The special power of music

In some ways, I’m old-fashioned, and I do take some pride in it. In my house, I have a historic artifact that was very popular in the end of the late 20th century but has declined ever since. I possess a CD player.

Of course I know that you can access any song any time through YouTube or iTunes, and that the storage space of an iPod or any other MP3 player is virtually endless. But it’s not the same. To me, CDs, and books alike, are more than .m4a or .epub files.

CDs are media with a soul. They are like friends who are accompanying me during my journey through life. When I select one of my CD’s, take it out of its case and put in my CD player, it’s an experience that goes way beyond pushing a play button in iTunes. I remind myself of the place and time where I bought it, the friend who gave it to me or what the band or singer means to me.

My passion must be hereditary: my father has at least 1,000 of CD’s, and counting. His collection now encompasses everything, from classical music to jazz and 1970s pop to country. Surprisingly, I discovered music very late. If we neglect my embarrassing purchase of ‘Smurfs House’ when in the 1990s Dutch house music was conquering the world, and the Krezip single ‘I would stay’ I sent to my three-day summer love at 15, I only bought my first CD at 16. It was Parachutes, the first album of a new band called Coldplay I had read about in a magazine.

Special tones and vibes

Music does something special to people.

How it exactly works I don’t know, but music creates ‘vibes’, a sense of ‘cosiness’,  goosebumps at times.

Melodies and sounds form a key to joy. Or to sadness, or any other emotion. Music can help to be happy, to be creative, to get through boring activities like doing the dishes or ironing shirts, push you up a steep hill when you are running.

What are the songs that make me happiest? It probably varies from time to time, but at the moment they’re mostly energetic songs with a good dose of electronics. Some of my current favourites:

To bring a smile to my face

I can’t believe anybody can be grumpy seeing the clip of Gramatik’s Hit That Jive! Or in the same electro-swing mood: Parov Stelar’s Booty Swing, with a guest appearance from Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

To energise me.

I like to listen to one of the tracks of Peter and the Magician to get me going when I am lazy. The energy motivates me to do things around the house or do some writing. Django Django is also a good one in this category, also for a late afternoon when I’m alone in my office.

To listen in awe.

Anything from Daft Punk’s latest album will do. Giorgio by Morodor is one of my favourites but the entire album is awesome.

The ultimate happy song

And of course, this list is not complete without Pharrell’s Happy, one of the ultimate happy songs. And the cool thing is that it’s become a lot than a song. Last November, Pharrell made a 24-hour video clip. People in cities from Amsterdam to Cotonou (Benin) made their own versions. And the last days, the Flappy Bird version is conquering the internet.

And which songs do make you happy?

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