31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Happiness in Magazines?, 27 Mar 2004
So what should we expect now from Graham Coxon now that he has left Blur and is now free to concentrate on his solo work? The answer is a scorcher of an album.
From the first track 'Spectacular' you can tell that Graham Coxons lo-fi days are well behind him.
The rocky guitar and pounding drums make a great start to the album, which leads well into the next song 'No Good Time'. This song is similar and shows Grahams a great songwriter, and has a class guitar solo towards the end, this song really gets stuck in your head, but in a good way.
Next is Girl Done Gone, which is more 'classic Coxon', an understated bluesy song with lazy lyrics, it's OK but not great. 'All Over Me' is track 4 and is another slow number this time with strings, Graham's vocals are at their best here.
'Bittersweet Bundle of Misery' sounds so similar to 'Coffee and TV'(Blur-written by Coxon, appears on the album 13) its uncanny, but this songs lyrics are slightly forced and arent that great and are slightly annoying, its not one of the best song on the album.
Next is the first single from this album 'Freakin' Out'. This song is really a classic and the single unusually for Graham had relative chart success. It a real rocker and the guitar is so cool. Lyrics are delivered in a snarly-sort-of-way and this song shows what the new 'proper rock band' should be doing.
'People Of The Earth' and 'Hopeless Friend' keep the album rolling along nicely and are reminiscent of the earlier Blur days. Top quality again then!! The lyrics of 'People of The Earth' is so funny and is agin punk-rock in its sound and hostile message.
'Are You Ready' is next and is possibly the weakest track on the album, although there is some nice sound effects and guitars which paint the picture of nice western cowboy situation. The lyrics are laid back but I don't think they really work with the music. Another slower song is next 'Bottom Bunk'. It ticks along nicely but is by no means a standout.
'Don't Be A Stranger' most defiantly is with the title of the song repeated to great effect. The punchy guitar and then the toy-keyboard sound contrast interestingly, then the feedback kicks in and you realise that the album is near to finishing.
The closer to the album is amazing. 'Ribbons and Leaves' with the slow with piano, and resigned, submissive delivery of the lyrics from Graham adds to the emotion of the song. This is without doubt the best of the slower songs on happiness in Magazines.
The album moves well between genres, and merges them as well as anyone has in recent years. The future looks bright now for Graham and this new direction of more catchy but still interesting songs is working well so far.
(this review is based on the promo-CD)