Hakuna Matata: Aint No Passing Craze

The Moose and the Goose. Footloose.


Here’s a question that has been on everybody’s mind lately:  Are we human, or are we dancers?          

To settle the debate once and for all, I will definitively answer the question with a question.  Here goes:  Is it humanly possible to listen to the song, “Love Shack,” by the B-52’s, without dancing?          

It is humanly not possible to listen to the song “Love Shack,” by the B-52’s, without dancing.  So that settles it.  We are dancers.          

Moving rabidly along, let’s extend this argument.  Is it humanly possible to hear the song, “Gives You Hell,” and not think of someone you dislike?          

Again, not a chance.  So, what does this tell us?          

This tells us that we are primitively affected by the music we listen to.  Some songs make us feel good.  Other songs encourage us to marinate in our self-pity, or our anger, or our sorrow, until we become shriveled prunes of pity juice.          

Don’t believe me?  Studies show that country music is a contributing factor in suicide attempts.  (The studies examined people who electively listened to country music.  You may have been thinking that the suicide attempts were cries for help by spouses of country music listeners, but that was not the case.)           

Studies also show that people who listen to hip-hop are more likely to get an STD.          

And maybe you’ve heard the conspiracy theory about Led Zeppelin, and the subliminal messages in “Stairway to Heaven”?  When I listen closely, I cannot say with absolute certainty that Led Zeppelin did not sneak in a couple satanic messages.  (Listen here, at 2 minutes 16 seconds.)             

Some organizations, such as InnerTalk, use subliminal messages in a positive way.   They sell CD’s with subliminal motivational messages.  This might be a good idea, but I am not trying it, mostly because I do not trust people who want to hypnotize me.          

But screw the studies, and screw the subliminal messages.  A study is irrelevant anyway, since music impacts everybody differently.           

Here’s a reliable, two-step test to predict how a certain type of music will make you feel:   1)  Turn on music.  2)  Ask self, “how does this make me feel?”          

It is important that we distinguish the good technique, above, from a bad one.  Here’s a bad test for determining which music to listen to:  1)  Turn on music.  2)  Ask self, “do I like this music?”          

“Gives You Hell” is one of my favorite songs right now.  It makes me dance.  But I think that’s awful–to wish someone hell.  I’ve tried to sing louder than the radio, saying “when you see my face, know I wish you well, know I wish you well,” but, quite frankly, that really F’s up the song.  Now I just change the station.          

So, do you want to be happy?  Or do you want to be a shriveled prune of pity juice?  Assuming you pick the former, I recommend that you surround yourself with positive music, positive people, positive energy.  Because positivity leeches from one person to another.  So does negativity.          

Below, I am listing a few of my favorite upbeat songs.  As part of your “Spring Cleaning for the Brain,” [this post is the final of that four-part series,] throw these songs into one big “Happy Mix” on your Ipod, or plug one into Pandora and see what comes your way.   


  • Simply the Best – Tina Turner
  • Late in the Evening – Paul Simon
  • Escapade – Janet Jackson
  • What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
  • Dancing in the Street – Martha & the Vandellas
  • Back in Black – AC/DC
  • Forever Young – Rod Stewart
  • Sweet Child of Mine – Guns N’ Roses
  • Glory Days – Bruce Springstein
  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  • Don’t Worry By Happy – Bobby McFerrin
  • Sweet Escape – Gwen Stefani/Akon
  • Brass in Pocket – The Pretenders
  • Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes – Paul Simon  (In 1993, I nominated that as my Favorite Song Ever.  It’s still living up to its superlative.)
  • Hakuna Matata – Disney’s “Lion King”
  • Money for Nothing – Dire Straits
  • I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
  • Bubbly – Colbie Caillat
  • Pocketful of Sunshine -Natasha Bedingfield
  • Beautiful Day – U2
  • Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole 
  • Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall 
  • Lucky – Jason Mraz
  • [If you are married and you still like your wedding song, add it to this list.]  
  • [Think of songs that bring you back to happy moments in your past.  For me, the Bangles, the Pretenders, Robert Cray, Mariah Carey, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Tina Turner are time machine rides to family dance contests in my parents’ living room circa 1991.]

