The Top 50 Albums of Year 2010… #03 HURTS “Happiness”
03. HURTS “Happiness”
A remarkable way to introduce yourself to the world, the debut album from HURTS stands tall as one of the greatest accomplishments in British Music History. With its gut-wrenching themes and knife-deep lyrics, beautiful pop melodies interspliced with depression of the highest order, this is a breathtaking example of a band who can nail that bittersweet appeal I often look for in my pop music oh-so-well.
It’s tenderly upsetting themes filled with momentary bursts of optimism in songs like “Silver Lining” and the truly exceptional “Wonderful Life” that put HURTS way ahead of anybody else channelling those musical feelings. But none more-so than their largely sonic, brave and properly epic masterpiece, “Devotion”, the holy grail amongst a collection of perfect pop songs that features our very own Kylie Minogue as a guest vocalist. The results are soul-crumpling, with its closing minute – a mainly instrumental send-off whose only vocals come courtesy of stunning Kylie ad-libs for added high-intensity emotional effect – that make this the grandest moment on Happiness.
This is also – maybe – the album it’s the hardest to write anything about, and thus is the one I chose to write probably the least of in my final wrap-up, simply because of just how much of a personal affect it had on me, or even for the kind of connection I made with its often sombre lyrics. Ironically – and knowingly so – titled “Happiness”, this album very rarely shifts away from the torturous matters of the heart and for someone who tends to wear his own heart carelessly on his sleeve, a lot of the moments within this record hit home at an incredibly violent and rapid rate. That’s not to say this isn’t a truly beautiful masterpiece, because it definitely IS that – and so much more. Happiness is a truly great, thunderously stunning pop album that, had I not been such a lovestruck loser in life, may not have connected with me as deeply as it did, and because of that I’m incredibly grateful for its existence. It’s a record that got me through rough patches in a sadistic fashion; whenever I’m upset I often tend to surround myself in art that’s going to make me even more-so. It’s a process that, in the end, helps get everything out faster than dwelling on it, and I genuinely think that’s something twistedly-beautiful that music can achieve better than any other art-form. And HURTS have evidently done it better on their first album than most artists can after five.