Friday, 7 August 2020
Love Is Just A State Of Mind
Happiness by The Beloved is yet another album that has turned thirty years old this year and is about to be re- issued on double vinyl. Happiness and its singles sound like a big part of 1990 when I hear them now, a record perfectly in tune with the times. Reduced to a duo, Jon Marsh and Steve Waddington wanted to leave the indie guitar scene behind, fired up by the new music they were hearing. Marsh had been to Shoom and Spectrum in 1988 and has spoken of the experiences as being life- changing. With a few new pieces of equipment they set about making an album fusing dance music and pop and the songs they created succeeded massively. Up, Up And Away is 1990 positivity and optimism bottled- 'up, up and away/ hello new day... just look around you/ well it ain't no lie/ H A P P Y'. Your Love Takes Me Higher is the same but for hedonism and love. Don't You Worry, Wake Up Soon, Time After Time... these are the songs of and for people with wide eyes and big smiles and living in the moment. Album closer Found was 1990's most New Order sounding song.
The Sun Rising was their breakthrough single in '89, an ambient house classic with the goosebump bassline kicking in from the off, backwards guitar, an instantly recognisable madrigal sample, and Jon's whispered vocal, a song describing the end of the night, the walk home at dawn, spent but euphoric.
The Sun Rising
The songs on Happiness encapsulate the period as much as many others do, and are probably heard best on a car cassette player or your late teens/ early 20s bedroom stereo, an album reflecting what was going on in clubs and the wider culture. A year later The Beloved released Blissed Out, an album of remixes of songs from Happiness plus a new single It's Alright Now, different versions and tracklists across different formats of lp, cassette and CD. I've posted this clip before, The Beloved promoting It's Alright Now on BBC 2's Dance Energy programme. It's Alright Now is a perfectly judged piece of dance- pop. Why it wasn't a bigger hit is a mystery to me.