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Hot Hot Heat - Happiness Ltd. (Cover Artwork)

Hot Hot Heat

Hot Hot Heat: Happiness Ltd.Happiness Ltd. (2007)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 4


Contributed by: genebuonaccorsiDarthNader
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Right off the bat, I would like to say that I hated Hot Hot Heat. When I heard tracks off 2005's Elevator and 2002's Make Up the Breakdown, I decided that they were a crappy little pop band who played off of teenage girl fetishes for curly hair and overuse of keyboards. When I saw that they had rele.
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Right off the bat, I would like to say that I hated Hot Hot Heat. When I heard tracks off 2005's Elevator and 2002's Make Up the Breakdown, I decided that they were a crappy little pop band who played off of teenage girl fetishes for curly hair and overuse of keyboards. When I saw that they had released a new album, I was quick to decide that it would suck, but something kept telling me to give it a shot. A couple hours later I was hooked and Happiness Ltd. wasn't about to let go.

On Happiness Ltd. the thing that stands out the most is that Hot Hot Heat are drawing on a much larger bed of influences. Where the previous LPs could be easily be traced back to their influences (the Strokes, the Cure, XTC), Happiness Ltd. seems like the product of a much broader range of music. Whether it's the Ben Folds-esque romp of piano in "5 Times Out of 100" or the vocal style in the verse of "Good Day to Die" (which hints at Out of Time-era R.E.M.), there are more styles and extremes of the musical spectrum.

But that's not to say that Hot Hot Heat don't sound like themselves anymore. Each song has the clear distinctions of Hot Hot Heat, but in a different way from their past work. The flirty keyboards are a bit more subtle and roundabout, rather than direct simple harmonies. Steve Bays' vocals, while still reaching low ("My Best Friend") and high ("Let Me In"), seem to come off a bit more convincing and full this time around. His voice is used more as another instrument and accentuates the feeling of the songs better. This is best seen in "My Best Friend" where HHH hint at a little aggression that is brought through perfectly by Bays' vocal performance.

Happiness Ltd. is an album of musical highs and lows. Starting on a low with the title track and some extremely depressing lyrics ("Happiness is limited but misery has no end") it moves on to "Let Me In"; with a huge chorus and bright wordplay this song serves as the polar opposite. This cycle repeats throughout the album, culminating with the fantastic closing duo of "Good Day to Die" and "So So Cold," which sends it out with a great upbeat chorus (and is one of the best songs on the album, if not the best).

All in all, a huge step up in my opinion. The album stretches over territory that Hot Hot Heat have not dwelled in before and provides an intriguing and attractive listen time and time again. Regardless of your opinion on their other work, there is no denying that they have outdone themselves creatively and musically on Happiness Ltd..

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
elephantdwarf (October 8, 2007)

"they play songs off of this at my work. aside from the vocals, which sound hideous with the new music, you can't even tell that this is hot hot heat. this is really terrible. elevator wasn't this bad. make up the breakdown was the high water mark for sure."

actually, no. the best record these guys did was the split with The Red Light Sting. and that was mostly good because of the Red Light Sting.

beaarthur (October 8, 2007)

"Regardless of your opinion on their other work, there is no denying that they have outdone themselves creatively and musically on Happiness Ltd.. "

hahaha, you wanna bet? This shit is throwaway pop trash.

vocalyouth (October 8, 2007)

they play songs off of this at my work. aside from the vocals, which sound hideous with the new music, you can't even tell that this is hot hot heat. this is really terrible. elevator wasn't this bad. make up the breakdown was the high water mark for sure.

elephantdwarf (October 7, 2007)

"i still dont see where it says that this is their third album in the review"

they edited the review. it used to say it somewhere.

genebuonaccorsi (October 7, 2007)

i still dont see where it says that this is their third album in the review

xote (October 6, 2007)

Posted by elephantdwarf on 2007-10-05 17:31:52

seriously... not their 3rd album. before Knock Knock Knock EP they had the previously mentioned Scenes One Through Thirteen and a split with the Red Light Sting, who they used to sound a whole lot like. the Red Light Sting was awesome, they should have kept sounding like them.

