Music plays a role on our emotions.

Photo via Katy Perry on Facebook
Photo via Katy Perry on Facebook


Spotify has released a new researched into the emotional response people have towards music to reveal the tracks that are most likely to trigger certain emotions. In order to conduct this research, Spotify worked alongside Jacob Jolij, a Professor in Cognitive Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Groningen to reveal the songs that trigger the clearest emotional responses — be it nostalgia, anger or happiness.


For example, Katy Perry’s “Birthday” is proven to encourage active movement and dopamine that leads to happiness while Coldplay’s “Magic” leads to one gaining positive feelings.

According to Jolij,“Music can have powerful effects on our emotions: from making us happy, to enabling the ability to overcome fear, certain music can trigger emotions and hormones that directly affect our moods. The list of tracks compiled with Spotify highlight some of the most effective songs to take us from sad to happy or angry to optimistic.”

Here’s seven of the top emotion-inducing tracks found by the research:

  1. Happiness – Katy Perry, Birthday

Happy songs are usually upbeat with a strong rhythm that features positive lyrics. The upbeat tempo of Katy Perry’s “Birthday” encourages active movement which is brilliant for the mood of people listening to it.

  1. Sadness – OneRepublic, I Need

The opposite of happy songs, sad songs are slower with generally more negative lyrics. One Republic’s “I Need” unconsciously reminds the human mind of a rising pitch that is linked with defeat and uncertainty.

  1. Optimism – American Authors, Best Day of My Life

Described as a complex emotion by psychologists, optimism is not built in our system by nature but it is an emotion that people experience over time. In order to feel optimistic, people have to be happy so the major key for songs that fit this emotion is it’s upbeat tempo. American Author’s “Best Day of My Life” goes best with this emotion as it is not only upbeat, it also features positive lyrics that build optimism.

  1. Anger – David Guetta, Bad

Just like happiness and sadness, anger is a basic emotion. Linked with songs in a minor key, anger is a negative emotion that involves movement. David Guetta’s “Bad” works well with this emotion as its up-tempo rhythm in minor key helps people channel their angry feelings to something to distract them.

  1. Overcoming fear – Coldplay, Magic

Fear is a negative emotion characterised by a stress response and in order to overcome fear, the first thing one has to do is to minimise their stress response. Music that helps with overcoming fear needs to be slow and relaxing while featuring major chords to evoke positive feeling and lyrics at the same time. For example, Coldplay’s “Magic”.

  1. Excitement – Avicii, Wake Me Up

Adrenalin and endorphins are what keeps someone excited and music that is positive with yet more upbeat and stronger beats is what excited people crave. Lyrics are not as important as its beats when it comes to this emotion which is why Avicii’s “Wake Me Up” is proven to be one of the top songs that gets people excited.

  1. Nostalgia – John Legend, All of Me

John Legend’s All of Me is the perfect example of a song destined to be a nostalgic hit. Its sentimental lyrics will without a doubt remind people of that someone special, linking the song to provoking nostalgia in listeners for a long period of time.

Listen to these emotion-inducing songs here:

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Bryna spends most of her time obsessing over cars and sports, particularly football while keeping updated with the entertainment scene. From raves to rock concerts, Bryna listens to all sorts of genres and is also a fan of horror and action movies.