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Rocker-turned-author Mark Mallman talks about the most reliable feel-good entries from the 50-song playlist featured in his new book.

1. “Friendship,” Pops Staples
“Pops’ voice is soothing on its own. And then to have someone like him — this man who experienced so much in his long life and brought so much joy to people — telling you you’re a good friend, and your friendship is important, your body will literally react to that.”

2. “Good as Hell,” Lizzo
“I’ve been lucky enough to have had interactions with her personally that were joyful and positive. And as someone who’s been a songwriter most of my life, I react to that as just an exquisite, perfectly constructed song. The message in it works, too. It’s about empowerment.”

3. “O-o-h Child,” the Five Stairsteps
“When you put that song on and hear them gently telling you things are going to get easier, you can believe it — and you should. Things almost always do get better whenever you feel they couldn’t get any worse.”

4. “Potato Chips,” Slim Gaillard
“Take ‘Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah’ or any song like that with made-up words; nonsense like that frees us from any concept or meaning. That seems counterintuitive to the mission here, because there’s no meaning, but it’s not. That song just makes me smile and laugh, and sometimes that’s all you need.”

5. “I’ll Take You There,” the Staple Singers
“It’s really like a guided meditation. It tells you there is a place; a place where ain’t nobody crying. For me, that place might be walking around Lake Nokomis with the sun setting and the ducks landing on that glassy, colorful water. Whatever it is for you, this song can put you in that place.”