Dilovely’s Playlist: 20 Favourite Pick-Me-Up Songs

As promised ages ago, I have made y’all a playlist of “uppers”, as my brother calls them: songs that I put on when I need a mood-lifter, ones that are infectiously happy, or just have a melody that makes a body feel good. These are by no means the only 20 songs I would put in such a list – in fact, there could probably be many more volumes.

Just so you know, I have lots of related playlists brewing, such as “Songs for Grooving to with a Baby”, “Songs that Rock My Socks”, “Beautiful Songs that Pluck My Heartstrings”, “Symphonic Music That Makes the World Better”, “Must-Dance Songs”, and “Canadian Songs that Shall Be Immortal”. Please stay tuned.

I hope you will

a) enjoy perusing the list and perhaps checking out some songs, because we can all use another pick-me-up; and

b) add to the list!! It is fascinating to know what songs make people grin or dance like fools or belt out loud in their cars or kitchens. Please share with me.

Dilovely’s Playlist of 20 Favourite Pick-Me-Up Songs:

  1. You Make My Dreams (1980), by Hall & Oates. I’m a sucker for 80s pop – just so happy.
  2. Accidentally in Love (2004), by Counting Crows. I can feel myself turning a little faster and jumping a little higher.
  3. Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (1976), by Elton John and Kiki Dee. Too fun to be glum – or sit still, for that matter.
  4. Only One (2007), by Jeremy Kay. You stimulate my mind too, Jeremy – thanks.
  5. Good Lovin’ (1966), by The Rascals. I’m also a sucker for oldies with tight harmonies.
  6. Shine (2007), by Take That. We are AWESOME! We are the best, shiniest people ever.
  7. Right by Your Side (1983), by Eurythmics. It’s not often we get such a burst of euphoria from Annie Lennox… and I like it.
  8. Love You I Do (2006, a la 1963), sung by Jennifer Hudson, from the Dreamgirls Soundtrack. You just can’t beat exuberant Motown brass.
  9. Every Little Thing She Does is Magic (1981), by the Police. A perfect combination of epic and ecstatic – plus, really fun video! I just discovered it today.
  10. Procura (1997), by Chichi Peralta. It’s everything I love about Latin music – and you should have seen my Grade 2 music class go nuts for it!
  11. Down Rideau Canal (2006), by James Hill. This Canuck ukulele artist is just… amazing. I dare you to watch this without smiling. Also, the most shimmying I’ve ever done was a solo to this song (the CD version is a whole minute longer).
  12. Don’t Stop Me Now (1978), by Queen. If Freddy wants to make a super-sonic woman outta me, I won’t stop him.
  13. Birdhouse in Your Soul (1990), by They Might Be Giants. After 20 years, I still have no idea what they’re talking about, but the glorious song lives on.
  14. The Set-Up (1998), by Reel Big Fish. Immature punks with potty mouths… and incredible musical talent. (Actually, no real swearing in this one.)
  15. Take Me Down (1996), by Phil Collins. Isn’t it amazing how these balding, middle-aged dudes can rock? It doesn’t hurt that I’m also a sucker for the African influence.
  16. Lovin’ Each Day (2000), by Ronan Keating. The epitome of catchiness, in a good way. Don’t be afraid to bop along.
  17. Jump (1984), by Van Halen. So hard-core, and yet so sweet! Let’s jump, people.
  18. Soul Man (1967), by Sam and Dave. I know I’m not qualified to say this, but leave it to a black musician (Isaac Hayes) to take inspiration from the Detroit Street Riot and turn it into the funkiest, foot-tappingest, proudest anthem you could ask for.
  19. Koff Drops (1989), by Moe Koffman. A fantastic Canadian jazz flautist re-imagines a Bach (?) sonata and it’s pure awesomeness. It was also the theme for CBC’s As It Happens for a while, and when I was a kid I always looked forward to the few moments we got to hear this song – right around dinnertime.
  20. C’est l’amour (2002), by Youssou N’Dour. From a very political artist, a simple and beautiful song about how you can’t eat or sleep when you’re wishing for the one you love. (I’d think whoever she was, she could’ve been won over with this.)

