If you’ve ever wondered what a surreal visual adaptation of AV Super Sunshine’s blistering “Are You Happy (Radio Mix),” from his powerful Candyland, Vol. 1 LP, would look like in a world where the standard for making a video was a lot higher than it is in this one, you’re in for quite a treasure in the latest release from the mysterious one-man band. The music video for “Are You Happy (Radio Mix)” brings us right into a day in the life of AV Super Sunshine as he goes out looking for a bit of fun in the sun on an overcast summer day. I should probably mention that there’s a Lego go-cart race that comes into play, as well as what would appear to be a heated miniature golf contest, but it might be best to start this review with what matters the most here.
“I was blue, yes I was sad / Waited for the happy to come back / It never came, so I cried / And then these words came from inside,” sings AV in the provocative refrain from the second chorus. His vocal slips in and out of focus as we wander away from the midpoint climax in the track, but even if he were whispering this line to us, the emotion in his voice would be delivering just as affective a statement. He’s clawing against the walls that are closing in around him, trying to keep the flame inside of him burning with as much intensity as it once did, and giving us a piece of himself through these lyrics that isn’t of the same thread that the nightclub beats here are.
It’s interesting to me that these emotive verses, which are full of a poetic honesty that is really refreshing to hear from AV Super Sunshine, are juxtaposed with such a happy-go-lucky melody in the background, but the intentional irony in this track doesn’t escape me at all. When we’re down in the dumps and inconsolably depressed beyond even our own recognition, it doesn’t matter what the backdrop is; whether it be an afternoon at the park or the center of the bumping dancefloor, none of it is relevant to our state of mind. The isolation and loneliness of depression is the very essence of this parallel narrative in both the music video for “Are You Happy (Radio Mix)” as well as the single on its own, and AV’s erudite conveyance of the subject at hand is, in itself, an incredible achievement that any artist would be proud of.
With the races run and our day now done, “Are You Happy (Radio Mix)” concludes with a Hollywood-style happy ending that is perhaps the most cheerful moment in the entire video, depending on your own personal perception of the narrative, and moreover, the context in which you interpret it. Regardless of how you break this song down, it’s a really sensible pop single with a heart as big as its composer’s, and I think that it’s one of the best works that AV Super Sunshine has come up with since his rookie release all the way back in 2015.
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