. Mr Jones, Counting CrowsAh Counting Crows, sound of my youth. I still know every single last pretentious word of this song and tunelessly warbling the high bits never fails to put me in a good mood.
5. Drop Dead Gorgeous, RepublicaYou could exchange this for any shouty female-fronted Britpop band of the mid ‘90s really – Echobelly, Sleeper, Elastica, they’re all good to me.
6. Thorn In My Side, Eurythmics
7. Fountain of Sorrow, Joan BaezBittersweet but beautiful - Joan's voice is sublime, rich and pure. I adore this song. It's maybe not 'happy' exactly, but such a lovely thing to experience you feel nourished after listening to it.
8. Mrs Robinson, Lemonheads
Apologies for the crummy quality of this video, but look, it's MTV when it actually played SONGS instead of soul-destroying reality shows! And hello Evan Dando. This is one of those cover versions that's better than the original and I’ll fight anyone who says otherwise (other examples: Live And Let Die by Guns n Roses rather than Wings - shudder, You Are Always On My Mind, the Pet Shop Boys – soz Elvis, and Sinead O’Connor’s take on Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U).
9. Pure, The Lightning SeedsI think the Lightning Seeds are massively underrated – they were never as ‘cool’ as Pulp, Suede or Blur and ok, Ian Broudie ain’t no Damon Albarn, but he writes sweet, ridiculously catchy perfect pop songs that I think have stood the test of time. This one is impossibly romantic and feels like sitting in a sunny patch in your back garden with a glass of cool lemonade.
10. Maria, Blondie
Best comeback single of all time? Hell yeah!
Now I’ve started, I keep thinking of more (Pulp! Ska!) but I’m going to stop and open the floor to you, dear readers. Tell me the songs that never fail to cheer you up?
*A lie. I mean according to The Daily Mash