Songs that sound sad, touch on gloomy themes, or feel melancholy like Sorry by Justin Bieber, The Winner Takes It All by Abba, and Mr Brightside by The Killers, can kick-start your day with a mood boost that is still in effect up to two hours later.
This is among the findings of a new research study into the emotional power of in-car playlists commissioned by Ford, which worked with Spotify and New York University.
Back To Black by Amy Winehouse and Everybody’s Changing by Keane would also fall into that category.
What all the songs have in common is both a driving beat and a melancholy feel, which the research showed some people find the best soundtrack to their daily drive.
Scientists have identified two key characteristics of music that work together to create the mood – “energy” drives the song, the beat and the tempo, and “valence” describes the depth, emotion and feeling of a track. Together, these elements can be a tonic to cheer up even the most tedious drive.
For the study, testers in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain listened to carefully curated playlists showcasing different combinations of “energy” and “valence”. Driver moods were identified through questionnaires completed immediately before, immediately after, and at hourly intervals following morning commutes.
Tracks with a driving beat worked the best, but sad-sounding tracks, or those in a minor key, with “low valence” were as popular as more obviously happy music with “high valence”.
The songs featured on the study’s special playlist are:
Back To Black – Amy Winehouse
Beggin’ – Madcon
Black Hole Sun – Soundgarden
Buck Rogers – Feeder
Chained To The Rhythm – Katy Perry, Skip Marley
Ciao Adios – Anne Marie
Don’t You Worry Child – Swedish House Mafia, John Martin
Everybody’s Changing – Keane
The Final Countdown – Europe
Green Light – Lorde
Hometown Glory (High Contrast Remix) – Adele
Lean On – Major Lazer, Mo
Mr Brightside – The Killers
Power – Little Mix, Stormzy
Run – Foo Fighters
Shake It Out – Florence and the Machine
Sorry – Justin Bieber
Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix) – Lana Del Ray
This Is What You Came For – Calvin Harris, Rihanna
Titanium – David Guetta, Sia
Wake Me Up When September Ends – Green Day
What Went Down – Foals
The Winner Takes It All – Abba