'Don't Stop Me Now' is the happiest song in the world, according to a neuroscientist
2018 has been a pretty depressing year, hasn't it? Just scrolling through Facebook or opening a newspaper throws up so many awful stories of tragic things that have happened - or are still happening - that it's sometimes difficult to take a break from it all.
There are some things you can do to escape it, of course. Taking a holiday is a possibility if you've got the cash, and taking up meditation might help in the long run (if you're that type of person). However, if you're looking for a quick fix, there's nothing better than firing up Spotify and blasting out a playlist of your favourite tunes - the cheesier, the better.
And if you really want to ensure that your music is putting you in a better mood, you should consider adding Queen's 'Don't Stop Me Now' to the list - because one neuroscientist thinks it might just be the happiest song in the world.
Jacob Jolij, a neuroscientist conducting research at the University of Missouri, recently created a formula to work out which songs made people feel the cheeriest. He started with a sample of 126 songs from a 50-year period, which had been chosen by a survey of 2000 people, and then analysed certain features of the tracks.
By examining the beats per minute (BMP), the key, the theme, and the lyrics, Jolij was able to determine that 'Don't Stop Me Now' came out on top.
"The pattern was very clear," the scientist explained. "The average tempo of a ‘feel good’-song was substantially higher than the average pop song. Where the average tempo of pop songs is around 118 beats per minute (BPM), the list of feel good songs had an average tempo of around 140 to 150 BPM."
However, not everybody has been inclined to agree with these findings.
Many people pointed out that a sample of 2,000 people isn't actually all that big in the grand scheme of things, and that an individual's musical taste will certainly play into whether or not they find a song 'happy' or not. Some folks might prefer more mellowed-out tracks, for instance, whereas others find pleasure in something at the other end of the spectrum, like heavy metal.
What's more, if you know what the song is really about, you'll know it's not actually positive at all. In fact, the lyrics allude to Freddie Mercury "having a good time" by constantly partying and doing drugs and having unprotected sex with multiple people - all of which led to him developing AIDs and, eventually, passing away at a young age.
(Sorry to kill the vibe, but it's true.)
But, hey - don't let that get you down. What we should really take away from this is that music does have the ability to lift a person's mood, and so it definitely helps to turn to our favourite songs when we're feeling low. Maybe for some people that song happens to be by Queen, but for others it could be a classical piece by Beethoven, or something loud and aggressive, like Rammstein.
Either way, whatever you enjoy, you should definitely make yourself a "happy place" playlist. With the way things are going, you might need to give it a listen soon.