Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Pharrell Williams – Happy

If you’re happy and you know it…


Katherine St Asaph: Like everything else Pharrell has released this year: ebullient, effortless in the best and worst ways, might usher in (no pun, that was 2012) a lousy trend, would be 100x better if the vocalist weren’t Pharrell.

Alfred Soto: Looks like this dude listened to Raphael Saadiq and concocted his own vocal band pastiche. Pharrell’s vocals are only the first problem: that’s expected. The decision to loop this as a continuous chorus creates unnecessary tension for a track this innocuous.

Anthony Easton: Williams does ecstasy quite well, he is a master at the joy of orgasm, and he can do the dancefloor breakdown. But something so simple and so lively, just a perfect example of clever but not dark, a light breeze of pure pleasure: that might be something new. You can safely ignore that it’s a kiss off song.   

David Turner: How many paintings must Pharrell have in his closet? Of course Pharrell is happy, mirrors and microphones weep when he leave their presence. He doesn’t age a day, he’s had one of the most successful years of his ridiculously successful career, yet no one asks of the murders he’s has committed. People are quick to throw out “crazy” and “rant” related to anything Kanye West says, but Pharrell’s hands are stained with blood and far too many cases remain unsolved.

Daniel Montesinos-Donaghy: Back in August, an episode of Complex’s Combat Jack Show quietly appeared online with guest Busta Rhymes. Whilst discussing albums he wishes he had made, he alluded to an unreleased ten-track Pharrell album, calling it “a documentary album.” The sheer thought makes the Pharrell stan salivate, as it continues in a line of documentation he’s been recently partaking in, from his coffee table interviewing-inspirations tome to the twenty-four hour music video for “Happy” that spans across various different subsets of Los Angelenos. Williams’ humanist soul-guru phase is at its current commercial peak, and “Happy” sounds like a neat distillation of what the artist is aesthetically about. Its digital precision and organic warmth, the off-the-cuff joy and hints of melancholy – these also thrillingly point to Williams’ future, hopefully that album Busta’s talking about.

Patrick St. Michel: The summer of smooth made way for the fall of our Lorde a couple months ago, but the start of December seems like a good enough time to declare “Happy” the best retro-leaning song to come out during that season. Nobody noticed it because it was released on the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack back in June…I didn’t hear it for the first time until two weeks ago, in the middle of a DJ set, my hands quickly grabbing my phone to try to figure out what I was hearing. It’s simple and sunny, the kids-movie-tie-in nature of “Happy” also resulting in straightforward but upbeat words that would have been a welcome relief from “Blurred Lines” and is sweeter than the sorta-dumb “Get Lucky”. THIS should be the song played at the weddings, BBQs and between-innings of the next five years.

Scott Mildenhall: Celebrate good times, come on! You are having so much fun. You’re walking on sunshine. You are! You are. Tonight’s gonna be a good, good night, because when the working day is done, girls just want to have fun. Say boom boom boom, now let me hear you say “way-o”. Come on, it’s a beautiful day, don’t let it get away. Bet you’ll be party rocking in the house tonight – you love a party with a happy atmosphere, sure you do. Don’t you? Why aren’t you having fun!?

Will Adams: A limp groove and a mediocre chorus repeated ad nauseam won’t help “Happy” become the decade’s “Hey Ya!” it so badly wants to be.

Crystal Leww: Making songs that bring people joy is hard. I’m 100% here for #posivibez2k13.

Mallory O’Donnell: You’ve really got to hand it to Pharrell. When the rest of the made men in the hip-hop universe are busy snorting Molly, cutting banal hip-house tracks and drowning in alcohol, he’s wondering what would happen if Stevie Wonder jammed out with the Free Design. Whether it’s successful or not hardly matters. Whether you call it “branding” or “genius” hardly matters. His schtick never eclipses his originality. And that, my friends, fucking matters.

Brad Shoup: Minute 1: I remember this from the film. Sun-flecked, Mediterranean placidity. Minute 26: the hi-hat/kick/organ intro finally puts me in a mind to hear “Blurred Lines” again. Nothing has done that before. The barista takes out a trash bag; I mime for two more cups. Hour 7: At what point did Pharrell’s production style slide into signatureless mastery? “Give It 2 Me” had that bell-ringing figure. “Fresh Out the Oven”? His solo shit? The coffee shop’s out of Red Bulls. Hour 22: I hope Cat did well on her exams. Her truck broke down; I’m pretty sure she handled that situation. Do I hear a note of existential unease in the backing vocals? Day 3: No. Day 15: Remember “Hot Sauce to Go”? I’m not sure that I can. Year 11: The coffee shop has closed; my laptop was auctioned off in the sale. “Happy” has written itself on my superior temporal cortex though, so it’s all good. Year 43: The asphalt is pocked with evidence of drone strikes and counterstrikes. Bands of people flee to the south and spit as they walk by. They speak a language I do not understand. I can barely hear the organ. Year 79: The sun has forgotten to set, yet the air is slightly chilled all the time. I have forgotten all motions save clapping. It’s a motion I enjoy, though. If only there were a way to describe this feeling.

Reader average: [7.42] (7 votes)

Vote: 0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10

9 Responses to “Pharrell Williams – Happy”

  1. It’s been number 1-4 in the Dutch charts since October- I guess they paid more attention to the Despicable Me soundtrack?

  2. david could you please elaborate

  3. Sorry for the “Picture of Dorian Gray” references that are really dumb!

  4. nope

    loved it

  5. BRAD. love it

  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dyihQtBes1I

  7. thanks, Rebecca! i’m in my mcsweeney’s phase

  8. Pharrell’s songs remind me of other songs. Get happy reminds me of The Miracle’s, Going to a go go and Get Lucky reminds me of Michael Jackson’s You wanna be starting something.

  9. Effortless hook, but too effortless? It’s like someone let all the tension out of Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope”.