Happiness review by Dance Gavin Dance

logo Ultimate Guitar
  • Released: Jun 9, 2009
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (46 votes)
Dance Gavin Dance: Happiness
0

Sound — 9
It was hard for me to imagine Dance Gavin Dance without Jonny Craig, but Kurt Travis has showed that the band still can produce its own style of music. With the loss of Jon Mess, however, I was almost certain that the band had to put 110% into their efforts of producing an album that can carry the band. With much anticipation, Happiness delivers a new sound to Dance Gavin Dance fans in a surprisingly well-packaged form. This album features a new style of scream vocals from Will Swan as he takes the helm from Mess's departure. Swan's seemingly more "deep" screams combined with the melodic and improved vocals of Kurt Travis truly create a new sound for Dance Gavin Dance (check Tree Village), but not to the point where it's unfamiliar to fans. There are songs, however, that stray away from previous sounds and introduce a "party-like" theme as portrayed in Don't Tell Dave and Powder to the People. I took this as a fresh breathe of air because it shows a side of Dance Gavin Dance that I haven't heard before. The guitar work is what you would expect from Dance Gavin Dance. This, added with effects and Matt Mingus' superb drum work, as shown in "Self-Trepanation", create a new and unique sound to the band. I'll admit, I had to take a little time and effort to truly appreciate Happiness for what it is, but I'm glad I did.

Lyrics — 8
The lyrics are generally what you would expect from Dance Gavin Dance but songs such as Don't Tell Dave stood out the most, and not always in a good way. "Talk on the phone, telling everybody that we're gonna have a real good time / And we don't care if it gets a little rowdy, everything is gonna be alright" The simplicity of these lyrics did make me ponder on the direction of the album, but it wasn't to the point where I would not listen. Despite some of the strange lyrical direction in some songs, there are moments where the signature Dance Gavin Dance style shines through in songs such as NASA: "I drained the well, so the town has no water / I cut the powerlines and buried the graves / I drank the blood from the fortunate ones / And self-destruction 'cause we're all the same" Overall, there are surprises throughout the album as the band explores different lyrical areas to match their evolving sound.

Overall Impression — 9
Dance Gavin Dance is not what it used to be in Downtown Battle Mountain, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. This band shows its resilience through several lineup changes in the vocal and bass department to continue and progress their own sound while still exploring new areas. Happiness sets the stage for the direction Dance Gavin Dance is headed with a firm lineup with Kurt Travis taking the helm. Now stop reading this review and listen to the album!

