Joy to the world! For today, Disney-Pixar’s animated feature, Inside Out, sees its wide theatrical release. The new flick introduces us to the five effervescent emotions tasked with managing the control room of our sympathetic nervous systems: Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness. But while watching these five personified feelings butt heads inside the mind of their impressionable, 11-year-old host, Riley, we couldn’t help drawing a few parallels between their workplace dynamics and our own. After all, who’s office doesn’t have a designated Anger-esque grump or a Sadness-like buzzkill?
Just as the five emotions must cooperate to determine the best course of action for Riley, we imagine the same goes for the control room’s sound system. If the emotions were to make a playlist, it would be a disjointed hodgepodge of genres, styles, and moods. Like most playlists reached through compromise, we begrudgingly sit through hours of our friends varying tastes for the brief, exquisite oases of our own inclusions.
What would each emotion add to this collective playlist? Tracks either explicitly regarding, inspiring, or alleviating their given emotion, right? Needless to say, this playlist is going to be pretty on-the-nose thematically and very mood-swingy.
We kick things off with Joy’s overly saccharine ear-worms, like Katrina & the Wave’s “Walking on Sunshine”, Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out”, and Pharrell’s “Happy” (sure, it’s from another animated film, but it still fits the bill). We threw in Bright Eyes’ “Road to Joy” in place of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” just to keep it contemporary.
Next up is Sadness, who would surely ease her troubled mind with Lykke Li’s “Sadness is a Blessing”, R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts, and the smooth melancholy of Etta James’ “Stormy Weather”. And while her counterpart, Joy, may not particularly enjoy Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”, Sadness could surely empathize with it’s dour outlook.
If you have children in the room, maybe skip the tracks we chose for Anger. Selections from Metallica, OFF!, Alice In Chains and Limp Bizkit make the cut. If you are upset about any of those, well, then we I guess we have accomplished our task.
Meanwhile, we could see Disgust and Anger finding common ground in “Everything Sux” by Descendents. Disgust would also throw Jimmy Fallon & will.i.am’s “Ew!”, Janet Jackson’s “Nasty”, and Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” into the mix.
Fear’s frightful playlist jumps between unsettling and comforting. Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” kicks things off, followed by The National’s “Afraid of Everyone”, Delta Rae’s “Scared”, Alabama Shake’s “Don’t Wanna Fight”, and finally the reassurance of Sam Smith’s “Safe With Me”.
Taking a note from Pixar, we conclude with Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion”. Give our playlist a listen on Spotify, and let us know what songs you would include in the comments below!