Happiness Ltd. - Hot Hot Heat
Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 21 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 21
  2. Negative: 0 out of 21
  1. Happiness Ltd. is an ambitious album that lives up to the high bar that it sets for itself [Summer 2007, p.73]
  2. 80
    Happiness Ltd is all about neat production, inventive time changes and romantically inclined witticisms. [Oct 2007, p.92]
  3. The disco-rock jitters come back soon enough with the next selection, 'Let Me In,' but there's no denying that the group's horizons have broadened. For every throwback Cure sound-alike, such as 'Give Up?,' there's a lush retort featuring the Abbey Road Orchestra-like 'Outta Heart.'
  4. If Hot Hot Heat try a little too hard here, they still pile on infectious charm and solid songwriting until resistance seems futile.
  5. Sure, we can still dance, sing along and tap our feet to anything Happiness Ltd. offers, but it’s the band’s mature tone and dive into gigantic Springsteen-like stadium rockers that set their latest release above any of their others.
  6. The booming choruses, expansive melodies, and serrated guitar lines of the band's past remain--only now they're accompanied by Edgar Allan Poe-faced couplets like ''Happiness is limited/But misery has no end.''
  7. The trademark tempo jiggery remains and it's all threaded together with airy production that underlines rather than overwhelms.
  8. 70
    For much of Happiness, Bays slurs his way through the best music Hot Hot Heat has ever made.
  9. 60
    Hot Hot Heat have recently toned down a lot of their jerkier tendencies and are a lot less annoying for it. [Nov 2007, p.107]
  10. The result is a muddled album that gets even farther away from Hot Hot Heat's former glory even as it tries to recapture it.
  11. 60
    On Happiness Ltd., they admirably mess with success, loading up their spastic, skinny-tie ditties with epic heft. [Oct 2007, p.104]
  12. It's still a blast to listen to Hot Hot Heat when they sound like they're having fun, even if they have to fake it. [Sep/Oct 2007, p.169]
  13. Happiness ultimately falls victim to a faintly generic feel. There’s nothing we haven’t heard before, so reserve the album for background music rather than close listening, and it shouldn’t disappoint.
  14. It's telling, though, that the best song on Happiness is a re-recorded '5 Times Out Of 100,' which originally appeared on the band's debut Sub Pop EP.
  15. Much of Happiness Ltd. suffers from one of the cardinal sins of radio-ready rock: stuffing unmemorable verses between overblown choruses.
  16. Their third, Happiness Ltd, is a sulky teenager, and about as attractive and engaging as that suggests.
  17. 40
    Now, on only their third major-label release, they sound almost middle-aged. [Oct 2007, p.110]
  18. They've delivered their weakest set of songs to date. [Oct 2007, p.98]
  19. Replacement guitarist Luke Paquin is serviceable but stays in the shadows, while vocalist Steve Bays sheds more of HHH's former skin on a sonically big record that offers only rare doses of the pulsating new wave punk energy they once emitted.
  20. So while '5 Times Out of 100' and 'My Best Friend' revive old times, you miss Steve Bay's unhinged vocals and jagged keyboards elsewhere when HHH instead try to compensate with a funky chant- rocker ('Give Up') or a big-drama Raspberries tribute (the title track).

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