Optimism in Music.

I'm not a big fan of those "worst of threads." I like to concentrate more on the positive. That brings to mind a couple of songs that just make me feel good with their lyrics and melody. First is Bob Dylan's song New Morning. The lyrics sing of just that. It's a great song that never fials to put a smile on my face. Another of my favorites is a song by Cameo called I like the World. The words are truly inspiring. I must play that at least four or five times a week. Any songs come to mind that just make you feel good or that you play when you need to just feel good?
"The Whole of the Moon" - The Waterboys
"Heavenly Pop Hit" - The Chills
"Caravan" - Van Morrison
"Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amelie Poulain (Amelie)" - Soundtrack by Yann Tiersen
"These Important Years" - Husker Du

Great thread!
Anything by Nick Cave.
"I Can See Clearly Now"
Without stretching my brain for more than a second -- there must be hundreds of them ("Let's Spend The Night Together" by the Stones being one) -- two of the more optimistic songs I can think of offhand are "Hey Jude" by The Beatles and "Ooh Child" by The Five Stairsteps (written by a guy named Stan Vincent, a pop producer of whom I know very little). Boiled down the latter has few lyrics:

Ooh child things are gonna get easier
Ooh child things'll get brighter
Someday we'll get it together and we'll get it undone
Someday when the world is much brighter
Someday we're gonna walk in the rays of a beautiful sun
Someday when the world is much lighter
Ooh child things are gonna get easier
Ooh child things'll get brighter
Right now

As in any optimistic song, epitomized the Beatles and the Beach Boys, the uplifting feel of the music plays an integral part in giving you that sense of hope. But at the same time, as illustrated by the preceding example, there must be an underlying implication of sorrow associated with the current condition to contrast with the feeling of optimism about the future. (Indeed the compelling repeated guitar lick from "Ooh Child" is tinged with bittersweetness, and the implied but unanswered question hangs in the background: What happened that must be "undone"? It doesn't matter; the healing will be accomplished in time.) You need something to triumph over -- simply being blatantly upbeat about everything all the time doesn't qualify.

Then again, who hasn't ever gone in a big way for a song that's just so poignant or melancholy, but with grace and not merely wallowing in self pity, that it makes you feel perversely wonderful by giving your soul solace? Along the lines of "Waterloo Sunset" by The Kinks for example. You just think, hey, if someone else can feel that way too, and make something beautiful out of it, then there must be hope of good in the world. But most songwriters who sit down to write a piece that's simply sad, or simply glad, usually come up with a piece of sentimental dreck. As the man is reputed to have once said, all great poetry is at root about death, even if it's ostensibly about love...
"Isn't She Lovely" Stevie Wonder
"Lay Down" Strawbs
"Peace Train" Cat Stevens
"Thank You" Led Zeppelin
"This Land is Your Land" Woody Guthrie
"Starting Over" John Lennon
"I Believe in Father Christmas" Greg Lake
"My Girl" Temptations
"For My Lady" Moody Blues
"New Frontier" Kingston Trio
"Sweet Baby James" James Taylor
Hey great thread indeed! Boa2 good call on "Caravan"! Actually I dig all of the above responses. It's early this morning so like Zaikesman, I won't stretch my brain too much either:

"Twist and Shout" The Beatles
"I'm Wonderin' Where The Lions Are" Bruce Cockburn
"My Ever Changing Moods" Style Council
"Whatever Get's You Through The Night" John Lennon
"Hallelujah" Ryan Adams
and my favorite uplifting song is...

"40" by U2 (great lyrics and message, hmmmm, I wonder where they came from? :))
love train-the ojays...peace train-cat stevens....i'm a train-albert hammond....when the train comes-the sutherland bros.....people get ready-the impressions....do ya-the move(lookout baby there's a train a'comin')
Anything by Nick Cave.
That's a good one bday0000!

The Beatles - "Here Comes The Sun." Not only a wonderfully uplifting song, but it leads off the best album side of all time, IMHO.
"Love is the Answer" Todd Rundgren
"No More Casual Sex" Kid Creole
"Merry Christmas From The Family" R.E. Keene
"Truly, Madly, Deeply" Marshall Crenshaw
"The Christians and The Pagans" Dar Williams
"Don't Tell The World" Kyle Davis

and many,many more.
Fun Thread.
Good Day Sunshine, Here Comes the Sun -- the Beatles
Ditto on the Bruce Cockburn, also I'm gonna fly someday, Bright Sky, Lord of the Starfields, Joy will find a way -- Bruce Cockburn
Carry On - CSNY
Jazzman -- Carol King
Larry Carlton -- Smiles and Smiles to go
All Good People -- Yes (a little overplayed and worn out but...)
Jesus Jones - "Right Here Right Now"

BTW, I disagree with the suggestion of ELP's "I Believe in Father Christmas", which in my opinion is an indictment of the commercialization of Christmas among deeper meanings contained in the lyrics.
The The has a record called "Soul Mining".

