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(5 out of 5 stars)
"Happy Rhodes is, without a doubt, one of the most unfairly overlooked (if not underrated) talents of the musical avant-garde of the last 20 years. She is one of the most original songwriters around. Warpaint was her peak until the release of "Many Worlds Are Born Tonight". Full of ambient melodies (which confirms her admiration for such people as Vangelis, Brian Eno, Tangerine Dream and Kraftwerk), this gem is also one of her darkest albums. However, lyrics changed direction, moving from personal to psychological, spiritual and dreamish (and specially nightmarish) directions. There is no doubt that Happy Rhodes is aware of the spiritual reinaisance and the evolution of people on Earth, but also aware for the previous crisis the planet has to experience before its growth. Warpaint is her first declaration as an observer of this changes. In this sense, Happy Rhodes pertains to a group of special musicians that try to make us aware of the evolution of Earth through their music, such as Vas, Dogon, and Michael Brook."
The magic doesn't end ...
Josh Weichel | St. Paul, MN USA | 04/22/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Happy's fifth album, WARPAINT, sits contently in the center of her ten-album collection. It has all the ingredients of a typical Happy album: tumbling, twisting harmonies and layered synths and percussion; darker, fascinating lyrics; beautiful, rich and powerful vocals.The album starts off with a charge, both musically and lyrically, with "Waking Up." Driving synth and drums hoist the phrases on sturdy shoulders: I have never been afraid to change the circumstances / of the world.Bells and chorus harmonies decorate "Feed the Fire," offering thanks to those giving inspiration: I want to go back to the trees / where my art was born / and I was duly sworn / to be alive / a live burning force / forever more and evermore / I feed the fire."Murder" clashes a bit with "To Live in Your World" where on one hand: you cannot defy their will / but I'd rather die than kill; and on the other hand: something made me hate her / I had to suffocate her / my common sense spoke of no consequence. Track five, "Phobos," is a great midway point on the album. A place to sit and have a cold drink: I have a friend in Phobos / sometimes I think I'm almost / there. Happy's vocal range also gets to stretch out during this piece, booming the baritone during the verse and soaring in harmonic highs during the chorus."Wrong Century" is a twin to "Phobos", except without the company of friends: is there where it stands now? / must I remain / in this grey and dismal year? / it's plain to see I'm a foreigner / it's clear I do not blend / still, I make a home in this / wrong century. During the bridge there's an exceptional techno-skat session that is a perfect example of Happy's unique fingerprint.Hauntingly beautiful is "Lay Me Down," not only with sultry darkness: where there was hope / let there now be sorrow / let no sparrow sing / light the candles and incense / the clouds roll in; but with sorrowful strains of a violin coursing in and out through the refrains.Another Happy trademark is lyrics that imply being a different kind of being, or being from a differently place. Both "Terra Incognita" and "All Things" bare truth to this: I'm made for this terrain / or any other plane / watch me go like fire / I will always burn / I'll never tire. "All Things" provides backup: I had another accident / last night / I tripped over a soul / in flight / must've dented the ship / 'cause my memory fades / while I patch the damage / tell me of your escapades.The tenth track is a mini-drama, though the title gives it all away. "Words Weren't Made for Cowards" harbors truth for those who think they can hide behind actions: you are transparent / regardless of efforts made / to mask your face / you reveal everything in a phrase / you conceal what your mouth betrays.Getting ready for battle, presumably with her self, Happy brings "Warpaint" to the table: don't try to tell me / there's no reason / for any moment in time / every memory of mine / those years are lines of color on my face / the past is warpaint.After the dust has settled, it's clear she's survived and doing just fine with the ballad "In Hiding." I've tried to show / God only knows / to grow / but music hides me so well / and reveals me / oh well / you can find me / in hiding.So, all the ingredients have been used, the cookware thoroughly taken advantage of. When the buzzer goes off, that great-smelling pie is WARPAINT. Take one bite, and you'll want all the food in her cookbook."
Actor, Dancer, Techie | Sacramento, CA | 10/31/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had never heard of Happy Rhodes until 1991 when a fellow teaching assistant let me borrow "War Paint". The music hit me as incredibly insightful, beautiful and haunting.
While I don't agree 100% with Ms. Rhodes's viewpoints, it is nevertheless the work of an intelligent artist and makes a person think."