Brett Jolly’s Daily Thought (Topic: “The formula for success with the song “Happy” by Pharrell”)

I realize that I touched on this before, but today I would like to get a little more “in depth” about Pharrell’s hit song entitled “Happy.” Currently it might be the most popular song in the world, and I give major props to Pharrell for his artwork.  Considering the previous hit he was involved with (“Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”) this bit of artistry was truly refreshing to hear. I have had people ask me “What specifically is it about this song that makes people like it so much?” Well, today I would like to “break it down” according to my “own” personal assessment. First, if you really take notice of the style of singing on this song, there is a “slight air” of vintage ole school music that can be recognized. His voice quality is somewhat reminiscent of vintage Curtis Mayfield, who had hits like “Superfly, Freddie’s Dead,” and some other great hits with the Impressions. The song stands out from most of today’s music mainly because it feels like a 1970’s piece that seems “out of place” for today’s quality of music. The quality of the recording is not great, but for this song it doesn’t have to be.  The harmonies are simple and yet the song  would have a remarkably different flair to it if those harmony notes were not present. The drum beat is not “in any way” representative of most of today’s music (a lot of the current songs feature disco or techno beats that are incredibly simple, boring and mundane… and just about everybody is using the same beat). The bass line is not a dominating one for this song, and basically only adds flavor to the song (like icing on a cake) but it plays in spots and is not prevalent volume-wise in the mix. I honestly believe that this song became a hit “by accident.” In other words, Pharell wrote this song for the “Despicable Me 2” soundtrack, and not necessarily for his own major project. As a writer, when you write a song for someone else, there is less of a tendency to follow a certain format. You are freer to stretch out and display your artistry, because there is not as much pressure on you to stick to the industry standards. They lyrics in the verse of this song sound as though they were written in less than 20 minutes. Some of the lines don’t even make sense, but it doesn’t really matter. As for the title itself, it just doesn’t fit with today’s standards, and that is probably the main reason in itself why this song is a hit. It is “different,” it is “simple” and people can relate to it without having a whole bunch of “overly promoted” sexual innuendos attached to it. The chords to the song are simple to play and to be honest, just about “anyone” could have written this song (even those with very limited playing abilities). It had been alleged that Pharell tried to give this song to Cee Lo Green, who turned it down. Well, I only hope that Cee Lo did not break his leg from attempting to “kick himself” for missing out on this opportunity. Over all, this song has a “great” message, a simple concept and nice style to it,  but the biggest reason why I think this song is a hit is because it is “simply fun…”  It will be interesting to see if ll the “other” labels decide to “follow the leader” and put out more songs like this or if they will “go back” to the same old stuff and drag the music industry back into the “toilet realm.” “Hats off to Pharrell for this song, even if it did become a hit “by accident.” Sometimes music works that way. Thank you for allowing me to share my opinion today and I wish the very best to you and your families.


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