No matter how amazing your life might be, every one of us has “one of those days” from time to time. The days where everything just seems to be a little shittier, and you can't seem to shake it.
As someone who has these days quite often, I've become pretty adept at concocting methods to beam myself up out of some debilitating funks. No method is more effective than music, specifically the positive playlist—a rotating mix of tracks that has the power to not only remind me of all life’s splendors but make me nod my head through the worst of moods.
Since music can do more immediate good than any anti-depressant or self-help book, and everyone has at least a few songs they can turn to for guaranteed mood lifting, we've compiled 10 of the best surefire tracks to snap you out of any bad mood, put a grin on your face and pre-existing smiles on steroids—unless, of course, you're a robot.
Chance The Rapper — "No Problem" ft. 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne
Any time I'm in need of a good car turn-up, “No Problem” is always a top contender.
Chance’s brand of positive, gospel-tinged hip-hop has facilitated many a bright-eyed demeanor, and the addition of swag-packed verses from 2 Chainz & Weezy take Chance’s smile-inducing powers to the next level.
KYLE — “iSpy” ft. Lil Yachty
Piggy-backing off the surprisingly marketable positive raps of peers like Chance and Yachty, Ventura, California native KYLE’s infectious single “iSpy” is currently banking a massive number of spins across the country. The tropical synth-driven bounce of the instrumental fits KYLE’s energetic verse and chorus like a glove, while the King of Teens steps in for a mellow but nevertheless grill-baring guest feature, complete with a reference to his nutsack that's so outrageous and out of left field you can't help but chuckle.
Chance The Rapper — “Favorite Song” ft. Childish Gambino
Chance’s overt, spiritually-charged positivity has absolutely been honed over the course of the Chicago artist's career, but I'll be damned if it wasn't just as potent on his breakout project, Acid Rap. “Favorite Song” is a bombastic blast straight from Chano’s boyish, oversized heart, with an energy that manages to fully immerse listeners in a baptism pool of positivity within its three-minute runtime. Even an initially sleepy Childish Gambino is no match for the instrumental’s magnetism, you can almost feel the beat charging him up through those first couple bars as his performance gives in to the unbridled excitement of the atmosphere Chance created.
D.R.A.M. — “Broccoli” ft. Lil Yachty
Despite how hard radio stations tried to play this song into the ground over the past year, I still can't hear the now 5x Platinum single without contracting a shit-eating grin. Most of D.R.A.M.’s music is the sonic representation of a man that I've never once seen without an ear-to-ear smile, and Yachty’s millennial hyper-positivity cuts through the track’s surging 808s like a Ginsu knife of bubbly braggadocio.
Anderson .Paak — “Come Down”
One of the many attributes that make Malibu such a powerful album is that it truly has a track for any mood, and “Come Down” is hands-down the pick for those “I just need to feel like King Shit for three minutes” moods. The drums are splashy, Anderson is charged up, and that baseline is the literal and figurative heartbeat of a great mood. This isn't the only smile-inducing track Anderson’s cooked up over the years, but it's easily the most potent.
Dr. Dre — “Nuthin' but a G Thang” ft. Snoop Dogg
“One, two, three and to the fo’...” If you hear that and don't start losing your shit in a fit of nostalgic joy, I don't trust you. I'm so dead serious that it might now be the first requirement in any forthcoming friendship test. Taking it back a few decades, Dre and Snoop’s iconic ‘92 party jam is still just as capable of slapping a stupid smile on my face as it was 25 years ago. I mean, I was three 25 years ago, but I imagine a toddler version of me would've been just as enthralled with this West Coast classic as adult version me.
Kanye West — “Good Life” ft. T-Pain
Man, remember when Kanye used to be happy? Before the heartbreak and loss, Kanye was a sped-up soul sample away from making it impossible for us not to smile and dance at any given moment, and “Good Life” is arguably Kanye at his most carefree. This single is also T-Pain at the height of his creative hot streak, and the two together were and still are an unstoppable force of confidence and brightly colored gratitude.
Cam’ron — “Hey Ma” ft. Juelz Santana
Oh man. Any time this Dipset classic kicks off, I go into a full-on, Wayne's World—style flashback to middle school. For me, junior high was a time of untamed emotions and awkwardness, so this song should by all accounts evoke more of a panic attack-ish response, but for some reason, it just makes me smile and sing along like I did when I was 13. Anyone who doesn't immediately start singing along, taken ahold of by a similar nostalgia-fueled force, when this song comes on is—just like with "Nuthin' but a G Thang"—also not to be trusted.
Nappy Roots - “Good Day” ft. Greg Street
I'm about to share with you a universal truth in making happy songs. You ready? Piano-driven beat + kids chorus on the hook = smiles. It's a scientific fact. While much of Nappy Roots’ catalog has admittedly flown under my personal radar, for the most part, this feel-good groove is a legitimate classic. It's like the hip-hop version of “Walkin’ on Sunshine,” and I mean that in the best way possible.
Bone Thugs-n-Harmony — “1st of tha Month”
There are few better feelings in this world than getting paid, and few songs capture the joy of getting paid better than this Bone Thugs classic. I'm pretty sure this was set as my alarm in the morning at one point, and it has and always will feel like the first warm day after what felt like an eternity of winter gloom. “1st of tha Month” is the perfect soundtrack to calling in sick to your shitty day job but getting one of your coworkers to bring your check to you on their lunch break. If you're not smiling by the end of this track, you are either a robot or a... nope, definitely a robot.