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Review: Soft Cell - Happiness Not Included


Text: Edgi

Pictures: Soft Cell FB




In the colorful SYNTH POP/New Romantic years of the 1980s, the bookish Marc Almond brought a little contrast in this field -- dark and blurred, and he observes the underground fringe world in detail. Marc's solo career is even more artistic. Twenty years goes on, Soft Cell duo Marc Almond and Dave Ball finally got together. The latest album Cruelty Without Beauty since 2002, the duo come back with the album *Happiness Not Included in their age of 60s. As long-awaited comeback, so no matter what, I am excited even before listening to it.





Just looking at the cover and the name of the disc, it is clear that it is a satire, implementing Soft Cell's dark observation of life, like the fine print in the manual, which does not include that and does not include, of course, happiness. The same is true of all kinds of illusions in life, which vaguely lead people into traps, but it turns out that they own nothing.

Veteran musicians have always released new albums, they are full of halo and sophisticated technique. They are galloping on existing style, leading people to listen comfortably and sit firmly throughout the process. This one is no exception, but seeing the sights that the old driver can take you along the way to make you scream.





The <Happy Happy Happy> that popped up at the beginning was their consistent reverse dark, that is, the kind of desire that appeared on the surface and then fell into the abyss of the soul. The lyrics question the 21st century's greater control over modern people. <Polaroid> pays homage to Andy Warhol's Factory era. Is the sinister electronic beat a metaphor for the people in the Factory who are fighting for their own youth? <Bruises On All My Illusions> The subtle beat dance music drives people out of despair. <Purple Zone>, which once became the focus, yet became the only "disadvantage" of the album. This song sings with the Pet Shop Boys, regardless of whether it is too "Always On My Mind", it is probably because Neil Tennant's pop genes are too strong, like an extrovert walking with an introvert, the bright and cheerful one is too catchy, and the one who is low-keyed (Yes this is Marc) suddenly becomes a passerby. <Heart Like Chernobyl> A new interpretation of the old history of Chernobyl, well, the world doesn't seem to have changed much. <Light Sleeper> is really a typical new-romantic ballad. The saxophone and the bright piano play together the chic and gloomy like Visage in the past. The title of the album is <Happiness Not Included>, which seems to continue to pay tribute to the team of the same period, coming with Blancmange's Middle Eastern music & synth, but complaining about the unspeakable online world. The high-spirited <Nostalgia Machine> is really thick-skinned while watching the tech world indifferently. The flirtatious uncle sings a nostalgic time machine, I am me, the best must be in the past tense, of course, it may be self-deprecating. Don't forget that the new romantics is to turn the old against the new, stick to the good in history, and fight against the so-called "development" created by market monsters.






As an aside, Marc Almond has always been candid about his unease about old age and the loss of youth, which is the absolute opposite of Boy George. This mentality is also reflected in the musical compositions when they are in their 60s. Boy George's new music work insists on mature and evolved into "Man George", Marc Almond's angular and enchanting work <Nighthwaks> makes it clear that he does not recognize his old age. The whole body's electronic cells are in agitation, and it is definitely in line with the avant-garde such as <Sex Drwaf>. Marc, who is suitable for both movement and stillness, sings a heartbreaking and moving slow song, which is his strong point -- <I'm Not a Friend of God> frankly confessed that in the turbulent times, God is indifferent. <Tranquiliser> Uncle Marc still groaned at the anguish of nothing new under the sun. The flowers and peace of the 60s have been forgotten. Hippies can't help but become old and slick, and waiting to die. <New Eden> is looking forward to leaving the modern world that has been messed and finding a new world, or the uncle changes his angle and waits the brave new world after death?

In the world of Soft Cell, happiness is always a matter of gain and loss, and truly realize the darkness of reality.