Great LP

"Theologians" - Wilco
"Love Potion #9" - Herb Alpert
"Jerry Was a Racecar Driver" - Primus
"You're the One that I Want" - Travolta/Newton-John
"Little Muscle" - Catherine Wheel
"A Day in the Life" - The Beatles
"Dark State of Mind" - Tuatara (not dark at all)
"Crocodile Rock" - Elton John
"The Fly" - U2
"Sento le Campane" - Zucchero
Tupelo Honey - Van Morrison
The Sea Refuses No River - Pete Townshend
Evangeline - Matthew Sweet
Facist Architechture - Bruce Cockburn
She's So Modern - The Boomtown Rats
Earth and Sun and Moon - Midnight Oil
Valentine's Day - Bruce Springsteen
The American Light - Julian Cope
Sandra at the Beach - Poi Dog Pondering
Hot Dogs and Hamburgers - John Mellencamp
Lay My Love - Brian Eno and John Cale
Shooting Star - Bob Dylan
Eileen - Keith Richards
Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson
I'm Always in Love - Wilco
We're All The Way - Eric Clapton
Love Reign O'er Me - The Who


I play a fair amount of Contemporary Christian and Classical Music (not that I don't enjoy many other types). Both of these categories, however, abound with great affirming music; which to me is a lot of what this hobby is all about!
For me, I think of or play "The Children of Sanchez" by Chuck Mangione or "Street Life" by the Crusaders featuring Randi/y Crawford on vocals.
"Red Rubber Ball" -- Paul Simon (performed by The Cyrkle)
"Lovely Day" by Bill Withers

There are just so many for me, I don't even want to get my mind going too much.

I mean C'mon... Love Shack by The B-52's : )
What's so Funny About Peace Love and Understanding, by Elvis Costello, of course. Written by Nick Lowe, I think.
Yes, written by Nick Lowe. Great song, fantastic performance -- in sum a classic gem, and as I suggested above one of those depressing songs that's nonetheless capable of making you feel good when you hear it -- but "optimistic"? Hey, there are some (what I consider to be) off-the-mark picks in this thread, in different ways, but to me this one -- a lucid and searingly angry indictment of the world we've made and our attitudes about it, that offers no hope of change even as it acknowledges and sympathizes with our potential to see the problems -- represents the absolute antithesis of optimism. Not that there's anything wrong with that :-)
zaikesman..check out 'jesus was a crossmaker' by julee sills....the song that inspired lowe...the hollies covered it....just killer
Slightly off topic, but I saw Nick Lowe in a small bar/club in Syracuse, NY in 1983. One of the best shows I can recall in my lifetime. It left a lasting, happy memory.
"Let's stay together" by Al Green. Just a really nice song in every respect.
How could I forget?
"Double Chocolate Malted" - Jonathan Richman

"Sideshow by the Seashore" - Luna
I'm So Glad-The Cream
Box of Rain-The Grateful Dead
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay-Otis Redding
Again, I can't see "(Sitting On) The Dock Of The Bay" as being considered anything like optimistic:
Sitting in the morning sun
I'll be sitting when the evening comes
Watching the ships roll in
And I watch 'em roll away again

Sitting on the dock of the bay
Watching the tide roll away
I'm just sitting on the dock of the bay
Wasting time

I left my home in Georgia
Headed for the 'Frisco bay
'Cause I had nothin to live for
And look like nothing's gonna come my way

So I'm just...

Look like nothing's gonna change
Everything still remains the same
I can't do what ten people tell me to do
So I guess I'll remain the same

Sittin here resting my bones
And this loneliness won't leave me alone
It's two thousand miles I roamed
Just to make this dock my home

Now, I'm just...
Resigned maybe, aimless and at a loss, a touch bitter, slapped down by life -- but optimistic? Yeah, the opening stanza could be interpreted as sounding fairly idyllic if you don't read much into it, and I admit that whistling tends to sound inherently optimistic, but that's not all there is to the song. Well, then again at least half the populace thinks "Every Breath You Take" is a love song (actually about divorce, it's routinely played at weddings) and "Born In The USA" is a flag-waving patriotic anthem, so go figure. However, you won't get any argument from me that the effect music (or any art) has on people is probably more significant than the artist's lyrical intent, especially when that artist has wrapped it up in an attractive melody and compelling arrangement.
Zaikesman, my mistake. You are correct. I just thought that sitting on the dock of the bay wasting time sounded good to me. Thanks.
Sounds good to me, too (in both senses). Sorry to be such a thread-nanny, the debating bug is just my nature. Personally, I find "Dock Of The Bay" to provide as much or more spiritual succor than songs that truly are optimistic.