Happier

Happier tits.jpg

Date Aired
November 30, 2018
Running Time
15:52
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Todd plays "Happier" on the piano.

BASTILLE & MARSHMELLO - HAPPIER
A pop song review

Todd: Okay. So, one of the themes of popular music in 2018 is that it's been really depressing,...

Clip of Juice WRLD - "Lucid Dreams"

Todd (VO): …and I mention this a lot, probably too much, and maybe I'm just projecting because I'm just a...

Todd: …miserable asshole and I spend my life chained to a computer.

Todd (VO): But, I'm pretty confident on this one. Everything's just gotten really, really downbeat.

Todd: In fact, if you recall, I pointed out previously that...

Todd (VO): [clip of Pharrell Williams'...] just a few short years ago, one of the biggest hits in the country was literally called "Happy", [clip of XXXTENTACION's...] and one of the biggest hits this year is literally called "Sad!". I'm really proud of that one actually, that's the...

Todd: ...kind of insight you can retire on. I'm kidding, I'll never be able to retire. Please donate to my Patreon, links in the description, and smash that bell.

XXXTENTACION: I'm sad and low, yeah

Todd (VO): Yeah, sad. That sums up the year. [single cover of said song] A song called "Sad!", [News article: "Disturbing New Details Emerge in XXXTentacion Domestic Violence Case] by a wife-beater, [another news article with fan art reading "RIP 1998-2018" and "XXXTentacion Shot Dead at 20"] who's dead. [back to "Sad!" music video] That's what we get in 2018, and it's what we deserve. Todd: So with that insight in mind, you can imagine how I perked up when, as the year was coming to a close, I saw a song shooting up the charts that was literally titled [picture of Billboard Hot 100 dated November 24, 2018, specifically a close up on Number 3, which is...] "Happier". We went from "Happy", to "Sad!" to "Happier"?

Live performance on Good Morning America

Dan Smith: I think that you'll be happier

I want you to be happier

Todd: I want me to be happier too. Look, after three straight years of [news article: Why Are All the Songs of the Summer So Sad?] mopey, drone pop, a song called "Happier" is, well, it's certainly suggestive. Does it mean the national mood is finally lightening up? Have we turned the corner? Is the Zeitgeist going to become more optimistic?

[Brief flashes of depressing/exhausting news reports overtake the video]

Todd: ...we'll see! Okay, look, when a critic tries to tie a popular piece of media to "the zeitgeist", it's--it's usually pretty forced. I can cherry-pick the data and project anything I want on pop culture.

Bruno Mars - "Finesse"

Cardi B: Yeah, we got it goin' on, got it goin' on

Don't it feel so good to be us?

Todd (VO): See, look? Everything's great. 2018 was sunshine and roses.

Todd: So, uh, yeah, let's-let's not read too much into this. Let's look at this "Happier" for what it is, a 3-minute song, and it's from...Bastille. Huh.

Todd (VO): [cue snippet of the chant from "Pompeii"] Y'all know I have a running joke about the "Fluke Indie Hit Sweepstakes", where some random indie band nobody's ever heard gets lucky and has a crossover pop hit. I call it that because I expect these bands to disappear and never show up again. [a picture is shown of the band The Neighbourhood with the caption: Have you seen me? THE NEIGHBOURHOOD: Missing since 2013]

Todd: But it turns out, a lot of these bands have, uh, uh, they've invested their winnings pretty wisely!

Todd (VO): A bunch of them, despite never reaching those heights again, they've managed to stick around. Foster the People are still here, Walk the Moon are still here, even Panic! at the Disco are still here. I mean, those guys were actual stars, but them having a hit in 20-goddamn-18 is so out of nowhere I'm gonna count it.

Todd: Fluke indie hit!

Todd (VO): And Bastille has also kept on trucking. They've kept racking up their alternative hits even though they've never crossed over again. I'm never unhappy to hear them.

Todd: They're not, like, my favorite band.

Todd (VO): They're not very musically creative. They're the same kind of synth-heavy thin soup that way too many rock bands are nowadays, but...

Todd: They're at least better than Imagine Dragons.

