Playlist: Songs That Give Me That 2:30 Feeling

If there was a German word for happy songs that for some reason feel like a wrecking ball to your serotonin levels, this post would need that tag. Now I know everyone is going to have different perspectives on what they consider a happy song, but I’m talking about objectively happy songs – songs that have been mutually agreed upon by department stores, commercials, and moms’ cars.

You’re not rolling up into a TJ Maxx hearing “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, you’re hearing an upbeat, top 40-ly song. They’re keeping it high and tight because otherwise you’re going to be browsing through the candle aisle asking yourself, the universe, “What am I doing here?” and take your maxxinistics elsewhere. Commercials have the same approach. (Except, coincidentally, for the one that features “Angel” by Sarah McLachlan, but that is an outlier of which we don’t speak.) They know they’re not going to be pushing back to school clothing with anything less than jubilation. And then moms, well, moms don’t like to feel sad in their cars. It’s their special time alone with their thoughts. They’re cranking – and by cranking I mean barely turning the dial – something light and breezy.

You know the ones? Those are the kinds of songs that give me that 2:30 feeling.

It’s unclear why they make me sad! Unless it’s very clear to some of you and I’m in for some bad news. Look, I’m not a scientist or a doctor – full stop. Ahaha, I should have just made that the entire article. “Look, I’m not a scientist or a doctor” and then a playlist of objectively happy songs that double-hand fire extinguish the flame in my heart.

I realize this playlist will absolutely delight another person. That’s great! I love you, never change. This is just, as they say, “my truth.” Enjoy! (Or don’t!)

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Los Angeles based writer. Let's keep it clean out there!

Erin has written 208 articles for us.


  1. this playlist reminds me of that moment when the playlist at your restaurant job starts over and the only people there are 76 and have ordered 7 iced teas and are splitting a cob salad and you look up at the clock and realize “shit, i still have 6 more hours in this hellhole” i think that’s why they make you sad.

    • Legit this is what happens when I play these types of songs in my cubicle prison and pause it to answer yet another terrible phone call. The only way back from that is to send group emails full of cat photos and/or ridiculous buzzfeed quizzes.

    • Yes. This list sends me directly back to chipping ice out of the Subway case during closing, wishing all my college friends didn’t live on the other side of the state.

  2. “They’re keeping it high and tight because otherwise you’re going to be browsing through the candle aisle asking yourself, the universe, “What am I doing here?” and take your maxxinistics elsewhere.” ERIN

    You’re the best.

  3. Just the other day, I heard Tegan and Sara’s “Goodbye, Goodbye” playing in JC Penney and I wanted to give a big hug to whomever put that on the playlist. Made my day. :)

    • I control the spotify at my workplace and this reminds me of the time I overheard a coworker dissing Tegan and Sara and made him listen to their entire discography on a loop for days.

  4. “Mambo #5” was one of the songs on the “warm up mix” for my 8th grade volleyball team where we played in a gym with a ceiling that was objectively too low so the ball would often bounce off of it and ruin the flow of the game. So I think about that whenever I hear it, along with the memory of the mean girl on the team bragging about how her name was in the chorus. So I hardcore relate to this playlist.

      • It sounds a lot like *bump* *bump* *THUD* with a side of “GOD ERICA THAT SONG’S NOT EVEN ABOUT YOU” while Lou Bega plays in the background.

        It might as well be the soundtrack to 2017 given how this year is going.

    • Well this makes me feel old. You were in 8th grade and I had already been adulting for a few years. Thirty one years old and running a restaurant. But we danced and sang to this song in the kitchen.

  5. I get that feeling when I listen to “Happy” with Pharrell. I think it’s because it’s supposed to make me feel happy, but it doesn’t, which is rather sad.

    • It’s even worse when you’re somewhere like a club or a party and you’re actually having a good time and then someone says, “Let’s play “Happy” by Pharrell Williams,” and you’re just like “I hate all of you right now, so much.”

  6. As soon as I started reading I knew Happy was going to be on this list. I don’t think I actually hate it, I think I just hate being told to be happy by whatever company is trying to see me stuff. It makes me wanna scream, fuck off i’ll be as sad as i bloody well want.

  7. “If there was a German word for happy songs that for some reason feel like a wrecking ball to your serotonin levels, this post would need that tag.”

    I believe the word that your looking for is Rammstein, their behind such hits as Du hast, Stirb nicht vor mir ft Sharleen Spiteri and Pussy. XD

  8. This is a great playlist and I will use to to clean my house. Thanks Erin! Big #SulliFan here

  9. Serotonin levels have nothing to do with happiness. “Today, on NPR’s Morning Edition there is a segment about the chemical imbalance theory, and virtually all the psychiatrists who are interviewed acknowledge that the there was never any evidence in support of the idea that low serotonin causes depression. But then, amazingly, they go on to say that it is perfectly fine to tell patients that serotonin imbalance causes depression even though they know this isn’t the case.” Robert Whitaker lecture on the serotonin imbalance myth. “Elevations or decrements in the functioning of serotonergic systems per se are not likely to be associated with depression- NMH 1984

    “What you see here is the low serotonin theory of depression dying in 1984…So how does it get reborn? It gets reborn in 1987 when Eli Lilly brings Prozac to market… New Rat Study: SSRIs Markedly Deplete Brain Serotonin

  10. Mambo No. 5 was THE Mardi Gras theme song of my childhood. I hear it, I wanna dance and eat like chicken wings or something while I wait for the lull in the parade to cease. Or dance while catching something.

    It does make me feel a little, tiny bit sad to hear it and not be having fun at a parade.
    Just a little bit.

    But She Will Be Loved, fuck that song. It is a sad sad song. Creepy sad song that I cannot for the life of me understand why people try to delude themselves into thinking it is a happy song.

  11. Not aware of a suitable German word but my happy song in German always was/ still is “Irgendwie, irgendwo, irgendwann” from Nena (99 red balloons fame)

    • Every soul sister wants to jam to “broken wings”. What are you even talking about?

  12. We Germans can’t have a word for everything. But we can make one or two! Here it goes: Glücksvernichtungslieder or

  13. I’m a scientist and I can’t explain why happy songs make me sad either…………

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