First of all...I like this release. Song for song its high quality, however this was PiL's real first attempt at 'pop structure' And a format that would be repeated on the, for me as a long time fan, disappointing 9. Happy was supposed to be produced by the talent of Bill Laswell, but Lydon and Bill had different visions for the production, and they had a parting of ways. Like the previous reviewer states, this release was recorded by the 'new' PIL post Flowers Of Romance, and to a degree This Is What You Want. Lydon has gone on record to say, in the notes to Plastic Box, that 'Album' was pretty much a solo project from his point of view. There is nothing that jumps out as being sloppy or bad in Happy. All the songs except Rules & Regulations are pretty short time wise, and they all have a unique sound. In my opinion Lydon tweaked his vocal delivery for Happy, just like he done for This Is What You Want, and to a much greater sense with 'Album' Is this a bad thing? Yes I think so. The track Open & Revolving for instance...I can barely understand a word let alone a line, still a great tune. In 'Album' the backing vocals worked superbly, they blended in with the concept of the album and complimented Lydon's vocals to the point of beauty. In Happy female backing singers are used, and for me it just doesn't work. 'Seattle' Being the standout track and lead single is a superb melodic song, but the 'pop' is written all over it. 'Body' is pretty good but with a chorus that goes on for to long. I have heard the USA 12" mix and it just works better. 'Save Me' is one of the weaker tracks, and on a release of a paltry 8 songs, can be considered filler. 'Hard Times' is as good as Seattle, the lyrics are some of Lydon's best imo. 'Angry' is a pretty intense rant at fools Lydon has never suffered with some great studio tricks to keep the song flowing. Finally 'Fat Chance Hotel' sounds a bit comedic and is the last track on Happy, leaving the whole album feeling slightly unfinished to what we've become accustomed with the prior back catalogue. As the title suggests, this 'new' PiL album is the starting process of the bands eventual decline and poor record sales both in the UK & USA. Sure, another 2 studio albums would be released, but they never hit the heights of PiL's glorious heyday. If you loved the early years, you probably will hate this. But if your like me, and developed a love for PiL because of 'Album', give it a try, it may very well be the tonic you need for something fresh to enjoy. 4 stars.
This album has been out of print for way too long. Fortunately with the reactivation of the band it's back on the radar and remastered to boot. Apparently the sound should be improved but I can't tell the difference; the original still sounds perfectly good to me. Maybe with more expensive speakers... Happy? includes the singles 'Seattle' and 'The Body' and it's a decent album although not their finest. It was recorded by a(nother) new line-up who probably hadn't yet gelled as a band. The tour was well received and the following album '9' was better, but seen in the context of a total body of work that's among the finest by any band in the late 20th century then a slight dip in form doesn't sound so bad. If you're new to PIL then buy the 'Greatest Hits So Far' album, not this. For people who (like me) find 'metal box' a bit inaccessible and prefer the more radio friendly middle-late period PIL then this is worth having once you've heard the others.
It's interesting reading the different reviews for this album - everyone seems to have a good point to make, even though views differ wildly.
My own view is that this is PiL at their most commercial. We are a million miles away from 'First Issue' and 'Metal Box', entering more accessible territory.
I like this album - there are no duff tracks here or filler. It's very listenable and easy to digest but part of me yearns for those more abstract and imaginative recordings, which is perhaps why John has steered the band back to its roots with the newer albums.
This is my fave PIL album, like all the tracks on this. Lydons vocals are pretty good on Happy? Surprising he hits some high notes on "Save Me". All of the songs are fairly catchy. Stands out tracks "Seattle", "Angry", "Hard Times and "Open and Revolving"". This is not as experimental as previous PIL albums as it focuses on a more pop/rock sound. I have found some PILs avant grande sound a little bit on the acquired side. For me this PIL album ticks all the right boxes.
The usual fantastic, amazing, weirdo and powerful music of the great PIL! I bought all the remasterized CDs and the sound is much better, clean and clear. And the New covers and internal parts in the case are just great! Amazing music with Johnny Lydon!