28 comments sorted by best / new / date

    heluimvoice
    first! and it's a pretty good album, but honestly, i like their first EP the best...
    rcsierra
    this album was nothing special. kurts lyrics were appalling. they were what you would expect a 13yr old bunch of kids in a band writing their first song. the music was great, will maintained his high standard as per normal and drums were great. but its no DBM as stated.
    metalxsymphony
    petey0707 wrote: I agree with everything the review says, only I don't agree on his approach on the party songs, simple lyrics are critical if your trying to make something catchy and not seemingly complex like NASA, which I think he failed to realize (which doesn't surprise me). Great album overall, though I prefer their self-titled over this.
    Not necessarily. Listen to anything Taking Back Sunday has done, or the Format. They might not be in the same vein as DGD (though TBS is considered post-hardcore in a lot of ways) they have catchy songs that never skimp on their content. Equally catchy and as lyrically mature would be the goal.
    leo11x
    I hate when people says that DBM is the best album of the band, seriusly just half of the album is excellent, the other part just feels the same as any other post-hardcore band, yeah jonny craig has a very good voice but that album has a common singing style. self-titled and happiness are more evolved musical works. I like post-hardcore, i liked DBM, but if you enjoy music in general and not only rude distortions and super never ending rolling drums youll recognize that the last two albums are better than DBM or Whatever i say... Seriusly , did you enjoy jonnys never ending yeaaaaa yeaaaaa yeaaaaa?
    Ryrylynch
    I love all Dance Gavin Dance But I have to say there new album is best. With its fresh funky new tone & overall happy feel I think it has to be one of the most innovative and best albums of our time.
    ninjagayden777
    Not too happy that mess left. Will can scream, but it seems a bit too deep for thier brand of music. Jon had a very unique scream, which is something that is very hard to come by. Anyone know if he's going to be doing any other work with other bands?
    petey0707
    I agree with everything the review says, only I don't agree on his approach on the party songs, simple lyrics are critical if your trying to make something catchy and not seemingly complex like NASA, which I think he failed to realize (which doesn't surprise me). Great album overall, though I prefer their self-titled over this.
    br4ve
    I agree with the Reverand here, I can't listen to their previous works the whole way through without getting bored - this album on the other hand grabs me and holds on the whole way offering something exciting in each track. The guitar work is amazing it shines and I think is what makes this band what it is. The vocals are also very clean and there are some great melodies in there. solid effort!
    br4ve
    "Just because you move your hips doenst mean that you exist just because you move your lips doesnt mean that you exist - can we just take a ****ing break"
    imsimon
    Happiness is a party album through and through! I love how the title track is about someone drowning
    snarkysays4
    I love this album, but the other ones were better. But when people hear a band edge towards a different sound they say, "it doesn't sound the same, and I hate it." Yeah this album was a little bit different but it was good nonetheless.
    gavincandance
    The LINE wrote: It's all been downhill since Downtown Battle Mountain. Excellent guitar and drum work as usual, they just haven't been the same since Jonny and Johnathan left. I tried to like this album, I really did, but in the end, it's no DBM or Whatever I Say is Royal Ocean.
    see that's the thing, it's not trying to be. that's kind of why i like this album (not my favorite, but still great). it's hard to expect a band to have the same sound when 3 members leave, especially when 2 of those were both the vocalists. i think they're doing well for the lineup changes they've endured.
    §ynysterSte
    very good album, took me a while to get into though. Downtown battle mountain is my favourite album of all time but i still enjoyed most of the songs on the record like happiness and tree village.
    Macabre Lullaby
    Downtown Battle Mountain shall forever be excellent. The songs from the Death Star album (not that I've heard the entire album) just didn't grab me as much, but they're still good. I haven't listened to this yet, but I seem to like what I'm hearing. I like bands that can shake it up every now and then. I'm looking forward to hearing it!
    The LINE
    It's all been downhill since Downtown Battle Mountain. Excellent guitar and drum work as usual, they just haven't been the same since Jonny and Johnathan left. I tried to like this album, I really did, but in the end, it's no DBM or Whatever I Say is Royal Ocean.
    Faux~Affliction
    I think this is a fabulous album. I'd even put it above any of their other albums to be honest. The vocals are great and Kurts singing is ALOT more interesting than Jonnys same-old high pitched singing. I notice that the instrumentals in this album seem to have progressed. The guitar-work is effects-ladden and tons of work seems to have been put into it. It's rare that they just cheap out and throw power/octave-chords into the song for the sake of laziness (like most bands do.) The drumming is also fantastic. This album seems to have created a really interesting fusion aswell, the instrumentals are almost psychedelic-funk at some points. I originally thought I would miss the screaming of Jon Mess, but I managed to look past that and have placed this album in one of my all time favorites. Happiness is a greaaat album, I'm honestly almost confused at the ratings it's getting.
    gavincandance
    TheReverend724 wrote: The Spoon wrote: Am i the only one who likes Dont Tell Dave? DTD is an awesome song as much as I love all of DGD's albums, this is the only one where I can listen to the whole thing through without getting bored (except maybe Death Star Instrumental) Happiness is awesome, and I kinda guessed it was you, GCD, who wrote this review lol also check out their warped tour interview, its pretty funny
    hahah, i was really bored in the early morning, and figured hell, why not?
    TheReverend724
    The Spoon wrote: Am i the only one who likes Dont Tell Dave?
    DTD is an awesome song as much as I love all of DGD's albums, this is the only one where I can listen to the whole thing through without getting bored (except maybe Death Star Instrumental) Happiness is awesome, and I kinda guessed it was you, GCD, who wrote this review lol also check out their warped tour interview, its pretty funny
    sigur_ros6
    sean o'sullivan was the real loss from the band. As soon as he left everything went downhill. I like a couple of songs from this cd. NASA is pretty good, but it just doesn't feel good as a whole to me
    The Spoon
    This is my favorite album by them. Songwriting got so much better from the ST. Am i the only one who likes Dont Tell Dave? The only problem i have with this album is the chorus of Strawberry Swishers Pt 1. And the high pitched guitar noises on Powder to the People
    Redxrock
    i love the new vocals on this cd, though the party songs wouldn't be missed
    Armoire
    This is a good album, Kurt Travis did a monster job with vocals, as you can tell with both of the Strawberry Swishers.
    ShrimpthePimp
    this has easily become my favorite CD. I've been listening to the whole thing, first thing when I wake up, for the past 16 days straight. this isn't a good album, its great. i have never been a fan of Dance Gavin Dance...until now. I recommend this CD to fans of good music.
    gavincandance
    yeah, i agree. this album is great, but there are times where i miss songs like "it's safe to say you dig the backseat" or even "hot water on wool". i just couldn't find a song at those calibur (for me) in happiness. still a great album, nonetheless, because of the direction they're going in.