Various Artists

Happy Songs [Virgin 2010]

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Happy Songs [Virgin 2010] Review

by Jon O'Brien

Five years after its first compilation, the Happy Songs series returns with another 42 tracks of uplifting feel-good pop, covering various genres and spanning several decades. The first disc kicks off with two songs that haven't left the airwaves all summer, Eliza Doolittle's retro jazz-pop Top Ten hit "Pack Up" and Train's unexpected comeback track, the reggae-infused "Hey Soul Sister," followed by two tracks that haven't left the airwaves for several years, Lily Allen's ska-inspired "Smile" and Jason Mraz's infectious "I'm Yours." The Radio 2-style track list veers off into more Radio 1 territory with club anthems from Yolanda Be Cool and David Guetta, but it's two unashamedly pure pop songs, Alphabeat's High School Musical-esque "Fascination" and Katrina & the Waves' joyous '80s anthem "Walking on Sunshine" that encapsulate the album's premise. Tracks from Spandau Ballet, Toploader, and the Source are uninspired and overplayed choices, but there are a few welcome surprise additions, particularly Roll Deep's dance/R&B hybrid "Good Times" and Röyksopp's appropriately titled "Happy Up Here." The more retro second disc concentrates on classic '60s, '70s, and '80s tracks, along with a few lesser-known hits from Lulu and Labi Siffre, and a trio of Brit-pop classics from the Kooks, Blur, and Supergrass. Highlights include the Monkees' effortlessly chirpy "Daydream Believer," Al Green's soul standard "Let's Stay Together," and Diana Ross' Bee Gees-penned number one, "Chain Reaction." Happy Songs 2010 may contain few surprises, but with its all-inclusive track list, should guarantee that even the sternest souls will find something to make them smile.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Eliza Doolittle 03:09 Amazon
2 Train 03:37 Amazon
3 Jason Mraz 03:33 Amazon
4 Lily Allen 03:15 Amazon
5 Yolanda Be Cool / D. Cup / DCUP 02:11 Amazon
6 Katy Perry 03:40 Amazon
7 David Guetta 03:13 Amazon
8 Katrina and the Waves 03:39 Amazon
9 Alphabeat 03:02 Amazon
10 The Proclaimers 03:35 Amazon
11 Madness 03:20 Amazon
12 Huey Lewis & the News 03:51 Amazon
13 Belinda Carlisle 04:04 Amazon
14 Toploader 03:28 Amazon
15 Spandau Ballet 03:50 Amazon
16 Blondie 03:09 Amazon
17 Kylie Minogue 03:21 Amazon
18 Roll Deep 03:43 Amazon
19 Source / The Source 03:12 Amazon
20 Röyksopp 02:45 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
Al Green 04:42 Amazon
2 Chaka Khan / Rufus 04:41 Amazon
3 The O'Jays / Don Renaldo 02:56 Amazon
4 The Detroit Spinners 03:59 Amazon
5 The Monkees 02:54 Amazon
6 Van Morrison 03:00 Amazon
7 Electric Light Orchestra 05:02 Amazon
8 Robbie Williams 02:29 Amazon
9 The Seekers 02:21 Amazon
10 Labi Siffre 03:52 Amazon
11 Johnny Nash 02:56 Amazon
12 Hot Chocolate 04:00 Amazon
13 UB40 03:07 Amazon
14
Ernie K-Doe 03:05 Amazon
15 Lulu 02:49 Amazon
16 Ike & Tina Turner / Ike Turner / Tina Turner 04:58 Amazon
17 Diana Ross 03:46 Amazon
18 The Beach Boys 02:12 Amazon
19 Pilot 03:03 Amazon
20 The Kooks 02:49 Amazon
21 Blur 03:05 Amazon
22 Supergrass 03:02 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick