15 Songs That Always Cheer Us Up

Music is just magical. The right song can help you cry it out, tell someone you care (or to get lost), and transport you somewhere else. For me, the right song can really lift my mood when I need it most. I like to run (note, I’m not a fast runner but I get it done). One of my big motivators is the music in my headphones. Last summer, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” came on the playlist and I started openly sobbing a few miles in. A kind stranger even asked if I was okay (ha!) See? Music does something to me. 

When you’ve hit a wall and need a pick-me-up, these songs are guaranteed to put a smile on your face (and have you singing along) in no time:

  1. “Happy” by Pharrell Williams (2013)
    Just let all that negatively bounce right off of you, because at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter.
    Best Lyric: “Well I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine (Yeah) / No offense to you don’t waste your time”
  2. “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves (1983)
    We all know that cloud nine feeling and no better song sums it up that this eighties classic made for a singalong.
    Best Lyric: “I feel alive, I feel the love, I feel the love that’s really real”
  3. “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” by Justin Timberlake (2016)
    Grab your partner, grab your kids — this song from the Trolls soundtrack just makes you want to get moving, flashmob style.
    Best Lyric: “I got that sunshine in my pocket / Got that good soul in my feet”
  4. “Got to Be Real” by Cheryl Lynn (1978)
    Let’s all clap for functioning relationships! No BS. And just ask Carrie Bradshaw, this one is perfect for a solo dance session in your bedroom.
    Best Lyric: “Your love is my love / My love is your love / Our love is here to stay”
  5. “I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston (1987)
    It doesn’t get better than oldschool Whitney. At a wedding or at the hair salon…no one can resist it.
    Best Lyric: “I need a man who’ll take a chance / On a love that burns hot enough to last”
  6. “I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas (2009)|Remember those songs you used to listen to while getting ready to go out? This is a song that gets you hyped, even if your clubbing days are long behind you.
    Best Lyric: “Go out and smash it like, “Oh, my God!” / Jump out that sofa, let’s kick it off”
  7. “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift (2014)
    Forget the haters (do we still say that?), it’s time to embrace the good, the bad and the weird and do you.
    Best Lyric: “I’m dancin’ on my own (Dancin’ on my own) / I make the moves up as I go (Moves up as I go)”
  8. “Good as Hell” by Lizzo (2019)
    A perfect, bouncy anthem of self love. Lizzo is such a great role model for accepting and celebrating everything that makes you unique.
    Best Lyric: “You know you a star, you can touch the sky / I know that it’s hard, but you have to try”
  9. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin (1996)
    The title says it all. Life is just too short not to at least try and look on the bright side when times get tough.
    Best Lyric: “In every life we have some trouble / But when you worry you make it double”
  10. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars (2014)
    We all have that outfit that makes us feel our absolute best. This song sums up that feeling when we’re ready to get out and show off.
    Best Lyric: “I’m too hot (Hot damn) / Make a dragon wanna retire man”
  11. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper (1983)
    The perfect karaoke song, right? Long before the Spice Girls, Cyndi Lauper was all about crushing the patriarchy in the name of a good time.
    Best Lyric: “When the working day is done / Oh, girls, they wanna have fun”
  12. “Let’s Go Crazy” by Prince (1984)
    Raise your hand if you agree getting through “this thing called “life” is a *whole* mood. But we’re coming out the other side and it’s time to celebrate.
    Best Lyric: “You better live now / ‘Fore the grim reaper come knocking on your door”
  13. “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles (1967)
    At the end of the day, we have no idea what fate has in store for us. So let’s remember what’s important: loving ourselves and each other.
    Best Lyric: “There’s nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be”
  14. “I Can See Clearly Now” by Johnny Nash (1972)
    It can be hard to focus on the good when it feels like everything is working against us. But remember, this too shall pass.
    Best Lyric: “Here is that rainbow I’ve been praying for / It’s gonna be a bright (Bright)/ Bright (Bright) sun-shining day”
  15. “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus (2009)
    We’re all hoping for some serious summer fun after last year. No song says barbecue / block party / bonfire like this anthem (that men pretend not to love).
    Best Lyric: “So I put my hands up / They’re playin’ my song, the butterflies fly away”

Which songs lift you up or, better still, pump you up. Share your recommendations below.