By Andrew Lambert
Music is a form of expression, and has inevitably transformed into a platform for many artists to send a message or vent to listeners. Although dark emotion and raw emotion are present at the core of my work, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I love “feel good music.” Below are some songs that take you to a happy place, and are fueled with positive energy.
“Jessica” – The Allman Brothers Band – Brothers and Sisters (1973)
Soul. That is the only word to describe not only this song, but the Allman Brothers. The boys from Georgia who lived together on a ranch lived, and some died, by the idea of positivity. “Jessica” provides a joyful clean guitar solo from the legendary Dickey Betts, followed by an upbeat piano number. The song does nothing but put good vibes in your head, and is so instrumentally good, most listeners don’t even realize there aren’t any lyrics until their second or third time listening. The Allman Brothers didn’t even need words to paint a beautiful picture.
“1979” – Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness (1995)
It’s no secret that the 90’s gave us some of the most influential artists of all time, and the Smashing Pumpkins are no exception. Directly in the limelight of the grunge scene, the group released arguably their biggest hit, which oddly wasn’t grunge at all. Fusing the 90’s rock style with a steady groove and pop/electronic percussion. The song is a free spirited poem about reminiscing on better times. “We don’t even care!”
“Let It Happen” – Tame Impala – Currents (2015)
Tame Impala blessed the world with “Currents” back in 2015 and this song is the opener to an incredible album. Allow yourself to get lost in the upbeat rhythm and sensational synths and instrumentalism that Tame Impala delivers on this track. It is the perfect song for letting go, relaxing, and getting lost in a positive state, as well as a perfect introduction for a legendary piece of work.
“SUMMER” – BROCKHAMPTON – Saturation II (2017)
BROCKHAMPTON stormed into the mainstream hip hop scene in 2017 with their “Saturation” trilogy. They have a plethora of songs constantly streamed on young people’s phones everywhere, but “SUMMER” lies in their lesser known songs category. As the title states, it’s a sensual jam about summer loving. The slow moving song is accompanied by smooth vocals that end in a euphoric guitar solo. Listening to this song will remind you of that special someone.
“Changed” – Rich Homie Quan – Rich As In Spirit (2018)
Rich Homie Quan is often shadowed by the various other monstrous stars in the Atlanta rap scene, but he is here to stay. His slick deliverance and smooth, yet raspy, voice accompanies a unique selection of trap beats. On this track, Quan illustrates the life he is currently living, flexing his financial and commercial success, as well as implementing the fact that he hasn’t changed and he is the same down to earth guy. Overall, it has a smooth and sunny vibe, and motivates listeners to be successful!
“Just Like Heaven” – The Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)
The Cure was an interesting group. They came around in the late 1980’s and were pioneers in the gothic scene. Despite their dark appearance, the majority of their songs were bright and simplistic. Using simple, clean, spacey, yet effective guitar melodies and a bright keyboard synth, they were able to compose smash hits like “Friday I’m in Love”. Two years before that song was released, however, they released their 1987 album with “Just Like Heaven”. Lyrically, it tells us about how a man feels about his significant other, evidently comparing her to heaven. Let this poppy jam brighten your day.
“Time To Pretend” – MGMT – Oracular Spectacular (2007)
MGMT’s sarcastic anthem may not have been intended to be such an enormous hit, but nonetheless it was, and over a decade later, it is still the anthem for many of us. Allow the unique style of rock and EDM fusion to allow you to transition into anything in the world you’d like to run to, or be a muse to escape the reality of life.
“Senior Skip Day” – Mac Miller – K.I.D.S. (2010)
How can I write about positive music and not mention the king of good vibes… old school Mac Miller! Anybody who listened to rap music in 2010 was more than aware of “K.I.D.S.”. Mac’s young and free lyrics about hanging out, smoking weed, and enjoying life. The entire mixtape from the mad mouthed rapper is one fluent good vibe, but this track in particular’s entire mission is to illustrate a young Mac Miller skipping school and having his own personal Ferris Bueller experience. Remember kids, enjoy the best things in your life, ‘cause you won’t ever get to live ‘em twice.
“Horchata (Waves)” – Felly – This Shit Comes in Waves (2015)
Felly has carved out a unique niche for himself in the rap game, and although he is still on the come-up, he has one of the most devoted fan bases out there. His signature beachy vibe and use of reggae samples make for peaceful jams. His debut studio album “Wild Strawberries” is one big positive vibe, and I very easily could have chose one of those songs, but I thought I’d shed light on some of Felly’s lesser known work throwing it back to his 2015 track “Horchata”. The spanish-esque vibe with the use of horns and the sample of the tide rolling in are mesmerizing, and make for a beautiful, LA inspired, jam.
“Sunday Morning” – Maroon 5 – Songs About Jane (2002)
I think it goes without saying that Maroon 5’s sound has drastically changed over the years, but some fans still remember their first album and it’s raw sound. “Sunday Morning” is the perfect song for, well, a sunday morning. It’s “all you need” if you catch my drift. The groove and chemistry with the band and the young, yet still amazing, voice of Adam Levine makes for undeniably my personal favorite song by the group. Written in C Major, which is a key known for the versatility in artists’ ability to write, they execute the idea of loving life. Writers can make the C Major key sound either evil and haunted, or sunny and peaceful, and Maroon 5’s hit lies on the happy side of that spectrum.
“Dat Ass” – Earl Sweatshirt – Kitchen Cutlery (2008)
Before Earl Sweatshirt became recognized for his abstract and dark production methods and his boundary pushing lyricism, the rapper was just a young kid rapping around the suburbs of California. When he dropped his “Kitchen Cutlery” mixtape in 2008, he was only 15 years old. “Dat Ass” is a up-tempo song with a juvenile sampling with a young Earl smoothly rapping a verse about frolicking around causing a ruckus.
“Island in the Sun” – Weezer – The Green Album (2001)
Weezer has been around for a very long time with a diverse array of moods, but sticking true to their simple yet creative chord progressions. This track’s vibe is exactly what the title states, an island in the sun. The group takes listeners away with their fun song about being with that special someone in paradise.
Here is the full playlist below!
(photo by Justin Noah)