First Hit #1: September 24, 1988
I appreciate Don’t Worry, Be Happy more the more I learn about it, but I still don’t particularly like it. I mean, it’s the first a cappella song to top the charts, that’s got to be worth something, right? And considering that McFerrin is doing with his voice it’s actually a really clever and full bodied arrangement. And yeah, the melody is infuriatingly catchy and the whole thing has a goofy positive message that it’s hard to hate.
Hard to hate, but not impossible to hate, and I hate this song. I don’t think it’s McFerrin’s fault really, but since I generally don’t like novelty songs – and this skirts right up to the border of novelty – and this was overplayed as much as possible in my youth I can’t help but wince every time I hear it. It’s a song that’s relatively simple – as complicated as it might have been to record, it’s not actually particularly varied over the running time – so it just doesn’t hold up to repeat listens, and when it’s pounded into your head as much as possible, that’s bad. I can’t imagine myself being a fan, I’m not big on reggae in general, but ubiquity has made the heart grow cold.