We get STATS to give us an inventive and insightful playlist
STATS are a new band who write infectious pop songs from a refreshing, modern perspective. Taking inspiration from innovators like Talking Heads and Laurie Anderson, the bands unconventional approach to music making and their visual originality make them one of the most exciting new acts to emerge in recent years.
‘Do It On The Weekend’ is the London six-piece’s bright follow-up to the brilliant ‘Where Is The Money’ EP released earlier this year which coincided with a hoard of festival appearances at The Great Escape, Dot To Dot and a couple of XFM X-Posure shows. Check out their ‘Happy Man & Other Songs That Mean business’ playlist selection, below. Enjoy.
Chic – Happy Man
“‘Happy Man’ is an old song by a famous band, but I think it has renewed relevance now. It stands out among Chic songs, because the lead vocal is sung by Bernard Edwards, the bass player. Perhaps he was unused to singing lead, because he delivers the lyrics in a relatively flat, uncertain tone: this is why I find the song interesting”. The song’s repeated refrain is “Happy man, happy man, that’s me/Happy man, happy man, for you all to see/And the world is my home/With a style all my own”. In the context of Chic’s presentation as a business as much as a band – explicitly corporatised as The Chic Organization – these lyrics fit their identification with a sophisticated, urbane lifestyle.
Now, however, it resonates differently. The constant assertion of the Happy Man’s happiness becomes unconvincing. The more someone insists on telling you what kind of person they are, the harder it becomes to believe them. He describes his life: “Hanging out all night with the jet set/And I party every little chance I get” And this truly is jet set music: the backing cruises smoothly, with all the serenity of high altitude. The synth strings swoon along in an endless four-bar pattern, and the unchanging drums reassure you that we really are going somewhere, there is a point to this, there will be a destination – so just sit back and relax.
But the singer is not on board. Why does he keep saying how happy he is? The best he can say is that “life can be real nice”. “I’m a happy man” becomes a mantra, a meaningless rosary, whose comforting rhythm reassures him that his choices have brought him to a good place, that all this was a good idea. Perhaps he himself can’t believe where he’s wound up, an international man of leisure. He clearly wasn’t always there, or he wouldn’t be so insecure about his status: the born-with-it have no idea that things could be any other way. He has now risen to the state of money, able to glide around the world like capital flows, encountering neither friction nor resistance: and he doesn’t know what to think. Most of us are now used to constructing versions of ourselves, for the public presentation of our lives to others. We all know our best side. If you go on a plane, it can be difficult to resist the tastefully-filtered instagram of a jet wing from a cabin window, glinting in the sunshine above the clouds. The Happy Man tells us how happy he is, in detail, for us all to see: but his voice is the crack in the facade. Where am I? What am I doing here? Am I doing the right thing?”
Sadat & Alaa Fifty Cent – Moled El Madf3gea
“This is really exciting music. The whole album this song comes from is fantastic”.
Talking Heads – Found A Job
“This old song is also relevant: it’s about YouTube (“making up their own shows/which might be better than TV”). It’s also about picking your own way through the nonsense, and making it up for yourself in the face of boredom, indifference or outright opposition. This is easier said than done, especially when what we can do with our lives – in Britain and America, at least – is now substantially dictated by our relationship to the property market. Where can you live now? How close can you get to the middle? How much have you got?”.