Single Review: Sister Hazel “Happy”

Happy
Album:…somewhere more familiar
Year: 1997

Ken Block has a pleasant attitude but his family expects more from him in the puzzling “Happy.”

Rigid guitars open the single. He likes to people watch. He looks to see if they are actually enjoying life or plodding through it. Someone in his life asks a vague question: if Block would rather have his attitude a certain way. But without any specifics, the question does not have its intended effect. Block protests it. However, his friend is joking and laughing, which is how Block would prefer to live his life. (“I remember watchin’/All the once upon a times/Remember thinkin’/Who’s content and who’s for rent/And you said don’t you want to be like that man!?/
Oh No–No–No!/But then he cracks that smile/And that don’t look so bad to me.”)

In the chorus, he says he’s a peppy person. But there’s people in his life who expect him not to have a bad day at all. (“Happy–I’m Happy/But that ain’t good enough for you/Happy–I’m Happy.”)

People have preconceived notions of how he should act and be. However, he wants to be himself and not what people imagine him to be. The last section of the verse becomes the pre-chorus. But it doesn’t fit into the context of it. Instead, it feels tacked on. (“I remember thinkin’/
How they thought that we should be/Remember feelin’/That might be you but that ain’t me/
And you said don’t you want to be like that man!?/Oh No–No–No!/But then he cracks a smile/And that don’t look so bad to me.”)

The chorus is sung twice.

In the bridge, he lists the things which make him enjoy life. However, he comes across a beauty pageant contestant wishing for world peace. Each one is either calculated, stupid or both.

Let’s the play the Dusk411 “This Bridge Is Weaker Than Michael Jackson’s Face” game. Question 1: He likes the suns that rise in the morning. Answer 1: Stupid. Since when are there two suns which rise in the morning? Question 2: hearing the sigh from a young girl. Answer 1: Stupid. Admitting to eavesdropping an underage girl’s sigh is inappoririate and incredibly creepy. Question 3: the sound of a baby’s cry. Answer: Calculated. He’s trying to be the super sensitive rocker guy. Awww….how insincere. Question 4: He likes seeing the history through an old man’s eyes. Answer: Both. He doesn’t go into detail, which makes it odd behavior. I added the history since it seemed to be what he was aiming for. It’s calculated to convey how much he cares about the senior citizens’ of the world. (“the suns that rise/a young girl’s sighs/a baby cries/an old man eyes/the suns that rise/a young girl’s sighs/a baby cries/an old man eyes.”)

The first verse is sung again. The chorus is repeated twice.

The phony, hypocratical “Happy” says it’s the ideal people must attain. However, when people impose certain ideals on Block he rejects them. The us vs. them mentality regarding exactly what it means to be happy chips away the song’s message. The nonsensical lyrics lack detail and context.

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Single Review: Sister Hazel “All For You”

All For You
Album: …somewhere more familiar
Year: 1997

Ken Block discovers that his girlfriend is the most important person to him in the watery “All For You.”

A cutesy acoustic guitar starts the single, leading to an obnoxiously chipper riff. With earthy vocals, Block smarms that he understands love now. It took him years to realize that he has to not only receive love but give it, too. He had a breakthrough because of his attempts to become a better person. (“Finally I figured out/But it took a long, long time/But now there’s a turnabout/Maybe ’cause I’m trying.”)

In the pre-chorus, he says he didn’t know quite how relationships worked. But each and every time, his girlfriend has helped him out and been there. He can’t discount her loyalty. (“There’s been times, I’m so confused/All my roads, they lead to you/I just can’t turn and walk away.”)

He can’t put his finger on why he likes her so much. He’s curious if the relationship will be long-term or lead to marriage. However, he cares about her enough that he has her best interest at heart all the time. (“It’s hard to say what it is I see in you/Wonder if I’ll always be with you/But words can’t say, and I can’t do/Enough to prove/It’s all for you.”)

Block had gone through every dating situation and possible imaginable. He became jaded and scared of beign in another relationship. They had some bumps along the way. But he’s likely to think if something happens to end the relationship, it will be his fault. (“I thought I’d seen it all/’Cause it’s been a long, long time/But then we’ll trip and fall/Wondering if I’m blind.”)

In the bridge, he notices that her day has been terrible. She is able to communicate her emotions to him without saying a word. Then, the single starts all over again with the part of the first verse. (“Rain comes pouring down/Falling from blue skies/Words without a sound/Coming from your eyes/Finally I figured out….maybe cause I’m trying.”)

A bubbly guitar riff follows the bridge. After the pre-chorus and chorus, Block is acapella and sings “it’s hard to say/it’s hard to say/it’s all for you.”

“All For You” is desperate to be heartfelt and brooding. But it can’t strike the right balance. Angst isn’t supposed to be cheerful and upbeat.

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