Miike Snow – Happy to You

written by: March 26, 2012
Release Date: March 27, 2012


Miike Snow is an electronic band that surfaced a few years ago with its self-titled debut album, a side project between two friends from Sweden. If you haven’t heard of Miike Snow before, you’ve probably heard its production and songwriting work on a song called “Toxic” by Britney Spears, the avenue through which members Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg (also known as Bloodshy and Avant) met the third and final band member, Andrew Wyatt.

The band’s second album, Happy to You, has 10 new songs for electronic fans to scour and a bunch of new songs for DJs and other artists to remix to high heaven. To cut to the chase, this album is good. It’s a strong pop-electronic album in both production and songwriting. As expected, every little effect, every little sample, every melody, every riff and every part of the instrumentals are processed and engineered to sound as perfect as humanly possible. That’s no surprise to Miike Snow fans.

What is surprising is how members of Miike Snow have used their skills to strip this album down to the bare essentials during certain songs. Most notably, the percussion on this album doesn’t feel like it was made with machines; there are drum rolls and tempo changes that feel extremely real and organic compared with that generic soulless 4/4 drum beat we’ve all heard a million times before. On top of that, each drum hit on the record is mixed to absolute perfection, and the right sound is highlighted for every song and every mood they were going for.

Among the common themes that the songs on this album share are the melodies that sound like they were forced out of their keyboards in a sticky, staccato way that can only be compared with something like what the Rapture would do if they’d been locked in a room with synthesizers instead of guitars, or what the Faint might sound like if they were still making music.

The main piano riff of the album’s single, “Devil’s Work,” the album’s second single, “Bavarian #1 (Say You Will),” and “Pretender,” have a stop-start feel to the main melody that is almost unsettling but so catchy at the same time. As the songs progress, Miike Snow keeps augmenting these melodies further and further as the song goes on, playing it on different instruments and eventually climaxing into a giant sound that suddenly stops and takes you to the next song.

The lyrical content on this album is hit or miss. Some songs have lines that you just can’t help but sing along to once the beat and the melody are engrained into your head, like the main hook/chorus in “Pretender”: “I didn’t wanna wake up, but then I found some time/Now I notice that I drink too much, in the turning of the universe.” You have no idea what to think of them, but it gives you something for your brain to chew on through each listen.

The refrain on the last track on the album, “Paddling Out,” goes: “There’s someone here that laughs too hard at everything,” in a way that’s so poppy and catchy that it could almost get some radio airplay, and it’s not even one of the singles on the album.

At the end of the day, Happy to You is a solid collection of songs. There isn’t a bad one in the lot of them from the quick, poppy and catchy to the slow and introspective songs that actually make you sit down and contemplate while you’re listening to them, and those might be the best ones on the album.

Miike Snow also tastefully used all its studio magic. It isn’t over the top or obnoxious, and it shows on songs like “God Help This Divorce” that consist of fluttering and shimmering piano notes similar to Animal Collective and dark lyrics that are pulled off in a dead-pan, nonchalant style that will still have you singing along to the chorus: “She was a beauty queen, but I held her down, down, down.” On the first listen, you don’t realize what the hell you’re actually saying because the melody is so infectious.

Happy to You might have benefited from more heavy-hitter songs like the aforementioned “God Help This Divorce” and Miike Snow could have taken a more artistic direction, but you simply can’t ignore the infectious and simplistic goodness of the more poppy tracks on this album.

Miike Snow – Happy to You tracklist:

  1. “Enter the Jokers Lair”
  2. “The Wave”
  3. “Devil’s Work”
  4. “Vase”
  5. “God Help This Divorce”
  6. “Bavarian #1 (Say You Will)”
  7. “Pretender”
  8. “Archipelago”
  9. “Black Tin Box” (featuring Lykke Li)
  10. “Paddling Out”