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Normal Happiness

Robert PollardAudio CD
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Price: $14.52 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 16 Songs, 2006 $8.99  
Audio CD, 2006 $14.52  
Vinyl, 2006 $14.27  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Accidental Texas Who 1:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Whispering Whip 1:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Supernatural Car Lover 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Boxing About 2:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Serious Bird Woman 2:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Get a Face Full 2:01$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Towers and Landslides 2:03$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. I Feel Gone Again 1:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Gasoline Ragtime 1:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Rhoda Rhoda 1:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Give Up the Grape 1:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Pegasus Glue Factory 3:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Top of My Game 2:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Tomorrow Will Not Be Another Day 1:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Join the Eagles 2:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Full Sun (Dig the Slowness) 2:33$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Frequently Bought Together

Normal Happiness + From a Compound Eye
Price for both: $30.95

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 10, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2006
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Merge Records
  • ASIN: B000I2IRRS
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,427 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

This just in: There can be no greater perpetual tune maker in music--indie rock or otherwise--than Robert Pollard. His second full-length solo record in 2006 is bursting with the obscure lyrics, eccentric song titles, and massive hooks that kept his now-defunct band Guided by Voices erect. While the fragmentary production elements are missing, the "hi-fi" conclusion is 16 tidy songs that swing between good-natured ("Rhoda Rhoda"), somber ("Give Up the Grape"), exposed ("I Feel Gone Again"), and categorically bizarre ("Pegasus Glue Factory"). Pollard recalls the works of legendary lovers Hank Williams and Robert Johnson in "Serious Bird Woman (You Turn Me On)" and initiates his initial swamp-rock raid in "Supernatural Car Lover," in which he references God, poverty, and jump shots in questioning man's contentment. Despite his eternal teenage outlook (and beer-chugging existence), Pollard is shrewd enough to follow his own Rock Star 101 handbook. And that means writing songs at all times of the day, and releasing them any time of the year. --Scott Holter

Product Description

The second release from ex-Guided By Voices member inside a calendar year. Pollard has assembled a tour de force that will single-handedly re-establish the 2-minute pop song as one of the truly American art forms of this new century. Sixteen songs in just over 35 minutes, with brilliant melodies that'll be stuck in your head for days.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pollard's most consistent offering December 26, 2006
Format:Audio CD
I was initially disappointed my first couple of listens through this CD. But, I kept coming back to it because of "Boxing About" and 'Pegasus Glue Factory." Now, I can't stop listening. Just a wonderful set of tunes! Give it some time and perhaps you, too, will find this to be most satisfying!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Subtly impressive November 6, 2006
Format:Audio CD
This album full of "pop songs" has precious few recognizable choruses and one of Bob's most understated vocal performances on record. What it does have is a meandering, complex style that is as likely to baffle as to entertain. Underneath the whirl of bizarre chord changes there are some really great songs.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Normal Happiness October 11, 2006
By D Mack
Format:Audio CD
The second release in a calender year, and it's better than the first! If you are a newcomer to Robert Pollard, I'd suggest this or Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department. Also out there from Merge/Luna is Moon. Live from mostly FaCE, it is probably the best live cd ever.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get A Faceful! October 17, 2006
Format:Audio CD
This and "From A Compound Eye" clearly represent a new beginning for Mr. Pollard. The end of Guided By Voices was not merely symbolic and this is definitely not just "more of the same." Pollard has finally integrated his pop and prog impulses into a cohesive new approach, and the results sound simply incredible! By prog, I only mean more complex song structures, but somehow his incredible pop sense and interesting lyrics always redeem the songs before they can become just complexity for it's own sake. The songs take many twists and turns but there's always a memorable chorus in there. Best songs? "Towers and Landslides", "Give Up the Grape", "Rhoda Rhoda", "Get A Faceful" and several others. I'll even go out on a limb and say that these first two are among the best songs he's ever written. Lyrics are strong as always, and somehow seem to be simultaneously more abstract and topical than normal. For instance, the strangely titled "Pegasus Glue Factory" contains the line "his doomed ship apocalypse dissolved in his hands; of twenty thousand rivers of oil slicks and blood" which can easily be deciphered in light of an earlier line, "I hide myself in dream from Howdy Doody's terrorist regime"! Not making any political statements here, just saying there are some deeper messages (as always) lurking beneath the surface.

