Year 6, Day 33: Our Lady Peace – Happiness… Is Not a Fish You Can Catch
- One Man Army
- Happiness & The Fish
- Potato Girl
- Is Anybody Home?
- Lying Awake
- Consequence of Laughing
- Stealing Babies
About the Album
Happiness… Is Not a Fish You Can Catch (or from here on out, Happiness…) is the third studio album album from Canadian alternative rockers, Our Lady Peace. The album was recorded January 1999 through June 1999 and released on September 21st 1999 through Columbia Records. The album debuted at number one on the Canadian Albums Charts and is certified 3x platinum by the Canadian Recording Industry Association.
Thoughts on the Album
Let’s finish this week out, weird. Did you know that happiness isn’t a fish you can catch? If you didn’t, well now you know. I remember back in high school (2005-2008) looking at this kid’s backpack and he had either written on it in white fabric paint or a pin that read “OUR LADY PEACE”. I was trying figure out what it meant. So using the dial up internet and after three hours of searching the internet, I discovered that they were a rock band from Canada. So figured to check them out. Flash forward to present day and two of the albums that have stuck with me have been their second album, Clumsy and today’s album, and their third, Happiness… Is Not a Fish You Can Catch.
I don’t know why these two albums have stuck with me since high school. Maybe it’s the pure ambition and grandeur that these albums have. But anyway onto Happiness…. II’m to make the argument that Happiness… is flat out Our Lady Peace‘s best album they’ve produced. Having some of the band’s more memorable cuts like One Man Army and Stealing Babies, Happiness… also combines the many different styles of their first two albums. The band does an amazing job of effectively incorporating the song writing and musical depth that was Naveed with the catchy hooks and accessibility of Clumsy into an album that is fun, interesting album that is a piece of quintessential 1990’s alternative rock. However, this is not Our Lady Peace just resting on their laurels. Nope, not by a long shot. This album builds off of previous successes. It’s an album that sounds, fresh, new, and exciting all at the same time, which is something other bands in the genre can’t say they achieved this feat.
The true showcase of Happiness… is vocalist Raine Maida. His vocals take front and center stage and are excellent. In a genre were you need powerful vocals, Maida has them. The music is energetic and lively and at some points, emotional. I will say about Maida’s vocals is that, they are at their most bizarre (seriously give Annie or Consequence of Laughing a listen, and you’ll find out just what I mean). His vocals, however bizarre at points on the album are exceedingly enjoyable to listen to. The lyrics and song writing are just as ambiguous and metaphorical as previous releases. It’s 43 minutes of Our Lady Peace is at their best as they wave their magic wand through infectious, anthemic choruses; with soft, vocal driven verses; as well as acoustic intros that are absolutely chilling and rhythm sections that the entirety of the band makes contributions to.
The album opener, One Man Army, is a mid-tempo rocker and an incredibly upbeat cut. It has arguably the best and most effective chorus on the album with Maida’s vocals seemingly stealing the spotlight. However, the driving bass lines, guitar riffs, and keys add much needed depth around Maida’s vocals. The follow up track, Happiness & The Fish, takes it in an entirely different direction (and atmosphere). While One Man Army is more upbeat, Happiness & The Fish is more serious. Albeit, Happiness & The Fish maintains that frantic edge that it’s predecessor has, the lyrical content is a complete 180. Here the lyrical content rather than musical ability is on full display. The second single, Is Anybody Home?, is a incredibly song that starts of with muted vocals before Maida explodes onto the scene with a driving bass groove, pounding drums, and an incredibly talk box melody that burrows into your head and stays there. Then it drops right off into the chorus with subdued guitars and vocals.
The album is closed out by the tracks, Consequences of Laughing and Stealing Babies in fantastically strong fashion. Consequences of Laughing features bass lines and guitar riffs that grow during the verses were Raida’s vocals shine. It’s here on Consequence of Laughing where Maida goes into the strangest falsetto I’ve ever heard. Stealing Babies is the strongest track on the album, in humblest of opinions. It’s tense and angsty atmosphere that builds up into this soft and jazzy interlude that just explodes into a chaotic mess of heavy distortion guitar riffs, keys, bass lines, and drums.
I’m upset… Happiness is not a fish you can catch
Happiness… Is Not a Fish You Can Catch is an incredibly strong (and somehow peak Canadian) album. Blending together what made their two previous albums work best with more infectious hooks and accessibility, Our Lady Peace is at top form. While every track seems to follow a formula, they all manage to sound fresh and new; though some tracks are weaker than other tracks. Frontman Raine Maida‘s unique and memorable falsetto is so much fun and enjoyable to listen to. Happiness… is one of the better cuts of 1990’s alternative rock.