On 11 February 2019 I set myself the challenge of reading 1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die by Robert Dimery (ed.) and following the book’s advice to the letter. I’ve previously read 1001 Films… and started 1001 Albums… but felt 1001 Songs… would be a sensible place to start for what I have in mind here.
My challenge is to read about one song per day and listen to it (YouTube and Spotify, I need you tonight!) before sharing my own thoughts. Some songs I will love, others I’ll hate, and I’m sure there will be those that leave me perplexed but listen to them I shall.
I’ll also try, and most likely fail, to pinpoint the best song from the 1001 on offer but I’m nothing if not foolhardy. Instead of one song, I’m predicting I’ll have about 100 favourites by the end and may have to resort to a Top 10 so far to maintain any semblance of sanity.
So long as I post every day (including Christmas) then this challenge should come to an end on Wednesday 8 November 2021. Staying with the Barney Stinson theme I am hoping that the whole experience will prove to be… legendary!
Pharrell Williams – Happy (2013)
” Happy” is a song written, produced, and performed by American singer Pharrell Williams, released as the first and only single from the soundtrack album for the film Despicable Me 2 (2013). The song was first released on November 21, 2013, alongside a long-form music video.
We say goodbye both to New Jersey and to 2012 as we enter 2013 for just one song. From New Jersey we head over to Virginia where we meet a guy by the name of Pharrell Williams, who we have mentioned previously. He began his career first as a member of The Neptunes and later N.E.R.D. before switching to a solo career at the start of the 21st century. When we join him in 2013 he is trying to write songs for the soundtrack of the 2013 animated film, Despicable Me 2. After multiple failed tracks, Williams made the breakthrough with our featured song today – Happy.
Happy is a pretty self-explanatory song. Williams opens the song by telling the listener that what he is about to say may come across as peculiar but he wants us to know that he is happy, absolutely buzzing in fact with life. He soon follows up by calling on those with negativity and bad news to bring it on and just try to drag him down. It won’t work. Williams is operating on a higher plain, one where he is constantly happy and there is no one who is going to stop him feeling this way.
Arguably the most popular song of 2014 based on awards and sales, Happy was a huge hit for Williams and resonated with many listeners. The song received the ultimate recognition from comedian Weird Al Yankovic who was given permission to compose a parody and came up with the brilliant, Tacky, in response. I was actually more familiar with Yankovic’s song than the one from Williams so it is almost like Pharrell is the one doing the parody! Happy is a repetitive song but it does have a good uplifting beat to it and sometimes that is all a song needs.
Favourite songs so far: