Happiness... Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch Album reviews.
Release Date: 09.28.99
Record label: columbia
Show Them Your Vigor
by: bill aicher
I have to admit, I am not an expert on Canadian rock music. What I do know however, is that, along with Tragically Hip, Our Lady Peace is one of Canada's most popular rock acts. Another thing I know is that, unlike Tragically Hip, Our Lady Peace have garnered a large amount of popularity in the United States.
The majority of their popularity came from "Clumsy," off the album of the same name. However, they recently received a bit more exposure when "Starseed" (off of their debut album Naveed) was included on the Armageddon soundtrack. Now the band is back with their third studio album, (actually only their second on Columbia Records), Happiness... Is Not a Fish That You Can Catch.
While the world has shown a recent distaste for stadium rock albums such as the recent Live release The Distance to Here, OLP has shown that there is still such a thing as a good rock album. "Happiness..." marks another step forward for the band. The instrumentation has become a bit more complex, and there are more emotive changes in than on any previous effort.
Vocalist Raine Maida continues to write songs chock full of feeling, but does a better job of expressing them here than ever before. His voice is still vaguely similar to that of a male Alanis Morrisette, twisting the sounds to almost a whine at times. Someone once described it as "a cat in a blender," which is a bit of a stretch - although if you didn't like it before you won't like it now. It is a voice you either like or you don't.
Regardless of his voice, the songs have taken on a new feeling of hopefulness that wasn't as apparent on earlier works. There is a feel of freedom from burden that emanates from most songs, and the lyrics seems less angst ridden than before. In fact, the only blatantly negative song is "Happiness & the Fish" with lyrics like "Talking is just masturbating without the mess" and "everyone you meet today is just so fucking vain." The rest of the tracks, though not happy, are about acceptance of situations and a freedom from constraint. This is best illustrated in the lyrics in "One Man Army" of "Unbutton your clothes / Undress your soul, show them your vigor."
Our Lady Peace may not have made a ground-breaking album, but no one ever said they had to. Happiness... is an example of how a band can take their previous albums and build on them. It is the obvious progression that has been building since Naveed and Clumsy. For those who have not liked an Our Lady Peace album, this is not going to change your mind. However, if you are looking for a solid rock album without having to worry about feeling alienated by the music, without the stadium rock sound that Live and Creed have gone to, this Happiness... may be a good catch.