C'mon Get Happy!
June 12, 2008 11:12 PM   Subscribe

What song would bring a smile to your face if a fellow worker bee was singing it as you were going to work?

Lately, I've had the impulse to sing while walking to the office. I've spontaneously started singing a couple of times when it's just me on the elevator and when the doors open, people are smiling. (Are they laughing with or at me? Not sure, but it's fun.)

So, if some goofball walked by you singing, what song would make you happy?
posted by sfkiddo to Society & Culture (64 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
"I'm a little teapot, short and stout..."

"It's the end of the world as we know it..." (not if you work for the defense department, mind you).

"Oh, I've got a luvverly bunch of coconuts..."
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:16 PM on June 12, 2008

Parliament - Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)
Now that would make me smile. I might even join in.
Most other things would make me want to punch you in the face early in the morning.
posted by ctmf at 11:19 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Because it's technically part of your question, some are laughing at, some with. Some have tight mechanical smiles and courtesy laughter because they know that the sooner they give you what you want, the sooner you will relent. They know that the bare minimum of attention is the price they pay for not seeing you coming and finding a way to avoid you.

Remember, some people are not morning people. These people are going to wind up losing a lot of weight, because when they hear you coming in the elevator, they're going to take the stairs instead. I hope this doesn't sound too harsh; as a grumpy New Yorker who used to suffer a long commute and just wanted to be left alone at work, I can't help but recoil.

If you're doing it for you, rock on. The second you're doing it for them, you lose most of what you started with.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 11:27 PM on June 12, 2008 [12 favorites]

As zany and fun as you might think it is, I'd just point out that even seemingly nice / upbeat coworkers might find it tremendously annoying if you start singing in the office... especially with any sort of regularity...

that being said.. I suppose if you started singing "C is for cookie", I'd probably laugh.
posted by twiggy at 11:27 PM on June 12, 2008

Baby Got Back
posted by HotPatatta at 11:29 PM on June 12, 2008 [2 favorites]

Showtunes. South Pacific's "Cockeyed Optimist" is a good length for an elevator ride.

See for yourself!
posted by roger ackroyd at 11:29 PM on June 12, 2008

Black Flag, "White Minority". Especially if you're not white.
posted by nicwolff at 11:47 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

(for Australians only) the old Life - Be In It jingle gets the occasional smile or chuckle from strangers when I'm on the way to work...
posted by russm at 11:53 PM on June 12, 2008

whistling it, that is...
posted by russm at 11:55 PM on June 12, 2008

"Hip to Be Square," by Huey Lewis and the News.

Everyone forgets the News.
posted by ikkyu2 at 11:55 PM on June 12, 2008 [1 favorite]

Macarena! But I have a sick sense of humor, obviously.
posted by krisken at 11:58 PM on June 12, 2008

Baby Got Back

Or possibly Baby Got Back.
posted by Caduceus at 12:01 AM on June 13, 2008

"Busy Day" 1960s Jello commercial. Nobody will get it, but you; hey, you're not just a singing worker bee, you're a cultural revivalist, if not a cultural relativist!
posted by paulsc at 12:02 AM on June 13, 2008

Under the Boardwalk. That there's a great singin' song.
posted by farishta at 12:03 AM on June 13, 2008

posted by fshgrl at 12:26 AM on June 13, 2008

Anything by Salt 'n' Pepa.

whassa matta witcho life
Why you gotta mess wit' mine
Dont' keep sweatin' what I do
Cuz I'ma be just fine checkit out!

posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 12:27 AM on June 13, 2008

The Internationale.
posted by themel at 12:28 AM on June 13, 2008 [3 favorites]

Any song.
This never happens. I know from the movies that folks did that a lot in the fifties, and they still do in India, but not in my world -- and that sucks. I would be delighted if anyone not obviously deranged sang anything anywhere. Would you dance, too?
posted by Methylviolet at 12:32 AM on June 13, 2008

Though, for the more discerning -- maybe Stuck on My Elevator?
posted by Methylviolet at 12:35 AM on June 13, 2008

Back in Flesh (an alternate performance) or Factory by Wall of Voodoo. Both songs sung from the perspective of a blue collar worker.
posted by Dreamcast at 12:42 AM on June 13, 2008

Ya got trouble/Piano Lesson & If You Don't Mind Me Saying So/Pick-a-little talk-a-little/Marian the Librarian/Shipoopi - almost anything from The Music Man would be fantastic.

