Music has a remarkable power over listeners. Certain tunes can cause people to completely stop what they’re doing and react to what they’re hearing. Tears can come from nowhere or the entire body can start moving, like the notes have us on puppet strings and we just have to dance. It’s always good to have a cheerful song on standby when times seem rough. Fortunately, science has indicated what the happiest song for such an occasion is: the Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky.”
An original formula observed different music to hunt down which ones rank among the happiest on the planet. For a time, Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” ranked at number one. But things always evolve and so did that formula. Now, people have a new song to consult to, scientifically, get the maximum joy.
The Electric Light Orchestra has your ticket to happiness
Often abbreviated ELO, the Electric Light Orchestra came about in 1970. Its roots trace all the way back to Birmingham, England. Headed by Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood, ELO presented the world with a unique blend of styles, genres, and moods. It is primarily characterized as a rock band but ultimately combined classical arrangements to the modern brand of Beatles pop and futuristic imagery. So, for their time, they utilized the best of past, present, and future to create a unique listening and viewing experience.
Seven years after their foundation came “Mr. Blue Sky,” coming out with their 1977 studio album Out of the Blue. Jeff Lynne wrote and produced this hit, which gained fast popularity in the U.S. and U.K. Across the pond, it ranked number 6 in the U.K. Singles Chart and in America, it reached number 36 on the Billboard charts. This song really embraced the style of the Beatles. It bears similarities with “Martha My Dear,” “Yesterday,” and “A Day in the Life.” Hearing it became pretty easy as it was a favorite among various shows and movies.
Fitting into the formula
“Mr. Blue Sky” has an inspiring and relatable backstory already. After feeling creatively stifled beneath constant rain, Lynne felt a swell of inspiration when the clouds finally parted to reveal the sun and scenery. “Suddenly the sun shone and it was, ‘Wow, look at those beautiful Alps.’ I wrote “Mr. Blue Sky” and 13 other songs in the next 2 weeks,” he explained. But it also fulfills certain formulaic requirements as well. Studies derive from other works. Researcher Jacob Jolij looked at research from the University of Missouri and developed a Feel Good Formula.
Earlier formulas deemed Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now” the happiest song. But Jolij’s new parameters use a continuous rating system that observes the beats per minute (BPM) to determine its happiness. “Don’t Stop Me Now” has about 156 BPM, making it slightly above the 150 BPM range for happy songs. Modern pop songs have about 118 BPM. Shareably reports that Jolij explained people’s criteria for happiness when listening to songs. He stated, “we generally like songs with a tempo that deviates from the average pop song tempo, that are in a major key, and are a bit more complex than three-chord songs, unless the song is a major key.” What do you think? Listen below and see how happy it makes you.