If hearing Livin’ on a Prayer gives you an uncontrollable urge to fist-pump and sing along, it’s not because of nostalgia or your New Jersey roots. A new scientific study has assembled the most “feel-good” songs in music, and artists such as Bon Jovi, Queen, ABBA, Billy Joel, and more made the cut.
Dr. Jacob Jolij, a cognitive neuroscientist the University of Groningen in Holland…has confirmed the impact it seems to have on listeners with an equation that shows the top feel-good song of the past 50 years.
Dr. Jolij wrote: “A feel-good song is very personal. Music is intimately linked with memory and emotion, and these associations strongly determine whether a song will put you in a good mood or not. However, there are some key criteria for composers to consider when creating feel good songs.
“Where the average tempo of pop songs is around 118 beats per minute, the list of feel-good songs had an average tempo of around 140 to 150 beats per minute (which) subconsciously triggers a sense of energy. Positive lyrics were important, (as is) putting the song into a third major key – the third note or chord in a musical scale. Combine these three ingredients together and you have the formula for the perfect feel-good song.”
Dr. Jolij has now developed a formula that assesses how feel-good a song can be:
Allowing him to produce a Top Ten of the most feel-good songs from the past fifty years:
10. Walking on Sunshine (Katrina And The Waves)
9. I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor)
8. Livin’ on a Prayer (Bon Jovi)
7. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper)
6. I’m a Believer (The Monkees)
5. Eye of the Tiger (Survivor)
4. Uptown Girl (Billy Joel)
3. Good Vibrations (The Beach Boys)
2. Dancing Queen (Abba)
1. Don’t Stop Me Now (Queen)