“Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.”
“Aw, Dobby’s sad,” my three-year-old nephew says about my dog, sounding sad too.
I am constantly in awe at how very small children sense sadness in other people and in animals. They sense it, feel it, and acknowledge it, hoping the big people in their immediate vicinity will recognize it and make it all better, like their parents do for them.
Sadness is the opposite of happiness?
I guess, but there are many shades of both.
International Day of Happiness,
I wonder if I am happy, if the world is all that happy either.
Standard of living, poverty, oppression all play a role, but I believe there are those who have very little (in material possessions) yet are happier than some who have more.
Scars – Emmanuel Jal Feat. Nelly Furtado
Of course material possessions don’t automatically guarantee happiness. This got me thinking on what does make people happy, all across the world, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s one universal thing, other than love I’d think, and that one thing is: music.
This week I did what I never thought I could. I wrote lyrics for a song. I know my singing talents are few at best, but I know I can write, can convey a feeling through words.
Soon after I’d written and worked with my musician brother to set them to the song he’d written, he and a singer recorded it. I’ve heard a rough draft and, after the shock I felt at hearing my words laid out through song, I felt pride and happiness.
Music comes in so many forms and it evokes so many, varied, unique yet universally applicable feelings and emotions. It connects us all around the world. It brings people together. How can any of that not produce happiness?
So, as I’d seen recently on Facebook that people were listing the albums that most affected them, I thought I’d try it. Maybe someone will discover some new music that makes them happy or will be recalled to a time, of happiness, or something else, but at least we’re feeling something. I believe that is important to realizing we’re all human, fallible, deserving of love.
(These are all listed, not in the order of their original release, but in the order of which I feel happiest upon hearing them.)
First, Jann Arden even has an entire album she’s dedicated to the feeling of the day, as the album is called “Happy”, but here are ten other albums that don’t need to say it, although sometimes they do, to make me happy.
No Need To Argue – The Cranberries
“Unhappiness where’s when I was young, and we didn’t give a damn
‘cause we were raised, to see life as fun and take it if we can.”
I discovered this Irish group at a time when I was very confused and scared. This album in particular brought me peace from the storm that was raging in my world. Peace was much needed. Listening to this one, still to this day, makes me happy.
Heart of Stone – Cher
“Memories haunt you, feelings you won’t forget
Learn to live a lesson in love, walk away without regret.”
Nostalgia is not a big enough word for what I feel about this Cher album. I listen and I am immediately brought back to a simpler time, to happy childhood days.
Vespertine – Bjork
“I have a recurrent dream
Every time I lose my voice
I swallow little glowing lights
My mother and son baked for me”
This album is a favourite of my youth. The lyrics are wonderfully weird and I feel wistful wild happiness when I listen.
Jagged Little Pill – Alanis Morissette
“I’m broke but I’m happy. I’m poor but I’m kind. I’m short but I’m healthy. Yeah!”
I was still a little girl when this hit album was released, but it made me happy, even if I didn’t understand a lot of the things she sang about at that time. It got me through a really hard time and it helped me feel happy, sad, angry, scared. It taught me a lot about self expression.
Halcyon – Ellie Goulding
In March 1011, when asked about the album’s musical direction in an interview with gossip website Dean Piper’s World, Goulding stated, “It’s started to sound very dark and very weird. This album is going to be even more emotional (…) I wanted to make it so there is hope. I want to make an effect whether it’s happy or sad.”
Without sadness I don’t think happiness would mean nearly as much as it does. I feel both emotions, in quick secession when I’m listening to it.
Songs from the Big Chair – Tears for Fears
“And I believe that if you’re bristling while you hear this song
I could be wrong or have I hit a nerve?”
More nostalgia with this one. Simply a kick-ass bunch of songs. It is from my favourite decade of music, released almost exactly one year after I was born, and I consider to be a gift my father gave me. Well, my father or my big brother, but which one doesn’t really matter because they have both made me who I am. They both have done so much that has made me happy.
Surfacing – Sarah McLachlan
“Make me a witness. Take me out, out of darkness, out of doubt.”
Being a teenager is hard. This album brought me happiness through its powerful lyrics. It’s imprinted on my mind and heart.
It’s Not Me, It’s You – Lily Allen
Don’t you just love the title of this one? Reminds me of that Seinfeld episode. Know which one I mean?
Jagged Little Pill was written when I was still a little girl, but I discovered this album when I was finally grown. It sort of became my outcry on so much I saw as I was now a grown woman myself. It makes me happy to hear it and to know I can do this. I can get past so much. I can handle whatever life throws my way.
Left of the Middle – Natalie Imbruglia
“‘cause intuition tells me that I’m doin’ fine
Intuition tells me when to draw the line
Should have turned left
Should have turned right
But I ended up here
Bang in the middle of real life”
This one reminds me of my first taste of independence. I loved it then, it made me happy, and I will love it always.
Rumours – Fleetwood Mac
“Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow. Don’t stop. It’ll soon be here. It’ll be here, better than before. Yesterday’s gone. Yesterday’s gone.”
Before my time, again, but I like it for the classic record it is. It makes me happy to listen to its snappy beats and its catchy melodies.
There you are. There were the ten albums that make my list, music to make me happy.
I am listening to music as I write this post. It’s increasing my level of happiness. I do it often.
Now, I realize this, of course isn’t always possible. Since Bobby McFerrin told us to simply “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in the eighties, it sounded like a good solution to all of our problems. Unfortunately, not all that practical all the time, but I hope there exists, somewhere out there, a piece of music…or an entire album for that matter, that makes you happy.
And so I hope everyone can find a little piece of their own brand of happiness, on this day set aside for that very thing, if not all the days of the year.
I have no doubt there is a deep connection between happiness and compassion. When we are happy we want to spread it around, (like the sharing of a song), which is compassion in my mind.
I am happy also that I can take part in yet another
1000 Voices Speak For Compassion