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Happiness Ltd. Explicit Lyrics

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Audio CD, Explicit Lyrics, September 11, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hot Hot Heat will release their third album for Sire Records on September 10th 2007, entitled "Happiness LTD." The album is the band's first since 2005's well-received Elevator, which spawned the Modern Rock radio hits "Middle of Nowhere" and "Goodnight Goodnight." Hot Hot Heat began writing new material in January 2005 the very day they launched a globe-trotting tour to support Elevator. "We wanted this record to be written on the road," says the band's co-founder and frontman Steve Bays, "partly so the influences would be more varied, but also so we could test out the songs live before we recorded them. We wrote music everywhere - Spain, Japan, Australia, the U.K. - so each song has a different mood." While "Happiness LTD" retains Hot Hot Heat's trademark playful melodies and witty wordplay, Bays says that what started out as a modest, live-sounding effort ending up being the band's most adventurous and experimental album yet. "It's difficult to describe its overall musical direction, but if I had to choose two adjectives I'd go with 'big' and 'aggressive,'" he says. "As a band, we got most excited about the over-the-top, epic-sounding songs, so we kept pushing the tracks that way. The album has its fair share of seedy club songs, but they are dirtier and darker." Lyrically, the album is about struggling to hold on to optimism and innocence in the wake of having your heart crushed. "It covers the journey from bliss to misery and the attempt to get back to bliss, while acknowledging how exciting the ride can be in between," Bays says. "There's an arc to the record as a whole; it almost comes across like a film, musically and lyrically." Hot Hot Heat's new album - the first with guitarist Luke Paquin, who joined the group after the departure of guitarist Dante DeCaro - was co-produced by the band, which also includes drummer Paul Hawley and bassist Dustin Hawthorne, and an array of top-notch producers including former Marvelous 3 frontman Butch Walker, legendary mixer Tim Palmer (U2, David Bowie, the Cure), and Rob Cavallo, known for his work with Green Day and My Chemical Romance amongst many others. "We were way more involved with the production on this record than ever before," Bays says, "so it made sense to work with certain people on certain songs." The forthcoming release boasts a host of wonderfully unique songs. According to Bays, "'Outta Heart' is the most non-Hot Hot Heat song we've ever done." The song features falsetto vocals, Theremin, a full orchestra, and "a gang of girls singing backup." Bays says the last song written for the album, "Harmonicas & Tambourines," has lots of tricks - like four drum kits at once - that make it more than just a dance song. "It's seedy and dark, but pretty," he says. "Like every album we've done, the new one feels drastically different than our previous ones," Bays says. "We put a lot of emphasis on surprise this time around. There are lots of twists and turns and unpredictable arrangements and instrumentation choices - yet somehow it maintains an overall timelessness."

The title song and opening track of Hot Hot Heat's third major-label album will throw some people for a loop. Abandoning the group's familiar new-wave stomp, "Happiness Ltd." is a tear-stained ballad with a philosophical kicker worthy of Morrissey: "Happiness is limited but misery has no end." Could it be that the members of the keyboard-fronted Canuck band are growing up and taking stock? Not really. It's just that most of the album was written after singer Steven Bays' split with a long-term girlfriend and it shows. The disco-rock jitters come back soon enough with the next selection, "Let Me In," but there's no denying that the group's horizons have broadened. For every throwback Cure sound-alike, such as "Give Up?," there's a lush retort featuring the Abbey Road Orchestra-like "Outta Heart." With a host of big-budget producers behind the boards--Butch Walker (Avril Lavigne, Pink), Tim Palmer (U2, David Bowie), and Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance)--it might not represent a complete about-face, but it does represent a band coming of age in a big way. Besides, how sweet would it be if Bays could send a picture of one of those platinum album thingies to the girl who broke his heart? --Aidin Vaziri

Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 11, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Explicit Lyrics
  • Label: Reprise / Wea
  • ASIN: B000PTYQ6U
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,713 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Schroeder on September 18, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Happiness Ltd. is the Canadian indie rock band's fourth full length album and it really shows how they have grown as musicians. The album retains the familiar Hot Hot Heat sound but expands it in new and exciting directions. The music is epic, the lyrics are catchy and meaningful, and the album has an energy that ties all the tracks together.

