There’s a pretty good chance you already heard this song today.
It has been the number one song in the U.S. for the past ten weeks. It’s also been number one in twenty-three other countries. It’s had multi-platinum sales in at least seven of those.
It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song (as it originally appeared in “Despicable Me 2”), but it lost to “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen”.
While a little unusual for a new song, it’s already been covered by many other artists (there’s even a duet floating around the Internet with Naturally 7 and David Lee Roth)! And it’s appeared on “X-Factor”, “The Voice” and even “Glee”.
And there have been many versions performed by people in other countries, who title the song something like “Happy We Are From Belgrade”.
So even if you haven’t heard it on the radio today, you may have come across a video on any one of countless social media sites.
While I usually talk here about getting messages from songs popping up in my head, this is an instance where the song could be in my head for lots of reasons that have nothing to do with messages. It’s a catchy song. And when you hear a catchy song, they tend to burrow in and stay a while.
But I also think that “Happy” is a good song to use to illustrate the wide variety of meanings that a seemingly simple song could have.
For example, here’s the video of this song for the movie “Despicable Me 2”:
In this context, the song might not just have it’s obvious meaning, but it could have something to do with this movie. Does this film have a special meaning for you? It could be about who you were with when you saw it. It could be about something that happened when you were at the theater. Or something that happened on the way to or from the movie.
We all love those minions; maybe it has something to do with them. Do they make you think of someone in particular? Maybe it has to do with another character in the movie. Is there something about Margo, Agnes or Edith that makes you think of someone else? Do you even know someone with that name, or something similar? You probably don’t know someone named Gru or Dr. Nefario, and if you did, you’d probably already made that connection.
There’s also a version out there, where someone has stripped away the music, replacing it with slow, orchestral music, which makes the song feel the opposite of what it’s supposed to…
Does that strike a chord with you? At once, it’s the same song and it’s one hundred and eighty degrees different. And sometimes when you get a song that’s a message, the message could quite possibly be the polar opposite of what the song is actually about.
“Happy” could be about being “Sad”.
For me, it’s about how sad life can be when you take away the music. If you’re sick of this song, it could be that you’re “Happy” when this particular music gets taken away.
Then there are the multitude of versions from different places all around the globe. One of the most recent versions of that is this one from Nitra, Slovakia…
So this song could be about travel. It could be about someone you know from somewhere else. Or it could even be about something related to Star Wars…
It could also be about remembering something from your past. And that doesn't have to be "Star Wars". It could be “Soul Train”…
And sometimes, you get a song in your head just because someone somewhere loves you, is thinking about you and knows that particular song brings you joy.
The point of all this is that any given song could mean almost anything to any one. The trick is trusting yourself enough to get what it means to you. And to do that, you really don’t have to work so hard.
Sometimes it really is just about being happy…
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Ken Kessler has always been interested in psychic phenomena, and like Mulder on the X-Files, wants to believe. But like most, he tends to look for, and accept, rational explanations. (More)