Todd (VO): They've got nice, strong choruses, and I always liked that main vocalist, Dan Bastille. I don't remember his last name, [It's Smith, for the record] but I like Dan's emoting-way-too-hard drama kid singing, I like how over-the-top he can get with his lyrics. I mean, his big hit was just about being bored with life, and he managed to compare it to one of the most infamous natural disasters in history!

Todd: That's a guy I wanna keep around.

Todd (VO): So he and his band are back, with another big hit. And this time it's an EDM collaboration. [snippet of song's drop at live performance] EDM: it's keeping Coldplay relevant, it can keep Coldplay wannabes relevant, too!

Todd: The producer you might have heard of before 2018, but he's having a breakthrough year, and this is his biggest pop crossover to date. His name...is Marshmallo. He wears a giant marshmallow on his head. [beat] Sounds like I'm making that up, right?

Todd (VO): [clip of Marshmallo performing live] No, that's real, he does wear a giant marshmallow mask, in the grand tradition of dance DJs wearing stupid helmets. [flashes image of Deadmau5]

Todd: And as a fellow face-hider, I do appreciate the marketing appeal.

Todd (VO): A good, stupid EDM helmet should be something a fifth-grader can doodle into his notebook.

Todd: And I eagerly await the next EDM sensation: DJ Pyramid Head. [image is shown of the aforementioned Silent Hill character at a DJ turntable]

Todd (VO): [showing Dan Smith and Marshmallo promoting the song on Good Morning America] See? Here's the two of them now!

Live performance on Good Morning America

Dan Smith: Lately, I've been, I've been thinking

I want you to be happier

Oh man, that does indeed make me be happier! [almost laughing] I'm sorry, it's...it's just Bastille is a very emotive and earnest band, I mean...Dan Bastille's at his piano pouring his guts out. Behind him, you got an unfinished Disney World mascot who's like, "Whooo! Get turnt!" Todd: Okay, sorry. Let's hear their song.

Dan Smith: Lately, I've been, I've been thinking

I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier

[Meanwhile, the music video diverges from the song's lyrics and shows a crying young girl--later played by Miranda Cosgrove in the rest of the video--receiving a yellow bow at her birthday, and then a golden retriever shortly afterwards]

Todd (VO): Aww, it's one of these videos. Now, I hate these EDM music videos,

Todd: They're just short films that have nothing to do with the song.

Todd (VO): Aw, well, anyway.

Every argument, every word we can't take back

'Cause with the all that has happened

I think that we both know the way that this story ends

Okay, it looks like "Happier" is going to be a very relative term.

Todd: I mean, the word "happier" is literally a relative adjective, but, this is not gonna be that happy is what I mean.

Todd (VO): This appears to be a breakup song.

I want to see you smile,

But know that means I'll have to leave

So, it's very bittersweet is what I'm gathering. But bittersweet is still better than depressing!

Todd: It's about moving forward, that is indeed happier.

Todd (VO): And the video is pretty happy too, I mean, look at that, it's a little girl who's so sad, but then she gets a puppy! And even though she grows up and all the other girls are mean to her, she still has her beeeeest friend! She...she... [Cosgrove notices her dog isn't looking good, and the dog's rushed to the vet] she, uh... [it is ultimately decided to put Cosgrove's dog down]

So I'll go, I'll go

I'll go, go, go...

Todd: [stunned at the video's sudden downturn, he cups his mouth]

Todd (VO): OH MY GOD! WHY WOULD YOU SHOW ME THAT?! Who made the decision to put that in the VIDEO?! I'm over here trying to be upbeat, and then you gotta show me a DYING DOG!

Todd: [channeling his inner Casey Kasem] You know, they do this to me all the time, man, it's impossible to make those transitions! I ju-ju-just want somebody to use his fuckin' brain, not come out of me...being upbeat, and then I gotta talk about a fucking DOG DYING!

Todd (VO): Ugh. Not showing THAT again. We have, like, a live video, or...? [a landscape-formatted performance video is shown instead] Okay, there we go. Yeah, yeah, we're staying on this one, don't ever show me that dog video ever, geesh.

Closing Tag Song: "A Marshmallow World" - Dean Martin

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