Like a well-oiled machine, it takes several dynamic parts working smoothly together to create quality music. When you listen to Terribly Happy’s latest release, Slightly Dead, you’ll find a variety of creative elements working well together. There’s a mix of electronic rock, pop punk, a range of vocal techniques, and hauntingly relatable lyrics.
The song names on this album all share in the macabre: “Slightly Dead,” “Mummies and Regretful Sophomores,” and “Feeling Like a Ghost.” But the songs aren’t scary in a traditional sense of horror. They are haunting, though, but they are haunting because of their poignancy—you relate to them, feel them. You, too, are slightly dead.
Take a closer look at the album’s artwork, a perfect visual representation of the music you’ll hear. These songs are about sadness, but not in a stereotypical “my life is so hard” kind of way. The sadness is bottomless, nearly tangible in each note of the guitar and pound of the drum. In the middle of a carnival stands a young man. He’s surrounded by ice cream, games, and rides, and one must ask, so why is he sad?
Because the carnival is a show. It’s all about flashing lights and thrills that excite the innocent minds of children, not heart-broken souls. We know the lights and thrills are cheap, but we long for them anyway. We long for the happiness that we felt when we were young.
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Photography by Brittany Wagley
Haven’t you ever felt slightly dead and full of regret? Haven’t you ever felt like you walked alone, like a ghost? That no one was really there for you and that everyone only cared about themselves? Those are the unforgettable themes of the album.
In “Slightly Dead,” Terribly Happy perfectly captures sadness and pain. “I’ll trade my wounds for your regrets,” they sing. This isn’t a simple relationship song. It’s so much deeper. This is a song that understands the complexity of pain. It’s the kind of song you’ll want to listen to in the car with the windows rolled down while you shout the lyrics, or late at night in a lonely bedroom with nothing but headphones on your ears and tears in your eyes.
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Photography by Brittany Wagley
I love a song that ends and begins with the same line to preserve a powerful idea, and that’s what happens with “Mummies and Regretful Sophomores.” This song is like the fast, dangerous ride at the carnival. It’s full of an almost calm rage, which is far more terrifying then reckless rage because there’s a purpose and plan behind it. This is song you’ll sing while holding up your middle finger at those who have wronged you. “Here’s to hoping you’ll always be lonely,” they sing. And that’s the worst of punishments as it’s also loneliness that also haunts them.
“There is nothing in this bedroom,” the song opens and closes. And repeats and repeats. The terror here is that nothing can be just as frightening as any real monster.
That leads perfectly into the third and final song of the EP, “Feeling Like a Ghost.” The title alone resonates with anyone who has a pulse. Who hasn’t felt like they didn’t matter or that they were invisible? “Maybe I’ll stay . . . maybe you’ll stay . . .” There’s a back and forth in the song, a contrast that their music here epitomizes. The drums and guitar blend well at first, but then the drums get hard, yet the guitar remains smooth. It’s like that so often in relationships, a conflict of interests, an opposites attract, a back and forth, and you’ll feel this in the music. It’s the paradox of love and pain.
Don’t take my word for it. Listen to the album today here at terriblyhappy.bandcamp.com and support authentic, hard-working artists. You can download the album for just $3.00 or even order a CD that comes in a jewel case.
Be sure you listen with your headphones on. Lock your door, too. But not because of the monsters that are outside. Because this music unleashes the monsters hiding in your head and behind your heart.
About the author:
Joe Chianakas is the author of the horror novel, Rabbit in Red. Follow Joe on Facebook, and check out his website for more about his writing career.
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