Sometimes the quickest way to put a smile on your face is to listen to your favorite music. Music can evoke significant emotional responses. Positive emotions dominate musical experiences, and pleasurable music can even lead to the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine. Listening to music is an easy way to alter mood or relieve stress, so we’ve put together a quick list of songs that bring a little happiness to each of us. We hope you enjoy our music selections, and please feel free to share your favorite song in the comment section below.
Fontella Bass’ “Rescue Me” – Chosen by David Costa
“Maybe it’s because I need rescuing from this pandemic. Or perhaps it’s because I think of the film Sister Act and I smile picturing Whoopi Goldberg boogieing to the song as she washes the convent car.”
Celia Cruz’s “La Vida Es Un Carnaval” – Chosen by Jen Falk
“Celia Cruz originally hailed from Cuba and became known internationally as the “Queen of Salsa” and one of the most popular Latin artists of the 20th century. National investment and encouragement of the arts broadly is a bright spot in the country’s communist regime even today. I had the opportunity to spend seven days in Cuba in December 2018 (thanks Barack Obama) to enjoy the culture, cuisine, and landscape by bicycle, and listening to this song brings me back to that life-affirming trip full of music, paella, and the making of new friends.”
Marc Anthony’s “Vivir Mi Vida” – Chosen by Marissa Molinar
“This song has always been a top choice in my “feel good” playlist – it’s highly danceable and reminds me of great times with family and friends. These days, the song is resonating even more deeply than usual, with lyrics that remind me to laugh, love and live in the moment, and to listen to the silence to find the way forward.”
Sammy Rae’s “Whatever We Feel”
“This song is one that I turn to whenever I want to remind myself that I have the power to make myself feel good just by following my instincts. Sammy Rae & The Friends have a sound that radiates infectious positive energy that I can’t wait to groove to with pals in public. In the meantime, I am perfectly content to dance around to in my room wearing brightly colored socks!”
Maggie Rogers’ “Fallingwater” – Chosen by Kristin Reeves
“The first time I heard this song, I was sitting on the T after a long day, and it came up on my Spotify Recommended For You playlist, and I promptly burst into tears. Something about it makes me feel understood, and in turn, it lets me sink into whatever I’m feeling at that moment and process the emotion and move through it. I walk away feeling more centered – a feeling that all of us need right now. Plus, Maggie Rogers is just a phenomenal young artist who writes and produces all of her music.”
Muna’s Number “One Fan” – Chosen by Audrey Seraphin
“‘Number One Fan’ is my favorite quarantine song right now because it’s all about being your number one fan, which is something I’ve worked hard on being, particularly with all the time and space I’ve had to spend with myself recently. The music video even includes the band’s lead singer practicing being out in the world and dancing with herself, which is something I’ve done in my bedroom quite a few times in the last few weeks. This groovy bop, even if it doesn’t fit your quarantine mood, is sure to have you up and dancing, too!”
Nina Simone’s “Here Comes the Sun” – Chosen by Chad Sirois
“Just the words themselves “here comes the sun,” brings a sense of relief and release. Originally written and recorded by The Beatles for their Abbey Road album, Nina Simone’s elevates this song to a whole new level. Her voice echoes and aches with past hurt, but with an optimistic reassurance that things will begin to get better. Whenever I find myself in a dark place, this song reminds me that eventually, I’ll get through it, and the sun will rise again.”
Chad Sirois ( He/Him/His) is the Senior Marketing and Engagement Manager at ArtsBoston. He is an art and museum addict and can frequently found taking a selfie in a gallery near you. He volunteers with Boston LGBTQIA Artist Alliance and is an active member of the Boston Gay Kickball League.