Pharrell Williams: Happy

Posted February 25, 2014 by in Funk



4/ 5


Label: ,
Format: ,
Time Length:
Genre: Soul, R&B, funk
Producer: Pharrell Williams
Writer: Pharrell Williams
Label: Back Lot Music, Columbia
Format: Digital download, streaming
Release Date: 21 November 2014


Rhythmic R&B, joyful vibes and nostalgic escapes documents Pharrell Williams' sunny anthem


Often feels a bit repetitive

Pharrell Williams has a lot to be “happy” about in new breakout hit

by J Matthew Cobb
Full Article

Pharrell Williams has a lot to be “happy” about in new breakout hit

Coated with a feelgood Motown funky vibe and a bit of Janelle Monáe’s “Tightrope” powder, Pharrell Williams‘ “Happy” does what it was meant to do. It was first introduced on the motion picture soundtrack to last summer’s animation-comedy Despicable Me 2. It became the first stand alone track from the hit producer/songwriter since appearing on some of 2013’s biggest hits (Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” and “Loose Yourself to Dance”). Although the song is relatively old when taking a gander at its shelf life, it took awhile for it to bubble up and make a sound impression on the conscious of American music buyers. And even with the genius campaign of promoting a day-long concept video on the website and possibly becoming the longest in history, very little traction was made on the charts.

Thanks to the power of re-issuing and a profound belief in the song, Williams is making news again as the single bolts its way to number two on the Hot 100. It’s a profound achievement and speaks of the song’s instant likability. Even if the song screams with nostalgia and feels a bit pale when compared with the best of summer surf anthems, “Happy” still feels like a breath of fresh air. Firstly, it feels like a gospel hymn without the deity worship. When Saadiq jumps into a hand-clapping no-music zone on the song’s bridge, he acts like a quartet singer led by the spirit (“Can’t nothing bring me down/My level’s too high to bring me down”). Instead of running away from bad news, he welcomes it his way. And that’s because he’s for certain that it won’t be a challenge for him since he’s aware that what’s on the inside is greater than any unstoppable force on the outside. Regardless if Williams is incorporating fast food scripture or he’s just a master of physics, the song’s lyrical content proves to be just as mighty than its groovy vibes. And that might be  the key reason behind all the momentum behind the the song’s success now. The sunshine of “Happy” seems to be the perfect reflector on the blues from this year’s historic frigid winter. But there’s no denying the power of the dance-y rhythms (perfectly illustrated in the concept video). Its unapologetic R&B, but it also sports delicious Rhodes piano action and a gospel-tinged sing-a-long chorus. At best it sounds like something that resembles a cooler version of Raphael Saadiq kicking out a slicker strut. Or Ray Charles “What’d I Say” done in the 21st century.

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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