November 24th, 2007 at 12:44 pm (Rheostatics)
6. Rheostatics - Introducing Happiness
The third of three Rheostatics albums to make my top 10. Stylistically this is definitely the most varied album of their career and also contains the most songs of any one album. Introducing Happiness was the one with the hit. In 1994 Claire was everywhere. They won a Genie Award for “Best Original Song” as it was also the centrepiece of the “Whale Music Soundtrack” which also came out in 1994. It is the third proper studio album in a row to be considered classic Rheostatics after Melville in 1991 and Whale Music in 1992.
Introducing Happiness is a tough nut to crack for the casual fan. It is a grower of an album which gradually lulls you in with each repeated listen. I remember when I first started listening to it that I wasn’t even sure if I liked it. But gradually it rose to the top of my list of rheos favorites. Perseverance pays off as this is rich tapesty of an album. I has the quirkiness of Fan Letter To Michael Jackson and Full Moon Over Russia to the bizarre of Cephallus Worm/Uncle Henry which is kind of like a tripped out version of a White Album era Paul McCartney song. It has the poppiness of Claire and Introducing Happiness, the gentleness of Row and Take Me In Your Hand, and the epic progginess of Onilley’s Strange Dream, In This Town and Digital Beach. And there is some punkiness as well with their take on the Jane Sibbery song One More Colour. The island vibe of Alomar speaks to the environment it was recorded in as the band went to the Bahamas to record this one. Here is an interview with the band about it.
This album, Whale Music and Melville really are the foundation of what the Rheostatics legend is built on but it is not the whole story. They would go on to record 3 more “regular” studio albums, The Blue Hysteria, Night Of The Shooting Stars and 2067 as well as a “children’s album” The Story of Harmelodia and an album commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada which was Music Inspired By The Group Of Seven. There was also The Nightline Sessions which you really need to hear in order to not understand. No other Canadian band quite captured the feeling of Canada and of being Canadian than the Rheostatics. And very few have a body of work which can even compare in both variety, style, quality of songwriting and musicianship. With the Rheos, either you get it or you don’t. But when you do there is no turning back. When they played their last show at Massey Hall on March 30 2007, people flew in from all corners of Canada and the USA to be a part of it. From Florida to San Diego and from Victoria to Newfoundland. They were just that kind of band. As Gord Downie states at the beginning of their Live Between Us album “we’re all richer for having seen them tonight”. It was like that every time you saw them.
Here is the excellent video for Claire
and a live version of Fan Letter To Michael Jackson from Much Music
Track Listing is:
1. Fan Letter to Michael Jackson
2. Introducing Happiness
3. One More Colour
5. Digital Beach
6. Earth/Monstrous Hummingbird
8. Full Moon Over Russia
9. Take Me in Your Hand
10. Jesus Was Once a Teenager Too
11. Me and Stupid
12. Fish Tailin’
13. Woods Are Full of Cuckoos
14. Cephallus Worm/Uncle Henry
15. In This Town
17. You Are a Treasure
18. Onilley’s Strange Dream
Introducing Happiness did not chart in Bob Mersereau’s book The Top 100 Canadian Albums.