Home > Bust > Happy Mondays – Double Easy: The U.S. Singles

Happy Mondays – Double Easy: The U.S. Singles

Elektra Records, 1993happy

I have a feeling I had to be there.  I hear that the Brits had a great time ravin’ in the clubs back in the late-80s when bands like the Stone Roses, 808 State and the Happy Mondays were dominating the young Brit lives.  Too bad I missed it because I imagine I would have caught on to some of the euphoria that I’ve heard about and seen in that movie “24 Hour Party People”.   I suppose I was too far gone anyway with Guns N Roses and Weird Al fully immersed in my questionably erratic music interests at the time.  Thankfully I’ve got a friend or two to help me out in trying to recreate the scene while I write this review by supplying me with a few mysterious pills, some black lights, and some bug-eyed sunglasses.  I am also not wearing a shirt and have jacked up the gas heat to 80 degrees.  While the lovely lady wrangles with the fog machine in the corner, I must commence my review of this collection of Happy Monday releases over here in the States.

Every song on this collection is upbeat enough to interest most, but there’s a combination of factors that could limit the appeal of the Happy Mondays.  The first thing is the fact that Shaun Ryder’s vocals sound much too forced.  His voice gives off the impression that he periodically goes beyond his vocal range and doesn’t care, which of course, is his prerogative.  He also doesn’t sing very predictably which in part has some appeal (take that, traditionalists!) but ultimately comes off as a bit contrived.  Without a voice to carry some songs, one has to resort to the music from the band to whirl one up into a fervor, but even that falls short.  The band just sods along with safe pop and electro beats and, aside from the occasional roaring guitar solo, there isn’t much produced that resembles anything truly interesting.  Again, I reiterate the thought that if one heard this in a jumping club then it would sound many times better.  There are some classics by the Happy Mondays that are still worth a listen like “24 Hour Party People” and “Lazy Itis”, but the rest just doesn’t hold up that well over time.

The group does have a website and MySpace page if you’re interested in more information about them, but listening to songs on either site are relatively hard to come by unless its via video.

So were these guys a club-only band? Kind of like those guys at frat parties that, when sober, are completely uninteresting? I haven’t heard of too many people over here say that they still pop on some Happy Mondays tunes unless, of course, they’re aiming for some cred at a get together of indie dorks. I’m going to venture that maybe only the British still give these guys a spin, making it understandable that I found this collection in a bin somewhere in Chicago. For a historical soundtrack of British debauchery this would be worth a pick up, but it’s not a disc one would likely ever give too many listens to when time finds itself free. Even the frat boys prefer Bob Marley at their parties anyway…

1/9/11 Edit: Listening to this again, the songs on this collection give evidence that these guys are awful. I know that yeah, there might have been a time and place that would have made this music much for interesting to get into. Trouble is twenty something years later it utterly doesn’t hold up. I’m moving this to Bust category because I want my quarters back.

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