Pharrell Williams has got to be feeling pretty happy with himself these days.
He took home four Grammy Awards last month, he’s about to release his second album, G I R L, next week, and the lead single off of it, Happy, is the No. 1 song on the planet and is nominated for an Oscar for Best original Song (the tune is featured on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack).
But unlike Pharrell’s infectious tune, not all happy songs are filled with joy. And some of the ones that are, run the gamut between enthralling and enraging.
Here’s a few well known happy tracks out there — we’ll leave it up to you to cover your ears or crank it up:
Shiny Happy People, R.E.M.
Those sticks in the mud over at Q magazine added it to their list of “Ten Terrible Records by Great Artists,” while other publications called it 1991′s song of the summer. The video may be extremely bad, but there’s no denying it’s a solid track — especially with the solid vocals from B-52′s singer Kate Pierson.
My Happy Ending, Avril Lavigne
What happens when a pop star gets turfed by a boyfriend? Well, they write a hit song. We don’t want to hear what happens if she becomes the ex-Mrs. Chad Kroeger.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin
The world may have been addicted to Mcferrin’s 1988 happy-go-lucky track, but Public Enemy were less than thrilled, as noted in their hip-hop classic Fight the Power as Chuck D raps, “Don’t Worry Be Happy was a number one jam, damn if I say it you can slap me right here.” Still, we’ll go out on a limb and nominate this as Rob Ford campaign theme song as he hits the re-election trail.
Only Happy When It Rains, Garbage
The ominous 1995 tune, in which Shirley Manson states that “she’s riding high on a deep depression,” is strangely upbeat in a self-loathing kind of way. And hey, misery loves company.
Happy, Rolling Stones
This classic from 1972′s Exile on Main Street features Keith Richards on lead vocals, and has become on of his signature songs live. The track reportedly took only four hours to create and record, from start to finish.
If it Makes You Happy, Sheryl Crow
Sheryl reveals some factual nuggets in her Grammy-winning 1996 tune such as her penchant to still get stoned and she’s not the kind of girl you’d take home.
Happy Together, The Turtles
The Turtles were Beatles killers back in 1967 when the song ousted Penny Lane from the top of the charts.
Happy Jack, The Who
The 1966 song is apparently about a man who slept on a beach, while kids made fun of him and buried him in the sand, all the while, smiling away. He’s a better man than we are.
The Happy Song (Dum Dum), Otis Redding
Any excuse to have Otis on a playlist, we will do it.
Happy Trails, Van Halen
The cover song (originally written by Dale Evans Rogers in the 1940s) is the final track on VH’s 1982 album Diver Down, and they frequently end their concerts (when David Lee Roth is on vocals) with it.