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Happy Songs for Happy People Enhanced

4.2 out of 5 stars 50 customer reviews

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Happy Songs for Happy People
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Audio CD, Enhanced, June 17, 2003
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Editorial Reviews

Adventurous Scot rockers Mogwai may never shake reputation for creating brutal music, but Happy Songs for Happy People demonstrates that they can do more than render the aural equivalent of being sucked out a spaceship airlock. Until now, Stuart Braithwaite had taken on the role of Mogwai's bandleader by proxy, his tumultuous guitar playing serving as the outfit's hallmark. Now, however, multi-instrumentalist Barry Burns has stepped to the fore--albeit, with much more restraint--crooning effects-heavy vocals on "Hunted By a Freak" and teasing out a meditative piano line on the ghostly "I Know You Are But What Am I?" Indeed, more than any other Mogwai work, this album aims to create sheer bliss. Even the amp-busting crescendo of "Ratts of the Capital" matches its dark-metal pomp with chiming orchestra bells and starburst lead-guitar lines. No sudden banjo interludes or guest vocals jar with the album's slow passage toward its conclusion. True, it's hard to shake the feeling that they'll never again write something as monumental as Come On Die Young. But Mogwai still sound lush and powerful. Their time hasn't passed. --Louis Pattison
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 17, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: 2000
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: Matador Records
  • ASIN: B00009ATKS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,167 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
"Happy Music For Happy People" is perhaps a new dawn for Mogwai. Having almost completely abandoned their once trade mark slow creep to raging cacophany style, Mogwai opt for a 'wall of sound' steam-roller of guitars, drums and various other 'noise' producing instruments. First seeping into the listeners mind, then enveloping them in an almost narcotic haze, "Happy Music For Happy People" seeks to be the most seductive 'downer' album of all time.
The 'emotion' of this album is similar to that of Radiohead's masterpiece of inertiatic melancholy "Ok Computer". As the opening track "Hunted By A Freak" suggests there is a hint of paranoia in Mogwai's tunes these days. Infact it is best to think of "Happy Music For Happy People" as an entity or person with whom you are experiencing the world around. The early paranoia gives way to an insignificance as the album progresses, and if you close your eyes you can almost envision yourself walking through the streets of a town, the noise of life muted by sheets of rain, and the colours dimmed in a pervading mist of grey. Your destination is of no importance, rather the journey is thought provoking, no epiphanys, but an overwhelming sense of awareness of life. The music is awash in guitars that drizzle, snippets of vocals the flow like water down a drain, and they steady background plod of drums.
You are not going to play "Happy Music For Happy People" at a party, or as something to get the blood pumping too, well not unless you wish to sonically wither all listeners into a near catatonic state. This is music for headphones, an album to submerge yourself in when you are in an introspective mood wishing to be left in solitude.
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Format: Audio CD
Truth be told, I was getting a bit tired of radio hits and songs with singing. Not that I hate them, it's just a lot of them sounded alike: Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, end. After getting into Sigur Ros, I started to get more into this so-called "post rock" explosion and found my way to Mogwai. Well, this is what you call "headphone music", something where you can just put it on and let it envelop you as you close your eyes.
Hunted by a Freak: You know those moments in songs where you just wanna listen to that song again SOLELY to listen to that one part? This has it. It starts out nice and quiet with arpeggioed electric guitar then it kicks into a haunting vocal chorus. That part you ask? 2:49-3:27. Especially when they repeat that chorus for the 2nd time. Amazing stuff. 12/10
Moses I Ain't: Soft plaintive keyboard intro then is joined by a cello(?), and continues for 3 minutes. It's not really much of a song, really. 7.5/10
Kids Will be Skeletons: Neat little harmonic intro with subtle strings then a 2nd guitar comes in. Another relaxing song with a slow building crescendo 9/10
Killing all the Flies - Another relaxing intro with 2 guitars going on at once doing different lines, then this strange vocal comes in the background which changes another haunting vocals.(Get used to these, there's plenty of them here) which builds to a huge finale then quiets down. How's that for dynamics? 8.5/10
Boring Machines Disturb Sleep - Strange sci-fi like sounds open this song with low mixed vocals(whoa!). Kind of like Robot Chant or O I Sleep extended a couple minutes 8/10
Ratts of the Capital - Longest song on album. Very faint guitar riff then the drums and bass join in for a slow build up until a rather gorgeous little section. Lots of tempo changes.
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Format: Audio CD
As I descend further and further into the bottomless hole that is music, I continue to unearth new and exciting artists the likes of which I could have never imagined existed. Mogawi is one of my finest discoveries yet, an amazing band that have the rare ability to craft beautiful songs that sound fresh and stimulate happiness.
Happy Songs for Happy People is my introduction to Mogwai, and what a first impression it has made upon me. For weeks I have stayed up late nights listening to this CD, totally entranced by its beauty. Happy Songs is a beautiful some what instrumental post-rock album with a very mellow and relaxed feel. melodies and guitar float in the air while solid percussion and string arrangments keep things grounded while exploring new heights at the same time. Listening to this album feels like cool autumn nights, my best dreams, and butterflies in my stomach all in one.
As cliche as it sounds, I can't describe the album in words, nor can I describe its beauty. See other reviews for detailed descriptions of Mogwais sound or songs on this album. I can't say any more than that this is a beautiful album, but that's really all that needs to be said.
Review in a nutshell: Happy Songs for Happy People is a lush, full musical experience that I can not get enough of.
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Format: Audio CD
Scottish experimental rock band, Mogwai, have been releasing albums in 1997, all to acclaim in indie rock, but their latest release, the sarcastically titled Happy Songs for Happy People, is getting the band attention from the mainstream press. The music on this album is brooding and striking, and the band is often associated with the Icelandic quarter, Sigur Ros. Yet, Mogwai's use of more conventional guitar playing, even including distortion in some of their songs, separates the two bands from imitating each other. Mogwai's guitar riffs are beautiful arpeggios, with almost unintelligible, garbled vocals in the background. Unlike Sigur Ros, Mogwai's albums are not layered in mystique. The titles are in English, yet their songs have bizarre and somewhat silly titles like "Killing All the Flies," "Kids Will Be Skeletons," and "I Know You Are But What Am I?" The music itself contradicts the titles themselves, since the guitars sound bittersweet and restrained, especially when accompanied by a synthesizer or a piano. Its intensity is visible on the first listen, except it is more subtle and beautiful than it is flagrant or aggressive. Some of the songs even border on unsettling, such as "Moses? I Amn't." It contains a droning synth bass that is haunting beyond belief, and the eeriness of the song intensifies tenfold when the string section (mostly consisting of a lone cello) enters. Happy Songs For Happy People is a fully consistent album, which defies the limited boundaries of rock music, and even "experimental" rock. Its magnificence is not compromised for inaccessible dissonance or for mainstream exploitation. Even at its heaviest, which is the final track "Stop Coming to my House," Happy Songs For Happy People remains sincere but arcane, relaxing yet overly stimulating, brief but lasting. Listening to this album is a "happy" experience, even at its most emotional.
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