As an overall listening experience, I think this is the best Pollard release since "Speak Kindly of Your Volunteer Fire Dept." If you're not a super fan, you may not agree with all of this praise and the five star rating, but I honestly think this is one of the best albums Pollard has ever assembled. The last one was great, but this is even better!
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars time for a mid-life crisis October 16, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Armed with a back catalog of almost numbing scope, Pollard continues to churn out songs as if his life depended on it. Though not as immediately gripping as this spring's From A Compound Eye, Normal Happiness has its share of great tunes like "Supernatural Car Lover." Unfortunately, the album doesn't seem to really hit its stride until the outro of the last track.

Though there has been a slow shift from scratchy lo-fi to hi-fi guitar heroics, when considered in microcosm Pollard's work could benefit from a more varied approach. On its own, Normal Happiness stands up quite well as a rock album. When considered alongside Pollard's umpteen other solo albums, Guided By Voices albums, and the Fading Captain series however, Normal Happiness blurs and disappears. Even longtime fans will find themselves not caring anymore what he is saying, as his "cryptic" lyricism has long since lost its novelty on all but the uninitiated. If you like Robert Pollard, get this album safe in the knowledge of what you're getting -- more of the same. For all its strengths, it is a bit of a letdown though: because they are the exact same strengths displayed on all his recordings. This unfortunately reduces Normal Happiness to facile water-treading for Pollard.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The best '70s rock never made...... June 4, 2011
Format:Audio CD
Being a HUGE Guided By Voices/Robert Pollard fan, I had read in an interview in 2005 that he had two albums in the can at that point : From A Compound Eye and Normal Happiness, which he called his poppy album. Well, I immediately got it when it came out, and like a lot of GBV fans say about a lot of his stuff, I was initally perplexed/disappointed. This wasn't the Hollies or whatever the hell I was expecting! I shelved it and went back to Under The Bushes Under The Stars and other trusty melodic rock gems.

Well, it took a little while, but the 'ol Bob Boomerang Theory happened. It came back and hit me upside the head, and now I would easily call this one of my Top 5 Robert Pollard solo works. It does seem to run out of gas near the end, but the first 2/3 of the album is killer. Love the 'real' reel to reel sound, and the arrangements which at first seemed willfully weird and impenetratable have rooted themselves in my brain. ESPECIALLY "Get A Faceful", which is just transcendent and full of purpose. There's a lot of diversity in this one (acoustic & electric songs), and he's not just being perverse (which he CAN be guilty of sometimes) - it does finally click. It's just full of melody and character. Love the whole sound/feel of "Boxing About", with the keyboards coloring in the sky. Todd Tobias is just a bad a## with the soundscapes - he adds that extra dimension that Bob might not have thought of.

Absolutely worth getting, in my opinion. I would have given it 5 stars, but there's a few songs near the end that are not essential. I got it on vinyl too, which I only do if I love an album. So there you go.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes Me Happy!
I admit I am an uber-fan, but this album really deserves a high rating. I wonder if the people who gave this a one or two star rating gave this disc enough of a chance. Read more
Published on July 31, 2007 by Dan Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars bet you on my grandma's grave it's good
I just ordered this album (yes, i call cds albums). Havent heard it yet...But, as my title states, i bet the house (no, my grandma wasn't hefty) that it super groovy... Read more
Published on February 2, 2007 by The Easy Reader
1.0 out of 5 stars Normal Happiness makes EMO look brilliant
I rarely do write up reviews on Amazon and I felt it was my obligation to tell anyone who happens to read this review to tell them that this cd is lousy. Read more
Published on January 5, 2007 by Morris's Codex
1.0 out of 5 stars Uninspired
I've been a monster fan of Bob's since the early 1990s and have long been one of Bob's biggest apologists, but I have been struggling since GbV's return to Matador a few years ago... Read more
Published on October 26, 2006 by Bill
2.0 out of 5 stars The Fading Captain is Fading?
It's a very depressing moment when one of your musical heroes turns in a poor album, but if I'm honest with myself I'd have to admit that it is only inertia that has kept me buying... Read more
Published on October 19, 2006 by Andrew Lightfoot
2.0 out of 5 stars Captain Is Dead
Critics have been saying Bob has been treading water for years, and now I too am ready to get off the Pollard train at the next station. Read more
Published on October 18, 2006 by whoopycat
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