Graham Coxon - Happiness In Magazines - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Graham Coxon - Happiness In Magazines

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:2004-05-17

When Graham Coxon started creating solo works when he was still with Blur, they seemed a wilful reaction against the often poppy and tuneful albums he was helping produce while at his day job. They weren't bad records, but they occasionally seemed needlessly opaque, as if there was something inherently corrupting about melody. The good news about Happiness in Magazines, Coxon's fifth solo outing, is that now that his split from Blur appears permanent, he seems more relaxed about their legacy, which, after all, he helped build. Happiness in Magazines is riddled with glorious pop songs, and in a sane world would yield several hit singles.

That Coxon is no longer shying from popular appeal is confirmed by his decision to work with producer Stephen Street, who worked on Blur¹s mid-90s commercial apexes Parklife and The Great Escape. The results are splendid, both Coxon and Street setting about their work like men liberated. "Freakin' Out" is an amiable punky rave-up evocative of the Jam, "Spectacular" an unbridled and joyous declaration of desire and, best of all, the first full single "Bittersweet Bundle of Misery" is a brash appropriation of Blur's "Coffee & TV". Coxon has done remarkably well here. If he can keep this standard up, his time with Blur may one day be regarded as little more than a promising start. --Michael Turner

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