If you’re having a particularly difficult day, put on one of these songs, turn it up so loud that you can’t hear your own thoughts (remember ear muffs for any tiny humans dancers in the vicinity), and force yourself to do some enthusiastic soul-dancing around your house, a la Tom Cruise in Risky Business.       

I hope this happiness series has been helpful.  As for me, I’m about to “get it poppin in here” with the hoppin beats of “Hakuna Matata.”  (What a wonderful phrase!)   It will make me dance, and it will make me happy, even if Disney does want me to take off my clothes.         


Which songs would you add to this list?         

My favorite part about blogging is hearing from my readers!  I love your reflections and your suggestions.  🙂         


18 responses to “Hakuna Matata: Aint No Passing Craze

  1. I love your list, have written down a whole bunch to add to my ipod, esp Janet Jackson! Every time I listen to Paula Abdul’s “Promise of a New Day” I can’t help but belt it out with her and dance around like a crazy person!!! Always helps pick me up when I’m feeling blah!

  2. Happily Hydrated

    I’m all about the tunes!!

    I actually always think of you when I hear “The Devil Goes Down to Georgia” because you ROCKED that at your wedding 🙂

    I knew it was going to be a good day today when I was jammin ,and I mean, boogie wooging (full pretend mic in hand-the girls were my back up singers with their pretend mics in hand)to “Whenever I call you Friend” by Kenny Loggins this morning on the Merritt. Anyone who says that’s a little cheezy– PISH POSH to you!! GREAT TUNE!!! Will put a spring your step!

    “More” by Bobby Darin was our wedding song, which I still LOVE but has been a debate with hubby for a long time.
    His choice, which if we renew vows, would be Elton John’s “Your Song” Can’t really disagree I would have loved to walked down the aisle to the Moulin Rouge version of that song.

    • Haha–glad you liked the “Devil” performance. 🙂

      Wish I could see you and your back-up singers doo-whopping!! So funny!!

      I’m going to listen to “More” and “Your Song” right now, just for fun. 🙂

  3. LOVE this post!!! Now I’m happy just thinking about listening to happy music–imagine how happy I’ll be when I actually listen to my disney pandora station! Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes reminds me of jamming out while painting the walls with you!… I’ve enjoyed every moment of this four part “Spring Cleaning for the Brain”. I’m definitely going to be revisiting these posts as happy reminders 🙂

    • You are a doll, Smallie Smalls! We sure did have fun painting. I still have a picture of you wearing one of my “rags” [haha], and I am ready and willing to blackmail you with it when the occasion arises! 🙂

  4. Love it!! Better When we’re Together, Jack Johnson…Jack and Diane, John Mellencamp…several Bon Jovi and Ben Folds Five selections would all be on my list. Definitely making myself a “happy” mix. Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. I enjoyed this post.

  6. Dionne Baldwin

    I love music. I think it’s an addiction of mine. I think types of music can totally effect our moods or enhance the ones we are already in! And I just LOVE nostalgic music like classic rock or 80’s. When I am totally stressed or feeling very vulnerable and weak I love to play Vangelis Chariots of Fire soundtrack. When I was little and all was relaxed at home, my dad would play that as he was doing things around the house. It reminds me of days with no fights or yelling. No tension or stress. Just sitting or playing as a little girl enjoying the freedom of relaxing my mind. It sounds weird but that music totally zen’s me because of that association.

  7. Love this! That picture is priceless 🙂

  8. Hahahaha this post made me laugh several times. Favorite moments? The first sentence, and seeing Robert Cray’s name.

  9. This was a delight to read! I love “happy” music. Some of my happy music includes, “Relator” by Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson and “Smile” by Uncle Kracker.

    Thanks for such a “happy” post!

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