Friday, March 21, 2014

Pharrell Makes His Mark and it's a Plus Sign

By now you've heard Pharrell Williams's worldwide phenomenon, "Happy." The song, from the film "Despicable Me 2" was nominated for a 2014 Oscar. I have a feeling Mr. Williams doesn't mind that he didn't take the prize. Do you remember the song that won? I don't.

I knew nothing about the International Day of Happiness, but Williams has taken part and "Happy" is the theme song. I like it in all the video renditions I've found:

Happy a capella with some hilarity and fun editing

Happy a capella a bit more slick

Happy in Beiruit

Happy in Beijing

Happy in Belfast

And we're just getting started.

There's a lot to like, not least of which is Pharrell Williams' own performance (my favorite, much of it shot at LA's Union Station and other downtown locations). He's got a bit of a Curtis Mayfield tingle to his tenor, and it turns out Williams is a Mayfield fan. I am, too. But though "Pusherman" is a great song, it's way different from "Happy."

[Verse 2:]
Here come bad news talking this and that, yeah,
Well, give me all you got, and don’t hold back, yeah,
Well, I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine, yeah,
No offense to you, don’t waste your time
Here’s why
Because I'm happy...

"Happy" has a PR machine behind it, but I think it caught on because people are into the message: "You can try, but you can't knock me off my center because I choose to be happy." Yessir, happiness is a choice.

Now, if I'm in the process of being attacked or I'm at the point of starvation, that's too glib. But many of us live in less dire situations and we still grumble. ("My lumbago hurts"..."I have too much work to do"..."Wall Street bankers are crooks..." Well, they are.)

But poo on that, as Verse 2 addresses. I choose to be happy anyway. Some days I forget it's in my power, which is why I have little signs taped all over my wall.

I've been home all week with a cold and have barely moved from my armchair. I thank Pharrell Williams and video shooters around the world for the regular reminders that I have nothing to complain about. I have one hell of an earworm but I'm in a good mood.

Here's ours, from PCC.

22 comments:

ben wideman said...

It is a great song, though anyone who has little kids has definitely not forgotten Oscar winning "Let It Go" from Frozen... mostly because it is sung around the clock by anyone under the age of 10.

William Kendall said...

I'd managed to avoid hearing it until the other day when we had International Happiness Day.

Petrea Burchard said...

I'm not sure I'll look for it, Ben. And thanks for the suggestion of the Kiev video. It's political, as you said. And the comments are interesting.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7B5AXBFeRLM&feature=youtu.be

William, I guess it's too late for you now.

LONDONLULU said...

This is likely the only Oscar nominated song I know - I've enjoyed hearing it a *lot* lately. Now, off to check out your smile-inducing links!

sonia a. mascaro said...

Happy post, Petrea!
Thanks for the links too.

I found Happy in São Paulo, Brazil". Link: We are happy from São Paulo.

Kalei's Best Friend said...

Music is definitely universal...love the videos.

Dina said...

If you're in a good mood despite being sick, Petrea, the song and the world movement of "Happy" did their magic. yay!

Don't miss ours from Jerusalem where you see many of the best places in town:

http://youtu.be/-oszKeU7lEs

Petrea Burchard said...

Long day, long delay in responding! Thank you all for your comments.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Sun Ra told me not to open any of those links because that song will burrow itself in my head and I will chose not to be happy if that should occur

Petrea Burchard said...

I always have at least one song stuck in my head. Usually a medley. I have no power over that, but sometimes I can choose what it's going to be. Otherwise I'll pick up something awful from the grocery store sound track. Right now I have Happy/I'd Do Anything for Love/Love Needs a Heart. I worked hard to get these but soon enough they'll be overtaken by Sugar Sugar/Wipeout/Soldier Boy.

Bellis said...

I'm glad the videos had subtitles because I always thought he was singing Clap alone, not Clap along. I really like the original video, shot in places in LA, quite a few of which I recognized. The PCC one was really good as well. Thanks for the 10 minutes of Happy!

Petrea Burchard said...

If you look closely you'll catch a couple of quick shots from Mountain View Mausoleum.

altadenahiker said...

Hey, nice job, PCC.

José Mendonça said...

I don't remember the song that won the Oscar either, but I feel 'happy' just looking at the fabulous pic above! :-)

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, José!

Margaret said...

I love that song. I've told my family that I claiming it as my theme song.

Petrea Burchard said...

We can share it, Margaret.

Ms M said...

A "happy" post, Petrea. And I hope you feel better soon!

Ann Erdman said...

I had a friend years ago who made a habit of being in a constant state of misery. I finally disentangled myself from that relationship -- happily!

Happiness is definitely a state of mind...and perhaps a discipline for some.

I'm humming Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry Be Happy" as I write this!

Petrea Burchard said...

I like that phrase, Ann: "a discipline." For those who didn't grow up this way (I didn't), it may take some work. But it's worth it.

TheChieftess said...

Such a fun song and I LOVE that it's gone world wide...
Hope you're feeling better...

Petrea Burchard said...

Indeed I am, Chieftess, thank you.