Don’t stop us now! Has science found the ‘most feel-good song of all time?’

What’s the most feel-good song ever written? Well, researchers say they now have an answer. The formula calls for a song that is up-tempo (roughly 150 beats per minute) and played in a major key with happy lyrical content.

What did they land on? Queen’s infectious 1978 hit Don’t Stop Me Now.

British electronics manufacturer Alba commissioned a survey of 2,000 UK adults, asking them to share their favorite feel-good songs. Among the contenders were ABBA’s Dancing Queen, The Beach Boys Good Vibrations, and Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl; however, the most-commonly cited was the anthemic Queen song.

Speaking to the Huffington Post, cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Jacob Jolij, who analyzed the data for this study, said that the findings confirmed what he had already known from the literature.

“Songs written in a major key with fast tempo are best at inducing positive emotions,” Jolij explained. “Virtually all ‘feel good’ songs were in major key (save one or two), and all of them were at least 10 BPM faster than the average pop song.”

Additionally, a person’s own positive associations with a song was the biggest determinant of whether a song will make them feel good.

Jolij does admit that it is a bit of a stretch to call it the most feel good song ever written — considering the survey only covered adults in the UK — but he believes that despite not being able to pinpoint one song as the ultimate feel-good song, “what we can do is identify specific features of songs that lift people’s spirit” and that “the more data we have available, the more we can learn about how music affects our moods.”

 

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