Hot Hot Heat - Happiness Ltd
In 2002, Hot Hot Hot Heat's 'Make Up The Breakdown' bounded into the world's lap like a giddy terrier, but 2005's 'Elevator' stalled.
Woo hoo hoo! Read it again and feel a little more stupid. It's fun, kind of like killing some brain cells when huffing a whippet.
On their fifth album, partly produced by Green Day and MCR Midas-toucher Rob Cavallo, the message is clear: pop is back. Big hooks and cresting balladry are shamelessly in-season ('Outta Heart') and call-and-response choruses are bigger than ever ('Give Up?').
There is a reason this review is short. So far the album is full of cresting balladry, with big call-and-response choruses. Good.
The trademark tempo jiggery remains and it's all threaded together with airy production that underlines rather than overwhelms.
Know what I'm a big fan of? Production that sounds like the air. And we all know that air sounds of sweet cresting balladry, right?
Also, I love to get jiggery. I get jiggery all the time. Me and this guy(you know, the guy on the right), together the jiggery we share.
And while there's nothing here as incendiary as 'Bandages', there remains a sense of flow that previous albums have lacked.
A lot of "critic language" is being flung around today. Airy production, Midas-toucher, and now a "sense of flow."
Awesome, I'm now getting a clearer picture of what this sounds like. A golden Will Smith singing call and response ballads, cresting all the while.
Hot Hot Heat are not the freewheeling scamps they once were.
Chances that members of any band from the dawn of time never experience a life change, ever: Zero.
Thankfully, rather than mature into 'serious' musicians, they've rejuvenated themselves with the elixir of a purer pop.
A quick list of a serious musician's traits:
a) skilled at their chosen profession
b) lacks a sense of humor
c) must write songs concerning only death, life, and the immediate variations on those themes
d) must listen to exhausting music and die from the intense experience
Serious musicians can be interested in pure pop (Bob Mould, Frank Black, David Bowie, Frank Zappa) and are pretty brilliant in their execution of said pop. What the fuck is wrong with someone being 'serious?' Why am I continuing to put that word in quotations?
Anyone in a band is a serious musician. Anyone playing or learning an instrument is a serious musician. Think I'm being a little general in my description? That's because the true technical idea of musicality is no longer discussed in popular music's criticism. Just because a bassist can't play "Donna Lee" straight-up, no swing doesn't mean he's not serious.
The concern, as Uticas pointed out, is not in the words, but how they're arranged. The vague adjectives titillate the mind, and you think, 'Maybe I'll enjoy the Midas-touched sounds.'
Rating from NME: 7 out of 10. Bizarre.