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Hot Hot Heat – Happiness Ltd.

Not that there was an era in which Hot Hot Heat took themselves anything less than seriously, but with their latest and release, Happiness Ltd., the Canadian foursome delivers a non-stop anthem-laden slab of diligence and heart that surpasses all previous efforts, which, in the rear-view, have been the rudimentary stepping stones toward a monumentally gifted band.

Make Up The Breakdown, in HHH’s more synth-punk days, was a fierce rock testimonial, but its hits were rooted in simple lyrical hooks and pop appeal. And Elevator, the band’s major label debut, certainly promised a transition musically, but felt essentially adrift, with one foot quite un-firmly in two vastly different camps.


On Happiness, Ltd. Hot Hot Heat are heart. While the selected first single, “Let Me In” has all the makings of an epic ballad, it’s a bit too majestic, in the sense that so many of the top 20 rock tracks are these days. It’s too similar to really be the hit. “5 Times Out of 100” is really the first real bammer on the album; chanting the title like a mantra, the track transitions frantically quickly between verse, bridge and chorus, and breaks down with a brief piano and tambourine interlude before clap-tracking back into a ferociously repeated climax of the desperate chorus.

On the slower side, “Outta Heart” builds up with strings into a lilty, yet discernibly painful ballad of uncomfortable introspection, self-defeat and wallow. And quite to the contrary, “Give Up?” Is a speed train of confidence, hell-bent on taking a chance with a partner everyone else says is bad news. These two tracks are the essence of Happiness’ manic and depression—testaments to HHH’s ability to keep an ear trained regardless of the music’s mood.

Judging by the beauty of this recording, the live performance is going to be spell-binding. Catch Hot Hot Heat certainly belting out many of the tracks from Happiness Ltd. when they play October 1, 2007 at the Gothic in Engelwood, CO.


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