Song of the Year#11: Happiness is Just Around the Corner

Now, for your dose of tween power pop… circa 1966.

“Happiness Is Just Around The Corner” by Lesley Gore (1966, unreleased at the time).

There are many elements of oddity of the optimism in this Lesley Gore number.

1) By the time this song was recorded, Lesley Gore was no longer a teen, in fact she was 20. So a debate rages in my mind whether it was held back from release because it wasn’t “adult” enough for a now “adult” Lesley Gore. It’s very much a less sacchrine follow up to “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” (and gawd that song makes me giggle typing the title alone).

2) It has a straightforward, undaunted optimism about it that while, seeming determined, seems a bit blind to the realities of well, as an adult, not automatically scoring, which, thematically as America’s preferred petulant teen of Pop from 1963-65, Lesley’s records (well those released as singles… there’s a lot of uptown soul sad hauteur to a brace of her album tracks to make Dionne Warwick proud) would have been more.. well, adult.

…but before I tear to shreds a song I actually like.

It’s nice to believe that there is “happiness around a corner” and I think that’s the instinctual appeal to this song ( I first got hip to this song before the more realistic song at #10 came to my knowledge) that everything will go smoothly, especially after years of tumult (given anyone’s cursory knowledge of Lesley Gore’s career, we know she had shit to deal with at her own birthday party… then issues with being dominated by her boyfriend…Hi “It’s My Party” and “You Don’t Own Me”).

So it’s totally cool to pick up your hairbrush and sing along and truly believe Happiness is just around the corner.



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