I totally agree dude red light sting were the shit... I love that fucking band.

ozmanx (October 6, 2007)

Does the singer still look like Carrot Top?

Rastid (October 6, 2007)

"while i'm not in for review bashing and i've read plenty worse than this, i do think there is a shout for album scores (particularly high scores) being seconded by admin. i mean, individual reviewers obviously work to slightly different guidelines and that is fine but there should be some consistency."

completely agree. editors do a great job of making sure reviews are actually substantive rather than just fanboy/street team trash, and i'm not sure the best way to solve the problem, but review scores have been dramatically inflating in the last couple years. scores being seconded are the only way i can think to solve it, but that seems a little draconian...

(not singling out this review--i haven't heard the album, so i have no clue if the score is warranted, and it's not badly written)

INDW (October 6, 2007)

while i'm not in for review bashing and i've read plenty worse than this, i do think there is a shout for album scores (particularly high scores) being seconded by admin. i mean, individual reviewers obviously work to slightly different guidelines and that is fine but there should be some consistency.

I would be prepared to wager that the percent of albums reviewed by admin receiving 5*s is significantly lower than non-admin and esp. 1 time reviewers. this is obviously because lone reviewers only review their favs but it does mean that many obsure albums are over-scored and the best possible picture is not presented.

may be wrong of course...

branden (October 6, 2007)

also known as "Crappiness Unltd."

im hilarious.

ricomedy (October 5, 2007)

Sorry folks, but I just can't get into this. And I loved Elevator.

KlashedKi (October 5, 2007)

I went and seen them with De Novo Dahl and Bedouin Soundclash recently. HHH hasn't been the same since they've lost their original guitarist and their music has really went downhill since then but on the bright side the lead did give me a hell of a film recommendation. DND and BS were amongst the best performers I had listened to as well, fuck yeah.

punkgato (October 5, 2007)

I think the album cover tells you all you need to know in terms of originality, talent, and quality.

i-type-poorly (October 5, 2007)

Sucks.

inagreendase (October 5, 2007)

Maybe the admins should start assigning the star-rating based on how the review reads.

Been doing this the past year or 2.

elephantdwarf (October 5, 2007)

seriously... not their 3rd album. before Knock Knock Knock EP they had the previously mentioned Scenes One Through Thirteen and a split with the Red Light Sting, who they used to sound a whole lot like. the Red Light Sting was awesome, they should have kept sounding like them.

Kursk (October 5, 2007)

Hey fattony, the reason you read a bunch of 4-5 star reviews is because the only people reviewing stuff enjoy reviewing something they like as opposed to something they don't. That could be where all the 4-5 star reviews are coming from, makes sense eh?

youwinalemon (October 5, 2007)

"Oh Goddammit will continue to forever be their greatest song."

Not a lie.

I haven't heard this album yet and, due to how awful the single is, I really have no particular interest to.

Elevator wasn't as terrible as people make it out to be. Make Up The Breakdown was awesome.

brown (October 5, 2007)

Oh Goddammit will continue to forever be their greatest song.

Morgan (October 5, 2007)

Uhh, this is their fourth album, not third.

Look up "Scene's One Through Thirteen"
They had no guitars and relied on synths. It's still their best album.

maverick (October 5, 2007)

This record has absolutely no staying power -- the songs aren't surprising anymore, they're just in a basic pop-song format. Did their old guitarist really make that much of a difference writing-wise? I guess so, because neither Elevator or this live up to Knock Knock Knock or Make Up The Breakdown's infinite potential.

-Scott

fattony (October 5, 2007)

This is getting ridiculous. These days, just about the only reviews I read are 4.5 star reviews. Maybe the admins should start assigning the star-rating based on how the review reads.

danperrone (October 5, 2007)

another 8/10!!! who knew!!!

this album blows

cut_the_mullet (October 5, 2007)

dont wanna be a jag or anything, but 5 times out of 100 was one of their first songs on their debut Knock Knock Knock EP, maybe give the rest of the discs a chance and you might like it just as much. Elevator was pretty bad but this album isn't as far off from Make Up the Breakdown as people are making it to be

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