Also, The Rainbow Connection (Kermit version)
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:44 AM on June 13, 2008

I suppose Aerosmith is out of the question?
posted by carsonb at 12:45 AM on June 13, 2008

Vegetables (Brian Wilson - silly amateur video, good sound quality)
posted by unmake at 1:03 AM on June 13, 2008

Loverboy - Working for the weekend
posted by pwb503 at 1:09 AM on June 13, 2008

Either Under My Thumb or Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor On The Bedpost Overnight?, but for entirely different reasons.

Past experience has shown that encountering unprompted singing usually indicates either insanity or an unfortunate lack of inhibition in the singer, sometimes both.
posted by motown missile at 1:16 AM on June 13, 2008

Muppet theme song.
posted by robotot at 1:34 AM on June 13, 2008

The scene beginning at 6:53 answers your question quite well, I think.

Check out them headphones...

Pretty sure I burst out laughing the first time I saw the scene... I can't imagine what I'd do if someone walked into my office in a similar fashion.
posted by Kimothy at 2:47 AM on June 13, 2008

The Lion Sleeps Tonight
posted by Jaltcoh at 3:31 AM on June 13, 2008

Definitely 16 Tons

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store
posted by vodkaboots at 3:51 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

"I'm Too Sexy" by Right Said Fred.
posted by Comrade_robot at 4:18 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Wake and Bake by The Goats
posted by jammy at 4:52 AM on June 13, 2008

As someone who already has a coworker who both sings (gospel! show tunes! military songs!) and whistles on a daily basis, I beesech you to reconsider. Or at least tell us where you work, so we can start taking the stairs, as [NOT] mentioned above.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 5:21 AM on June 13, 2008

Porcupine Racetrack from The State

Though, as a lot of people won't know it, this might up the weird factor.
posted by asuprenant at 5:26 AM on June 13, 2008

Oh man! Most of the songs mentioned have put smiles on my face just by thinking about them. However, the first song I thought about was ELO's Mr. Blue Sky.
posted by Kattullus at 5:30 AM on June 13, 2008

I am not even remotely a morning person, a la [NOT-HERMITOSIS-IST]. There's a grocery store I visit a couple of times a week before work, even though they kill me with their 7:30am LOOK AT ME cheerfulness. Unfortunately, the coffee is that good.

Far and away, the best trip I've had there was one where no one asked if they could help me, and the cashier sang It Ends Tonight while he rang up my stuff. Make of that what you will.
posted by gnomeloaf at 5:34 AM on June 13, 2008

I am a morning person, but would probably still stare at you a little bit.

I would suggest Sing, which is very . . . appropriate feeling, to me.
posted by that girl at 5:42 AM on June 13, 2008

The wheels on the carpool go round and round...
posted by TomMelee at 5:43 AM on June 13, 2008

I Can See Clearly Now
Always Look On the Bright Side of Life
Don't Worry Be Happy
posted by maloon at 6:08 AM on June 13, 2008

The whistling parts of Peter Bjorn and John's 'Young Folks.'

Or something by Belle and Sebastian.. Maybe 'Sukie in the Graveyard', 'Another Sunny Day', or 'I'm a Cuckoo.'

I'd also get a kick of Art Brut's 'Modern Art'. If someone walked into work saying "Modern art.. makes me.. want to rock OUUUTTT!" that would probably be the start of a good day.
posted by o0dano0o at 6:28 AM on June 13, 2008

"I owe,
I owe,
So it's off to work I go..."
posted by patricio at 7:03 AM on June 13, 2008

Ray's "whip somebody's ass" (remix) or the original.

And the Metafilter post about it.
posted by micayetoca at 7:05 AM on June 13, 2008

A coworker once sang Cowtown by They Might be Giants while he fixed his lunch, brightening up my life considerably.

Also seconding any and all ELO.
posted by boy detective at 7:08 AM on June 13, 2008

Every now and then I fall apart... and I need you now tonight...

I fucking need you more.... THAN EVER!
posted by utsutsu at 7:16 AM on June 13, 2008

Oh, please please go with The Internationale.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:26 AM on June 13, 2008

I'll start by saying that I love cheerful folks, and I love people who are being outwardly happy despite what others might think of them. But I have to say that singing coworkers are only fun when they're a surprise. It's the out-of-the-ordinary-ness that brings a smile. If your coworkers know you're going to be singing every morning, the fun factor will leach out and be replaced by disdain, annoyance, or dread. So I'd recommend limiting your singing to once a month, tops.