The album opens with its most epic and pleasantly over-the-top song, the title track, "Happiness Ltd.". It is followed by mostly up-tempo songs interspersed with a few well-placed and well-crafted ballads. "Outta Heart" and "So So Cold" are the best of these. As the album title suggests, most of the tracks explore the theme of happiness: how fleeting it can be, how important other people are to our happiness, and how hard life is without it. It appears to be a very personal album for lead singer Steve Bays. There are moments where his delivery of lyrics is so surprisingly perfect that he captures the emotion of the song in just a few words.

All in all this a fantastic album, fun and energetic, and comes with my highest recommendation. Hot Hot Heat has solidified its position as an important rock band.

Best Songs: Let Me In, 5 Times Out Of 100, Give Up?
For Fans Of: The Killers, Panic! At The Disco, OK Go
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim Brough VINE VOICE on September 25, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Hot Hot Heat must have gotten a cold cold shoulder in the love department; "Happiness is limited, but misery has no end," is how this once effervescent band of post-new wavers glumly kick off their fourth album. Make no mistake, the giddy percolating pop that threw Elevator off the rails has been broadened to include some serious downers. In addition to the title bummer, there's "A Good Day to Die," which couches a true Cure-depressant lyric atop a peppy melody, and the closing "Waiting For Nothing," has lead singer Steve Bays watching his ex-girlfriend walk off into the sunset as he whimpers "I waited for nothing, but I waited for her."

This is Hot Hot Heat going through growing pains. A far darker album than any of their prior efforts, anyone looking for the manic pop thrill of "Running Out Of Time" or "Bandages" might be taken aback. But if you let the album sink in, their are rewards to be found. The title track is pure Morrissey/Robert Smith vibes, and is one of their best. "Harmonicas and Tambourines" is a good song about misplaced aspirations and vicarious living. For those craving that keyboard driven rock that brought the band into the spotlight, there are the great "Let Me In," "5 Times Out of 100" and "Give Up?," all radio worthy zingers. (With "Let Me In" eager to give The Killers a run for the money.)

While they have yet to achieve an album that establishes greatness (ala the aforementioned Las Vegas guys and Sam's Town), there are moments that suggest "Happiness Ltd" was aching to grasp it. If the fifth album maybe stays with one producer (Butch Walker seems to frame the band best on the CD, Rob Cavallo a close second), Hot Hot Heat may yet catch commercial fire. Recommended.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David Skeele on October 31, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I tried with this album--oh, how I tried. I was one of those who declared "Elevator" an absolute masterpiece, and argued with people who tried to claim HHH were losing their edge and headed down a slippery slope to VH-1 land. Well, I STILL think "Elevator" was a brilliant album, but its detractors were right, too, apparently, because there is barely a trace of "edge" left on this mushy, bland collection of forgettable pop tunes. There's really only only one song worth repeated listenings, in my opinion, and that's the rousing, punchy "Five Times Out of a Hundred." After two years of production, filled with breathless announcements from the band that made it sound as though the second coming of "Sergeant Pepper's" was on the way, this dreck feels like a betrayal. Why, then, even give it two stars? Because it still features the magnificent Steve Bays on vocals. Whatever blame he shares for the lackluster songwriting, his tortured yelping is still balm for the soul.
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By Mark Twain on January 25, 2009
Format: Audio CD
I don't think anyone saw this coming. The Canadian indie-punk rockers' third album proved to not only be their most mature, but also their most depressing. I was shocked to read the tracklist, expecting this to be a happy, upbeat album (hence the title) like most of their other work. But seeing song titles like "Good Day To Die" and "Waiting For Nothing" proved me wrong. Even the opening title track was a downer, with the lyrics "happiness is limited, but misery has no end." To be honest, I was quite disappointed with both of HHH's previous albums and when I heard about this one, I had absolutely no intention of buying it. I was even less enthused about it when my friend gave me his copy because he hated it. It took me a few listens but it really grew on me. As always, the keyboards and guitars sound great. Also, the use of percussion throughout the album is terrific, and Steve Bays manages to display his incredible talent for song writing without sounding arrogant. So if you've given up on Hot Hot Heat or you've never really payed any attention to them, you might want to check this album out. Don't let the bad reviews scare you, you'll most likely be delightfully surprised.

Note: This is not "emo" music. Have you ever heard of a breakup album? Can a band write a sad song thee days without being called "emo?" Come on.
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