With a title like Get Happy, Pink Martini's fifth album could very well be filled with perky vocal pop, but the group offers something a little more nuanced here. This collection is more eclectic in mood and sound than 2009's Splendor in the Grass, which was fittingly romantic but focused more on the light pop aspect of their sound. During the time between that album and this one, Pink Martini pursued some more wide-ranging projects, including 1969, where they interpreted some of that year's biggest songs with Japanese vocalist Saori Yuki. That eclectic spirit seems to have rubbed off on Get Happy, which gives equal time to their tender and playful sides -- and sometimes both at once: "Zundoko-bushi" sounds like the theme to a Japanese spy movie from the '60s, but a glance at the liner notes reveals it's about a lovelorn man remembering a woman who writes love letters with her tears. As it turns out, Get Happy's title isn't so much a command as it is a wish; most of these songs are more about needing happiness than having it. As always, the group's collaborations are preeminent. This time, their guest stars include Rufus Wainwright, who turns in a touching version of his aunt Anna McGarrigle's "Kitty Come Home" and a Broadway-esque rendition of the title track; Meow Meow, who delivers a fittingly kittenish cover of "I'm Waiting for You," a song originally recorded by Chinese actress/singer Bai Guang in 1947; and Phyllis Diller, whose poignant version of "Smile" closes the album (and was also one of her final recordings before her death in 2012). Get Happy also marks the recording debut of new Pink Martini vocalist Storm Large, whose smoky tones make an elegant contrast to longtime singer China Forbes' sparkling vocals. Large sounds particularly alluring on "Quizas, Quizas, Quizas" and "Sway," while Forbes shines on "Je Ne T'Aime Plus," a breezy duet with Philippe Katerine, as well as a simple, and simply lovely, version of "What'll I Do?" All in all, Get Happy is the best example of everything Pink Martini can do since Hey! Eugene; even though it isn't quite as well-rounded as that album, the depth the group shows here is a welcome return to form.
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares