British champs Bastille teamed up with Marshmello to produce the song “Happier,” which is probably the most positive word that will come out of this review.
As an avid fan of Bastille, I’ve rarely had any problems with their musical choices, often declaring them as being one of the most creative and talented acts in the world.
As someone with a lot of problems with Marshmello (like these), on the other hand, I was nervous to listen to the track. Creative powerhouses mixed with cookie-cutter dance beats. Hmm.
I had every intention of reviewing this track when it came out on Aug. 16, but I needed a few days to process it. At first listen, I couldn’t get through it. I hated it. I thought, maybe it’ll grow on me. Not all EDM is bad. Let it settle and then voice your opinions to your countless followers later on (*awkwardly clears throat*).
In situations like this, I like to try to separate the artist from their past discography. If this was a brand new band, what would I think of this track?
Let’s give this game a shot.
Intro: Great. Smith sweetly sings, “Lately, I’ve been, I’ve been thinking/I want you to be happier, I want you to be happier.” Lovely piano. All around great start.
Verses: Follows the same style as the intro. A lot of focus on Smith.
Everything else: …No.
Game over. Crack open the catalog.
It’s hard to understand how this is (partially) from the same band that made songs like “Glory” and “Of The Night.” It’s an incredible shame because you can hear in the lyrics how sad this story truly is (“But we ran our course, we pretended we’re okay/Now if we jump together, at least we can swing/Far away from the wreck we made”).
For a band that has the tendency to write sad songs that sound upbeat, penning “Happier” wasn’t much of a stretch. Without Marshmello, this could have been an impressive song. It could have still been upbeat, poppy, light, whatever. But originality goes a long way, and that’s something that’s gravely missing from “Happier.”
Announcing the song on Instagram, Smith wrote, “We had a lot of fun getting to work on it with Marshmello, who managed to find joy in the melancholy. It’s always good to step into somebody else’s world for a minute.”
I get the want for collaboration. Bastille is known for their mixtapes and partnerships with other artists. That’s fine. Just try to find someone a little more worthy next time, okay, guys?
What I would really love to hear is an acoustic version of this song, much like the One Eyed Jack’s Session of “Quarter Past Midnight” (though to be fair, the original was also amazing). Take out the synths, add more piano. Maybe a guitar. Harmonies. You know, the works.
That would turn this into a 10/10 song. But what do I know. I’m no producer.
‘Happier’ — 6/10
(As an added bonus, I’ve included a fun thread from Reddit detailing many people’s hatred of Marshmello. Just in case you wanted to get ramped like I did.)