Review: CHARLES SPEARIN // The Happiness Project

October 13, 2009

The Happiness Project w/ braille on cover

The Happiness Project w/ braille on cover

Man oh man. Seriously? This is incredible. This celebrates all that is glorious and moving and human and deeply personal about music. This draws a direct line from one’s heart to one’s smile.

Charles Spearin’s The Happiness Project is everything that has been lacking in modern music for the past 10 years. No indie posturing. No ego. No cooler than thou. No self-referential bullshit. Just beautiful music celebrating what it is to be a human being, living, day by day. Each track is the musical exposition of conversations that Charles Spearin (DoMakeSayThink, Broken Social Scene) had with his neighbours on the topic of happiness. The honesty and non-pretension and immediacy of each neighbour is obvious (I think I’d like his neighbourhood).

Mrs. Morris …. “Happiness is love!” Indeed. Not only is she joyous and honest, but Charles couldn’t have found a better woman to accidentally provide the hypothesis of the project in its its purest form. Her laughter is contagious!

Vittoria is my favorite. The saxophone is being reclaimed! Big band that doesn’t sound like cheesy rehab shite! Great grooves, a seriously cute kid, and a giant smile across my face. Yeah, thats right. Bad. Ass. Saxophone.

Vanessa offers a voice that we hear so seldom – this is part pun and part sad truth – that within the music community there is surprisingly little diversity or participants with a disability. Its a heartwarming tale of a deaf woman engaging with sound. “And then I learnt that sound is electricity.”

Marisa is a little sad… her answer is cliched, the voice of a woman who has been broken by ‘the system’, by our corporate culture, by a lack of actual real connections to human beings. I feel a little sorry for her.

Mr. Gowrie is Marisa’s anti-oxident — a man who see’s our culture for what it is, as an outsider, someone who grew up in the developing world and has immigrated here. His realism and acknowledgement of the forces at play in this world is set in stark contrast to Marisa’s walled emotions.


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