More than almost anything else in the world, music makes me happy. There’s a certain indescribable rush that my favorite songs give me, and it can’t really be quantified. I don’t need a song to tell me to be happy. If it’s good enough, that thrill will come automatically. With that said, I certainly don’t begrudge any music for attempting to bring some light into the world. Taeyeon in particular deserves all the optimism and brightness that music can give. She’s been through a lot, which makes Happy an integral part of her artistic story. However, the song itself does not inspire the kind of unbridled joy I wish it did.
Instead, Happy is the kind of forgettable mid-tempo that Korean charts seem to love. Its plodding nature feels antithetical to the song’s subject matter. Repeating the word “happy” during the chorus isn’t enough to rouse spirits. The production and arrangement must do their fair share of heavy lifting as well, and Happy’s plonky, unadventurous approach is more apathetic than cheerful.
Thankfully, the producers have a few tricks up their sleeve. I like the brassy undertones to the instrumental, and there are some nice backing vocals that give the track a real throwback appeal. Sadly, the chorus upends much of this potential by reverting to trap percussion and a genuinely unadventurous spirit. It feels as if Happy wants to fully embrace and develop its doo-wop influences, but instead plays things right down the middle. This results in a track that won’t likely offend, but won’t inspire either. I would have rather heard Taeyeon go full Motown with this, upping the energy with a livelier instrumental and more daring vocal arrangement. That’s the stuff of true musical happiness.
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So now Taeyeon comes out with the expected cute summer song with retro vibe. They all do one at some point. Mariah Carey “Always be my baby”, Madonna “Cherish”.
At least this one is in 6/8 time. It’s cute. She looks cute. That is all this song has got.
My go-to song named “Happy” is the Marina and the Diamonds “Happy”. Happy, it is not, mostly.
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I lowkey love Marina for making, in the same album, two songs. One called Happy, that sounds really sad and one called “Blue” that sounds super fun.
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Marina and the Diamonds… now there’s a blast from the past! I was really into The Family Jewels album back in 2010 but haven’t really followed up with her since.
If you intend to play catch-up, I’d recommend pretending FROOT was her last album. Things… haven’t looked great ever since.
FROOT. I played that one a lot back when.
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There was a sidebar discussion a few posts ago about the scoring system. I would argue this song, although it sounds fine and pleasant, could possibly get a 6 for production. The main reason is that the producer took good material that could be better and deliberately made is all milquetoast meh. Taeyeon could have sung the shit out of this song, but instead gives a too restrained performance – that is the producer’s choice not Taeyeon’s.
Think of what JYP woulda coulda shoulda do with this material. Or even within SM, what Red Velvet coulda shoulda woulda do with this song.
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It was fine. Feel-good music with indie sentiment and all. I thought taeyeon more restrained performance helps it a little bit too.
I’ll admit I was quite surprised with how this song turned out with the title of “Happy”. Though, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that happiness doesn’t have to be an insistent exclamation of high energy and mile wide smiles. To me, the type of happiness here is the warmth that fills you up and makes you content with life in the best way.
TL; DR while it would’ve been amazing for Taeyeon to throw down a bombastic high energy song that would leave everyone quite shook, I can see why she would take I suppose a more “mature” approach for her birthday release.
Note: just imagine Taeyeon showing up Twice’s Happy Happy lol
“Happy” is still good song and Taeyeon now prefer sing bright song rather than balada/emotional song