PiL on Happy Pills? Not quite...
The Drainpipe | Australia | 10/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The live band John Lydon assembled in early 1986 for the "Album" tour would, in fact, endure as PiL's longest-lasting lineup: guitarist John McGeoch and bassist Alan Dias would be on board for the subsequent three albums and drummer Bruce Smith for the next two. The first album with the "new" PiL may have an ironic title, and feature Lydon's trademark negation throughout, but it's still a very exhuberant, surprisingly upbeat work - hard, but danceable, rock (this evocative, aurally-exotic music - with female backing vox - would effectively characterise the PiL sound for the next half-decade). While "Happy?" is not quite as musically innovative or consistently excellent as its predecessor, what's on the album is more than worthwhile. The bouncy "Seattle" is a terrific, all-on-board opener; 'Rules and Regulations" is a dancey number that anticipates the sound of the next album "9," and in "The Body" Lydon revisits the abortion theme of the similarly-titled Sex Pistols classic "Bodies" (good as the album version of "The Body" is, both the UK and US 12'' remixes are superior). "Fat Chance Hotel," with its Wobble-esque bass intro and repetitive melodic drone, sounds like an amalgam of the 1978 and the 1987 PiLs. Much of the album has an intrinsically 80s, cinematic feel - especially on "Save Me" and "Open and Revolving" - which is almost certainly due to producer Gary Langan's multilayered production (again, a similar approach would be taken by Stephen Hague on "9"). "Happy?" is not PiL at its very best, but it's not far off from it."
J. Hawkshead | New Orleans | 05/03/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I still have Happy? on cassette that I bought after seeing the Seattle video way back in the depths of the Reagan era. The tape and more importantly the songs on it have held up well over nearly 2 decades now (I looked Happy? up on Amazon thinking I'd finally get a CD, but 35 bucks?!). True, the album as a whole is pretty heavily front-loaded, with the 3 best songs at the beginning, but overall Lydon's delivery and McGeogh's guitar work make Happy? a bracing musical experience despite the dated-sounding production."
Michael K. Roddy | australia | 06/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"although this is not cutting edge as earlier pil ,it is still what are at this stage seasoned pros on top form.fat chance hotel is my fav track lydon having a good old sarcastic winge over a dub sound.Polished 80s production seems to add something strange."