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  • Karlee Skipper

EP Review: "Desperate Art" - Happy For Real


Happy For Real blessed their fans with their highly anticipated debut EP, Desperate Art. The five-track project was self-written and pre-produced with the two members before finishing with producer, Gethin Pearson. The EP offers a fresh perspective on the band's identity, embracing a raw and unpolished sound. It symbolizes taking a step back from the pursuit of perfection, allowing the artist to release the pressure of needing to constantly improve. As a result, Desperate Art is a well-crafted project that highlights the duo’s talents and showcases that excellence can be found even when you are not looking for it.


TRACKLIST

Limbo

Phony

Limerence

All the Right Things

News


Happy For Real is an alt-pop duo from Switzerland, consisting of Olivia Virgolin and Marcus Petendi. They made their debut in 2022 with their single, “Falling Asleep”. After two more standalone singles, “News” was released as the lead single for Desperate Art. Happy For Real does not bend to societal norms and pop culture trends. Instead, they allow their own creativity and inspiration to guide their artistic direction. After a journey of musical discovery, Desperate Art contains an edgier and rougher sound from their previous releases, while still maintaining their infectious and enjoyable soundscapes. The duo shows no signs of slowing down, so make sure to follow them on all socials to stay updated on any new releases and announcements!


“Limbo”

Happy For Real kicks off Desperate Art with an energetic anthem that instantly reels the listener into the captivating project. “Limbo” emulates the iconic Red Hot Chili Peppers’s guitar and bass styles while highlighting Happy For Real’s individualistic sound. The two vocalists alternate, with Petendi singing the verses while Virgolin leads the choruses. Their two voices blend flawlessly together with seamless transitions that showcase that the duo were meant to collaborate. Furthermore, not only do their voices work well together, but their songwriting styles are a perfect match. In “Limbo”, Happy For Real shares the story of a relationship that has not yet been defined. The narrator keeps “coming on back to limbo” with their lover, stuck in this purgatory of love and lust. Alongside the lively and bright production, the band effortlessly captures their audience’s attention from the very first track, setting them up for the remainder of the project.


“Phony”

Happy For Real maintains the upbeat, energetic energy with the second track, “Phony”. While the song still contains a sound reminiscent of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it has a mix of 80s influence and modern pop. With a darker atmosphere than the previous song, the guitar provides a unique sound and tone through the background staccato notes, making the song stand out. The candid lyrics share a more serious storyline while maintaining the laidback vibe of the band. Throughout the song, the narrator shares their experience with living in a world filled with high societal standards and feeling that the only way to be fulfilled is to hide one’s true self. Whether these are expectations found in relationships or careers, listeners can resonate with the band’s admirable honesty.


“Limerence”

Happy For Real continues their candor with the compelling third track, “Limerence”. Leaning more on the side of dark-pop and alt-rock, the band shares a story of love, longing, and the complexity of human emotions. Furthermore, the song connects to the theme of hiding who you really are in “Phony”. In the first line of the chorus, Petendi sings: “I would hate for you to figure me out, while I am knocked down.” He confesses that he is so deeply infatuated with his muse, that he is afraid to let his true self show. Love can be delicate and he does not want to show any part of him that may jeopardize their relationship. With a bass-heavy production, the band effortlessly guides the listener through the emotional yet lively track, making it an instant fan-favorite.


“All the Right Things”

Desperate Art's soundscape takes an unexpected shift with the fourth track, “All the Right Things”. The song has more of the modern pop-rock vibe while upholding the bands iconic genre-blending style. In the first verse, the synth is more prevalent and there are more effects on the bass. However, when the chorus hits, the production brings back the band’s iconic 2000s alt-pop sound. Furthermore, the track contains a different structure than the last three. In the previous songs, Petendi and Virgolin alternated as the lead vocalists through the verses and choruses. However, in “All the Right Things”, Virgolin leads only the first verse, before Petendi takes the reins for the rest of the song. This stands out, as it is a stark difference from what the listener is used to, making them ponder the meaning behind the change. With this shift, the band once again proves that they defy expectations and will always keep their fans on their toes, forever being one step ahead.


“News”

Happy For Real closes out their debut project with the lead single, “News”. The electrifying track takes a note from the previous song, once again containing a different structure than the rest of the EP. This time, Virgolin leads the track from beginning to end while Petendi’s harmonizing vocals float in the background. The song kicks off with a drum intro that is reminiscent of the 80s style, before the instrumentation shifts and Virgolin’s voice signifies the first verse. The infectious track symbolizes the band’s newfound self-confidence and their aspiration to create what they love, not what they think the general public would approve. This bold move surely paid off as “News” and the rest of the EP astound listeners with the unique and sonically cohesive soundscape.



Throughout the project, Virgolin and Petendi effortlessly captivate their audience with electrifying guitars, genre-blending sounds, and compelling vocals. They accomplish the nearly impossible feat of taking inspiration from seasoned artists and existing genres and turning them into something uniquely theirs. Happy For Real exudes talent through their art that is so fresh and innovating, they only leave their listeners craving more. From the dynamic soundscape of “Limbo” to the lyrical complexity of “News”, Desperate Art has something for everyone and deserves placement on every new alt-pop playlist.


Written By Karlee Skipper


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