On that schedule, you should probably have enough songs from previous answers to last until your retirement, but... I think I'd smile at almost any classic TV theme song. The Brady Bunch comes to mind. Or anything with an obvious call-and-response dynamic where like-minded bystanders could pitch in. For instance, people seem to enjoy adding the "whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh" in the Weezer song "Undone (the sweater song)."
posted by vytae at 7:32 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Ini Kamoze - Here Comes the Hotstepper?
posted by Verdandi at 8:31 AM on June 13, 2008

You could always Rickroll.
posted by dreaming in stereo at 8:32 AM on June 13, 2008

Someone I worked with a long time ago was whistling "If I Only Had a Brain" at work one day, and I cracked up.
posted by 8dot3 at 8:42 AM on June 13, 2008

What song would bring a smile to your face if a fellow worker bee was singing it as you were going to work?

Doesn't matter, as long as they're singing it only on the inside of their head.
posted by desuetude at 8:51 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Funky Boss - Beastie Boys.
posted by rtha at 9:12 AM on June 13, 2008

If you're going to be singing, please do it while you're walking. It's much, much more amusing to hear a small snippet than to hear someone butcher a song multiple times a day. I'd laugh out loud if someone walked by singing, "I'm too sexy for my shirt...", but if I had to hear someone singing the whole song, it'd get old.
posted by explosion at 9:31 AM on June 13, 2008

I have my own music running through my head. Or I'm still rocking out to the song I heard in the car on the way to work. Either way, I need this song in my head, 'cause I work in a cubicle and can't listen to music most of the day. (For a number of reasons: because I need to be aware of my surroundings; because my old PowerMac G4 only has mono output to the headphone jack; because my headphones make my ears itch; because I'm sick of everything on my iPod and haven't had time to update it; because listening to music interferes with my ability to edit or interview...)

The idea of hearing a "cute" Disney song or anything "sugary sweet" or "infectious" in the parking lot or elevator makes me feel like punching someone. I'm with ctmf: I might get some amusement out of hearing a song like Parliament's "Liquid Sunshine," but at the same time, the idea of listening to someone mangle it in the elevator on my way to work makes me shudder.

No whistling, either. Get off my lawn elevator!
posted by limeonaire at 9:33 AM on June 13, 2008

Col. Bogey March from Bridge on the River Kwai.

Whistle this while walking to work and you'll have people joining in all over the place.
posted by lothar at 9:52 AM on June 13, 2008

"Come sail away! Come Sail away! Come sail away with meeeee!"

"Turnaround bright eyes, Every now and then I fall apart. And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever!"
posted by yeti at 9:58 AM on June 13, 2008

Sounds of Silence.
posted by ottereroticist at 10:39 AM on June 13, 2008

Proud Mary!
posted by crazycanuck at 10:44 AM on June 13, 2008

Ooh Child.
posted by dw at 11:11 AM on June 13, 2008

Earnest, joyful singing can be endearing and warming. Cutesy, goofball singing can be really aggravating.

Like, imagine you're on a bus and someone starts singing along to their headphones and it's like, I don't know, "Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones. I can't get no! No no no! A hey hey hey! It's fun to see people get into a moment like that. It humanizes them somewhat, a nice change from the walking ghosts we bus-riders tend to be.

Now, imagine you're on the bus and someone sings loud and clear, "Gray skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face!" and winks at you the whole way through. PUNCH

Be yourself at your most human and you may brighten people's days. Put on a show for people and you are imposing your own need for attention and people may respond politley but they will probably just find you annoying (see: this previous question).
posted by PercussivePaul at 11:12 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Lydia, the tattooed lady.

Bonus points if you have any co-workers named Lydia.
posted by jenkinsEar at 11:43 AM on June 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks for all the great answers. The funny thing is that I am the antithesis of a morning person, so I'm really trying to get myself in a better mood.

From the responses above I think I'll keep it as an unacted upon impulse and instead revert true to my nature: singing the Meow Mix theme because I know it'll get stuck in peoples' heads and drive them crazy all day. (Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow.)
posted by sfkiddo at 10:10 PM on June 13, 2008

59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)

This question reminds me of the scene in High Fidelity when Jack Black cranked (and interpreted) "Walking on Sunshine" by Katrina and the Waves.
posted by Jezebella at 9:53 PM on June 14, 2008

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