Friday, August 17th, 2018

Zedd & Elley Duhé – Happy Now

Could you look me in the eye…


Thomas Inskeep: Elley Duhé has nowhere near the vocal presence of Maren Morris, and “Happy Now” is back to Zedd’s EDM/pop paint-by-numbers approach, best (and clearly) suited for EDC singalongs. Which is all to say that this is no “The Middle”; this is more like (sorry) the bottom.

Will Adams: More proof that Zedd should hire Grey full-time to create new singles: on his own, he thinks that a lone minor seventh chord randomly tucked into the second verse is exciting, and that “Clarity” without the drops is a good idea.

Iain Mew: One more “Only You” or “Lonely Together,” bumped clumsily up against the slow-mo riff of Daughter’s “Youth.” The best bit was mishearing one of its oddest lines as “only you know the strength of your tea” with a weight rarely given to such preferences. 

Stephen Eisermann: Zedd has a knack for choosing the right vocalists for his projects, and on “Happy Now,” Elley was absolutely the right choice. There’s a youthful energy that emanates off her warm vocals and lifts the otherwise lackluster chorus, but it really shines when Elley goes toe to toe with the verses.

Claire Biddles: Cute but dull, “Happy Now” aims for bittersweet late-summer regret but has none of the specifics to make it soar.

Will Rivitz: Of the oodles of DJs trying to transition from pop as defined by obnoxious house to pop as defined in the wake of the Chainsmokers, only Zedd has managed to sound good consistently. Maybe his stripe of house happened to be more melodic than his counterparts, maybe he’s just a better musician, but “Happy Now” at least offers evidence of his dominance if not an explanation. The transition from guitar to plucks is effortless, as is the vocodered chorus, clashing with the morosity of the lyrics in the way of the best #sadbangers around. Mellowed-out dance music for an idealized party is a good thing. 

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