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30 Days of Songs: Day 3

May 25, 2011

Before I jump into today’s topic, I wanted to point you toward a few Friends of Harriet who decided to give this meme a try as well:

Hugh

Dave

Lemming

If you decide to join in too, let me know and I’ll add a link to your blog too.

Additionally, since we’re on the subject of songs, I need to inform you that someone logging in from the Chateau Marmont reached my blog yesterday by searching for the theme song from Diff’rent Strokes. I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. And that’s good, because today’s topic is:

day 03 – a song that makes you happy: Cee-Lo Green: Fuck You

Notice that today’s theme asks for a song that makes you happy, not one that you play when you are happy. That’s a separate question in this meme one we’ll get to in a couple of weeks. There are definitely some songs I use for both purposes, but for today, I am trying to think of the song that best lifts my mood, makes me happy when I might not already be feeling that way.

There are many, many songs that make me happy, and there’s not always a lot of logic to it. I recently made a playlist for myself of some of my current favorite happy songs and called it “Happy Day.” Then I started listening to it a lot and realized how truly sad – tragic even – some of the songs were. Lost loves. Death. That sort of thing. Also muddying the waters is the fact that the songs that make me the happiest also tend to make me cry. Tim Oxley’s “Beautiful Day,” which I wrote about recently here, is one song like that for me. Clearly I am a musical emotional wreck.

But I have to say, the one I put on these days just to feel better is not especially original: “Fuck You” by Cee-Lo Green.

I need to stress that this version, the original one is the one I put on, not the cleaned up “Forget You” version they play on the radio. Singing along with all the cursing is half the fun. In general, while my language isn’t perfect, this is a word that I tend to use only when dropping something heavy on my foot, in which case I will proclaim it repeatedly in rapid succession with increasing volume. I’m reasonably sure that I’ve never said “fuck you” to anyone, which is part of why it amuses me to sing it loud along with Cee-Lo. In the context of the song, it appears so frequently as to be rendered virtually meaningless, just another syllable. Still, “forget you” is just not as fun to sing.

But a lot of why this song makes me happy is that it makes other people happy, and that makes me smile more than anything. Last month, when I got off the plane in New York before my Je0pardy audition, I called the car service to take me to Cranky’s house. When they pulled up, I could see the car was driven by a young man. His girlfriend was sitting in the passenger seat. The radio was on softly in the background. Both of them said hello to me and the girlfriend chatted me as we drove through Brooklyn, asking me about why I was coming to New York, telling me about growing up in Brooklyn. Then the song came on the radio and she asked me if it was okay if she turned it up. “I love this song.” The driver, who was a little quieter, started tapping out the beat on his steering wheel at a stoplight. Pretty soon all three of us were singing along. I think of that night every time I hear this song now, meeting two strangers whom I’ll probably never seen again, connecting over a song, and singing along on a beautiful spring night driving through one of my favorite places in the world.

What song makes you happy?

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    May 25, 2011 10:06 am

    Do you know who’s doing the book meme? That might be easier for me.

    As for songs, I’m instantly happy when I hear any of these Bowie songs (which, in my opinion, should always be played together as an unbreakable trilogy): Golden Years, Young Americans, and Fame.

    I think Lilly Allen has a Fuck You song that makes me grin whenever I hear it.

  2. May 25, 2011 10:12 am

    Any cheesy pop song from the 70’s or 80’s, and even the 90’s. The one now that makes me laugh and dance is “MMMBop”. Yes. I went there…

  3. May 25, 2011 10:23 am

    Your happy song also made me think of the Lily Allen one, which does have the same title. It’s got a happy, bouncy beat and it’s angry, which makes it funny. Also I have fond memories of the first time my daughter played it for me off of her ipod in the car. But the song she plays that makes me happiest is Tiny Tim’s Livin’ in the Sunlight, Lovin’ in the moonlight, havin’ a wonderful time, ha ha!

  4. crankygirl permalink
    May 25, 2011 12:32 pm

    I had never heard of this one before. Awesome!

    Tangentially, can’t believe that Cee Lo is only 36.

  5. May 25, 2011 12:56 pm

    Hah! I hadn’t heard the Lily Allen song before. Hilarious. Here it is for others:

    Tiny Tim makes me smile too, as does, I’m somewhat embarrassed to say, Mmm-Bop. I like Bowie, but he doesn’t make me smile the same way. Well, maybe Ch-ch-changes.

  6. May 25, 2011 2:37 pm

    So you totally stole the song I was going to use tomorrow for this same category. This is what I get for being a day behind. It’s a great one, though. Well played. I went into far too much detail about Dave Matthew’s today in my entry….I had the wrong song title, it’s not Ants Marching.

  7. May 25, 2011 2:43 pm

    Also, totally agree on the cursing. Forget You isn’t even worth a second listen!

  8. May 25, 2011 11:33 pm

    We could build a whole cursing playlist. What about Liz Phair’s “Fuck and Run” from Exile in Guyville?

  9. May 26, 2011 8:13 am

    What about “Totally Fucked” from Spring Awakening? (It’s not just a cursing playlist; it’s a fucking one!) And there’s one that Walker likes from a parody site called Lonely Island– “I Just Had Sex” is the title, I think. Very literal.

  10. May 26, 2011 8:18 am

    If you’ll grant access to songs that say fuck a lot in the lyrics but not the title, I’d recommend “Killing in the Name Of” by Rage Against the Machine (“Fuck you I won’t do what you tell me”) and/or Ben Folds “Rocking the Suburbs” (“You better watch out because I’m gonna say fuck”)…if it has to be in the title, there’s a Mike Doughty song called “How to Fuck a Republican” that is both rude and informative.

  11. May 26, 2011 9:06 am

    Hah! I think we may actually need to make that playlist. How can I have missed that Mike Doughty song?

  12. May 26, 2011 9:10 am

    Oh, and Freshhell, the book meme was going around facebook a while back and seems to have made a bit of a revival. You can find the list of prompts here.

  13. freshhell permalink
    May 26, 2011 9:19 am

    Thanks! Some of those are gonna be tough. I’ll have to flip through some of my old “books read” lists. Might not be able to do this until July, though. Not that it matters.

  14. May 26, 2011 1:26 pm

    I was about a month behind on this song. I agree, it is a totally joyful song, both for the emotional release of saying the word “fuck”, and the several hundred other words which make it one hella good pop song.

    Wait, you’ve NEVER said “fuck you” to ANYONE? You’ve been married for how long? 😉

  15. May 28, 2011 9:00 pm

    I know, clearly an oversight, right? Also, I must add Robbie Fulks’ “Fuck This Town” to our hypothetical playlist.

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