Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth. . .

It might seem crazy what I'm about to say. . .

And if it is, it depends on who's doing the listening  :-)

Chances are, if you have not heard of this song, you've been in some parallel universe where happiness doesn't exist. . . .

Hands down, the feel-good song of 2013 is Mister Pharrell Williams' Happy from the Despicable Me 2 soundtrack.  Before I watched the movie, I had no idea that Williams was behind the music so I was pleasantly surprised.  I had deliberately avoided the press junkets promoting the movie because I don't really pay attention to that sort of thing.  It's always good to go in cold for a movie and make your own observations and reflections about what you see. The music soundtrack did not disappoint.

I would love the opportunity to sit in a studio and watch Pharrell in action and see how he hears music and how he creates.  There's nothing more exciting to me, more inspiring, than watching a musical genius in action.  He's like a modern day Quincy Jones, with an extensive, comprehensive understanding of crafting musical ideas to communicate messages to the masses.  The fact that he's what those of us would call a "real musician" who can play instruments and produce. I could see a musical genius in action in Michael Jackson's This Is It, when he corrects the music arranger about what he wants and how he wants it to sound.  The only other instance I've seen that has been in the movie version of Amadeus (1984) starring Tom Hulce as Mozart and he is asking his secret rival Salieri to finish notating his music.  To be able to hear a finished composition in your mind's ear is truly magical.

Clap your hands if you know what happiness is to you

The song has the right combination of the musical elements to convey the degree of familiarity to make a song catchy and enough musical interest in different sections to give it variation with its compositional techniques.  The canon and layering of harmonies in the bridge thicken the texture, like a master chef stirring a pot of soup whilst adding spices to taste.  It almost sounds like happiness begets happiness, the more you feel it, the happier you get, and I get a definite sense of that in the harmonic layering of the bridge.

This song represents for me the positive power of music.
Facing troubles head on because you can take it and the happiness that you have in your life can withstand any bad news that comes your way.  And since I've started writing my blog, I've enjoyed sharing my thoughts and ideas with everybody (whoever you are!) through my blog.  It's been one of the few things that have made me smile this year.

Williams attests that happiness can't be measured because the level is too high, you feel like a room without a roof. And for me, I pretty much think that when you're trying to search for truth and the meaning of life, I find that it is already encapsulated in the lyrics of this song:

Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth.