Album Cover
Happy Songs for Happy People
June 17, 2003


Mogwai was able to indeed produce "happy songs" for even the not-so-happy people with their fourth release, Happy Songs for Happy People. This album is a wonderful compilation, every track being unique, every track being a pertinent part of the whole. Though it may not be truly of a happy nature, in fact it's quite the opposite (a good joke on their part, really), but it has an unmistakable "heart and soul," if you will, with a feeling that most everyone has had the "pleasure" of sharing at some point or another.

The eerie yet up-beat tone of "Hunted by a Freak" leads you into this album ready for the ambient journey that lies ahead of you. Onto track 2, "Moses? I Amn't," continues the subtle ambience with the low-key violins and cello wave, slowly progressing up-tone through the next two tracks, peaking at "Killing All the Flies." The drop back to simplicity is abrupt and the sprawl of the album continues again. This regular pattern of ups and downs leads you through the whole album, never leaving anything to be expected.

Though it is hard to compare track-by-track (for it is much more powerful in whole), the slow piano progression through "I Know You Are But What Am I?" ending eventually in the mass layering of natural-instruments upon computer-generated sounds makes this tracks one of my favorites.

In comparison to the rest of the Mogwai releases, Happy Songs is a jump to something completely new, yet still so utterly the same. The sense of pain and anguish is the same, but there's something more, with greater intensity and a wonderful flow which hadn't seemed to form so perfectly until this release.

All-in-all, this album is a good happy medium for those who want something a bit different from the usual pop-scene but not something too crazy and out-there. Likewise, if you enjoy Godspeed You Black Emperor!, this is an album for you. It is a switch, but it's a well deserved one. If you're afraid of feeling anything but happiness, though, I would definitely recommend staying away from this band altogether. It leads you out well enough to get you going again, but you'll never make it all the way through if you're not up for the challenge.

Be sure to purchase the actual CD as well, if not for the added bonus trial audio-mixing application and instrument tracks, but for the awesome shininess of the whole case itself. I say this without hesitation: Enjoy.

Zeff Svoboda

Track List

  1. Hunted by a Freak
  2. Moses? I Amn't
  3. Kids Will Be Skeletons
  4. Killing All the Flies
  5. Boring Machines Disturb Sleep
  6. Ratts of the Capital
  7. Golden Porsche
  8. I Know You Are But What Am I?
  9. Stop Coming to My House