Universal acclaim - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. With Happy Songs for Happy People, Mogwai gets to have it both ways -- it's ironic and sincere, concise and expansive, challenging and accessible, and it's one of the band's best albums, no two ways about it.
  2. Several of the shorter tracks feel like little more than filler.
  3. A sonically cinematic experience that will leave the listener feeling at once elated and emotionally drained. [Aug 2003, p.94]
  4. Happy Songs for Happy People offers many of the thrills of Rock Action, but without the diversity and succinctness that made that album shine.
  5. What really makes this record engaging is that the simmering tension often chooses not to explode, yet somehow it works.
  6. Moving well beyond the claustrophobic and listless tendencies of earlier releases and doing away with their predictably two-dimensional dynamics, this is Mogwai's strongest album to date.
  7. Happy Songs is epic and subtle, technically savvy and emotionally charged and visceral all at once -- in short, it's a summary of everything that is great about Mogwai's music.
  8. 100
    Represents an ultramodern rock masterpiece, low-key yet ominous, offering new yet comforting ways of singing familiar tunes. [Jul 2003, p.98]
  9. Their most intriguing, beautiful and dazzling record to date.
  10. The Stephen Kings of menacing post-rock, it seems that in absence of Young Team's glorious cacophany their tremendous build-up often comes to nothing. And it sounds as though they've come to terms with that.
  11. This is Mogwai distilled to their essence, and the result is an album of huge power, emotional depth and feeling, with vocals submerged under a claustrophobic blanket of effects and guitars battling with viola, cello, violin and piano. It's just as Eno as it is S***t, and all the greater for that.
  12. In the end, Happy Songs might sound like Mogwai's earlier work or be unapproachable to the listener who spends his time chilling in Sam Goody, but that doesn't mean it's not one of the most amazing albums of the year.
  13. They've crucially learned that musical light and shade need not only be flaring explosions, but melodic sunrises too. [Jul 2003, p.109]
  14. The music by bands on this kind of eternal blissful bummer trip walks a fine line between bewitching and dire; in the case of Mogwai, it's usually the former.
  15. May well come to be regarded as Mogwai's graduation from unproven Young Team to mature, veteran rock outfit.
  16. Though the group largely downplays their skull-splitting excesses, their songs resonate with a fury that a lifetime worth of broken power-chords couldn't match.
  17. The highlights would be far better suited to lesser status on a great album, and turning away from the impressive vocal performances of Rock Action to fully retreat into vocoders and hushed mumbling is a step backwards. [Note: Score listed is an average of two separate reviews, scoring 91 and 72.]
  18. Happy Songs finds middle ground between brevity and meandering.
  19. 70
    Refines their grandiose panoramics via electronic gurgles and glitches. [Jul 2003, p.111]

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