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3 thoughts on “Dilovely’s Playlist: 20 Favourite Pick-Me-Up Songs

  1. emo says:


    Also Jump by Paul Anka is happy! Lacking in 80s nostalgia energy, but so fun.

    Also Limon con Sal by Chichi, not as boppy but so lovvvvvely.

    But what about We Built This City?

    And LOLLIPOP!! Live your life until love is found, or love’s gonna get you down!

    And even better is Touches You – Never make you run for cover, Even if they want us tooooooo….. I used to dance with your son to that song A LOT. Though it would probably wear me out to do it now. Maybe I should try it though…

    And HORCHATA. Also with the dancing.

    Also I’ll Make a Man Out of You! Raging Fire! Great TyPHOON!

    Also Young Americans. Also FHGWGADZ! Also Terriers. Also Happy Working Song. Ok, now I’m just quoting songs on cds you gave me. But what’s wrong with that?

    Also you should know the Indigo Girls upper songs if you don’t. Like Get Out The Map, right Beth? Oh yeah.

    And what about Annie’s House? And Skating Rink? AHHHHHHG TOO MUHC SONGSSS!!!

  2. bd says:

    Okay…here are a bunch of mine; some you may already know from my mix tapes, some may be new:
    Ofra Haza: Im Nin’Alu (1988).
    Pretty much anything by The Gipsy Kings; Djobi Djoba (1988) in this case…the video’s just too much ’80s fun!
    Anything by Cake (their YouTube playlist is entitled ‘Cake Mix’); this one is my favourite: Never There (1998) but Love You Madly (2001) has the best video.
    Arturo Sandoval: A Mis Abuelos (1994) (couldn’t find a good version online featuring Sandoval but here’s an amazing drum corps version (1996) by The Madison Scouts…and for another taste of first-rate drum corps, here’s an uplifting Shostakovitch show (1996) from Phantom Regiment).
    Dave Weckl: Festival de Ritmo (1990) – just try to follow his beats!
    Chuck Mangione: Children of Sanchez (1978) and Land of Make Believe (1978, this version late ’80s) (the version from the same concert as the first is better, with an extended horn section that gives me goosebumps).
    Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass: A Taste of Honey (1965) (or Tijuana Taxi, or Spanish Flea, or Casino Royale….)
    Widor: Toccata from Symphony #5 (1879).
    Ravel: Alborada del Grazioso, Miroirs (1906).
    The Waterboys: The Whole of the Moon (1985).
    Simple Minds: Someone Somewhere in Summertime (1982).
    Silly Wizard: Queen of Argyll (1983).
    Shuffle Demons: anything, but here’s Spadina Bus (1986).
    Bill Whelan: Riverdance (1994).
    Chemical Brothers: Let Forever Be (1999) – AMAZING video by Michel Gondry!
    Pat Metheny Group: 5-5-7 (1989) or Minuano (Six Eight) (1987).
    The Verve: Lucky Man (1997) – I want those stairs!
    Buddy Rich: Wind Machine (1966).
    Stan Kenton: Malagueña (1961) or 23°N, 82°W (1952).
    Chicago: Free (1971, performance 1994).
    Brian Setzer Orchestra: anything, but this is Americano (2000).
    Dexys Midnight Runners: what else but Come On Eileen (1982)? Unless it’s the Save Ferris version (1997).
    Reel Big Fish: Take On Me
    Madness: Our House (1982), or One Step Beyond (1979), or House of Fun (1982), or anything else, really.
    Talk Talk: It’s My Life (1984).
    David Holsinger: To Tame the Perilous Skies (1990); another drum corps version (Santa Clara Vanguard, 1992), but the best I could find.
    Lighthouse: One Fine Morning (1971).
    Jethro Tull: Skating Away on the Thin Ice of the New Day (1974), Crew Nights (1993).
    Weather Report: Birdland (1977).
    Duran Duran: Rio (1982).
    Tower of Power: Soul with a Capital S (1993).
    Blood, Sweat & Tears: Lucretia MacEvil (1970).

    So…horns, bass and that crazy fusion of the two, ska, tend to pick me up. What about the rest of you?

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