Happiest, Saddest, Most Exhilarating Songs Ever

WRITTEN BY
SPIN Staff

As part of a new study commissioned by Nokia U.K., British researchers have determined the saddest, happiest, and most exhilarating tracks in music history. Dr. Harry Witchel used a list of songs compiled by the Official U.K. Charts Company to determine the "tune trigger quotient" of study participants by measuring heart rate, skin temperature and breathing patterns.

The results are quite obvious at times, quite "Mom's girls-night-out mix" at times (note the Dirty Dancing love theme, No. 8 on the "happy" list), and altogether puzzling elsewhere (the Killers make the "exhilarating" list). The compilation from has upset the blogosphere and generated plenty of counter-lists to satisfy the more eclectic music lovers whose collections reach outside ABBA and Robbie Williams. Thanks to Dr. Witchel, though, for his groundbreaking scientific proof that the Prodigy raise your heart rate.

Top Ten Happy Songs, according to the study:

1. Lily Allen - "LDN"
2. ABBA - "Dancing Queen"
3. R.E.M. - "Shiny Happy People"
4. B52s - "Love Shack"
5. The Beatles - "She Loves You"
6. Beyonce - "Crazy in Love"
7. Britney Spears - "Baby One More Time"
8. Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes - "I've Had the Time of My Life"
9. Spice Girls - "Spice Up Your Life"
10. Kylie Minogue - "Spinning Around"

Top Ten Sad Songs:

1. The Verve - "The Drugs Don't Work"
2. Robbie Williams - "Angels"
3. Elton John - "Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word"
4. Whitney Houston - "I Will Always Love You"
5. Sinead O`Connor - "Nothing Compares 2 U"
6. Will Young - "Leave Right Now"
7. Elvis Presley - "Are You Lonesome Tonight?"
8. Christina Aguilera - "Beautiful"
9. James Blunt - "Goodbye My Lover"
10. Radiohead - "Fake Plastic Trees"

Top Ten Most Exhilarating Songs:

1. Blur - "Song 2"
2. Girls Aloud - "Love Machine"
3. The Killers - "Somebody Told Me"
4. Prodigy - "Firestarter"
5. Razorlight - "Rip It Up"
6. Rolling Stones - "Start Me Up"
7. Gnarls Barkley - "Crazy"
8. U2 - "Beautiful Day"
9. Oasis - "Roll With It"
10. Take That - "Relight My Fire"

Here's what people are saying:

"Mind you, Witchel claims that Lily Allen's LDN is the 'happiest song' of all time - because, after all, who wouldn't have a little smile to themselves hearing of a crack whore and her pimp and an old lady having her wedding ring stolen?" --simon h b, xrrf.blogspot.com

"'The Drugs Don't Work' by the Verve is the saddest song of all-time. This was decided by measuring blood flow and brain activity while subjects listened to songs on headphones. This is, of course, insane. That is a pretty sad song, but there are much, much sadder." --My Stupid Mouth, fluencycast.blogspot.com

"While Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You' brings tears to my eyes, it's because my ears are trying to strangle my brain, not because it's particularly sad." -- Damean, myspace.com

"Always leave it to the Brits for their obsession with list-making and their appreciation for music in all aspects of life. Course the 'on behalf of Nokia' kinda threw me...I can hear Alex, 'there's only music, so that there's new ringtones...'" -- Brianna, cantgetoutofwhatiminto.blogspot.com

"THIS is totally up my alley. I pride myself on making suicide mixes." --ihatewheat, ihatewheat.wordpress.com

"If they knew about Death Cab for Cutie's songs 'I Will Follow You Into the Dark' or 'Someday You Will Be Loved' or even 'What Sarah Said,' I think that is might have been a 4-way tie." -- Pocket Change, myspace.com

Talk: What are your picks for saddest, happiest, and most exhilarating song of all time? COMMENT

On SPIN.com:
More Everybody's Talking About

00:00 00:00 No Song Selected More info
00:00 00:00
placeholder
Now Playing
  • 1 Emay — MAIR " 04:09
  • 2 Grooms — Doctor M " 06:09
  • 3 The Suffers — Make Some Room " 04:34
  • 4 KLOË — Grip " 03:24
  • 5 Dead Right! — Rising Tide (Saint Motel Remix) " 03:17
  • 6 Howardian — Be Fruitful " 02:03

SPIN is a member of SPIN Music Group, a division of BUZZMEDIA