Happy Rhodes

Building the Colossus

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With Building the Colossus Happy Rhodes took a gentle step in the direction of radio-friendly pop music. The album is more accessible than its predecessors, taking a more straightforward approach both in the songwriting and in the arrangements. It's no surprise, then, that the album contains Happy's first college radio hit, "Collective Heart," which has an unusually strong hook for a Happy Rhodes song. And it's not the only track on the album to fit that description. For example, "Hold Me," with its uncharacteristically simple romantic lyrics and catchy chorus, seems as marketable as anything she's every written. Rhodes and co-producer Kevin Bartlett also rely less heavily on electronics than they have on previous albums, augmenting the familiar synthesizers and electric guitars with nylon and 12-string acoustic guitars. The pretty "Big Dreams, Big Life" eschews electronica entirely, opting for a simple arrangement of acoustic guitar and cello. This song, as well as the stripped down "Omar," anticipate the wholly unplugged sound of her next release, The Keep. Unfortunately, Rhodes retains her predilection for hokey, bouncing melodies ("If I Ever See the Girl Again" and "Building the Colossus" are two particularly egregious examples). All things considered, the album is a good choice for fans looking for a listener-friendly introduction to the Happy Rhodes sound.

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