The Bottom Line
When one of the top big ballad singers discovered in the past five years, Leona Lewis, heads to the studio with arguably the top producer and songwriter of towering pop ballads, Ryan Tedder, you know there will be fireworks. However, there is no assurance of a masterpiece. "Happy" is masterful. It is one of the most genuinely moving and realistically inspirational songs in recent memory. There is a lot of pain laid bare in the words and Leona Lewis' voice, but the ultimate message is that happiness is something well worth the pain and the fight.
- Powerful song melodically and lyrically
- Moving interpretive vocal performance
- The indescribable feel of a classic
- No negatives
- Written by Evan Bogart, Leona Lewis, and Ryan Tedder
- Produced by Ryan Tedder
- Released September 2009 by J Records
Guide Review - Leona Lewis - "Happy"
For those still blown away by "Bleeding Love," the pair of Leona Lewis and producer Ryan Tedder have an even more powerful song for you. There is the same stately elegance that puts the songs in a similar sonic category. A static, ambient chord kicks things off, but cascading piano soon kicks in and we end up with a trademark Tedder wall of percussion for the chorus. However, "Happy" is more mature lyrically than "Bleeding Love" and Leona Lewis' singing moves to a different level of interpretive power here. This is a stellar song delivered with a near perfect performance.
The song "Happy" details in words a concept that not taking chances may build a life of safety. However, it's those risks we choose to take that are necessary for truly being happy. Leona Lewis sings emphatically that she is going to dismiss the former advice in favor of the risks so that she can have the chance at finding happiness. The entire spirit of the song is encapsulated in the chorus, "So what if it hurts me, so what if I break down..."
Leona Lewis' vocals here move beyond simple power and bombast. She delivers the words with feeling that truly engages the listener emotionally. Her sense of drama is impeccable particularly with a stellar melismatic run that leads into the final verse. Lewis told The Sun, "The vocal was totally spontaneous. I sang it as soon as we finished writing. Sometimes it's better not to over-think things."
"Happy" exhibits what pop music is at its best. Melodically it is instantly memorable. The lyrics have a true power to move the listener, and the performance of Leona Lewis is one for the ages. That makes all of us who love pop music very very "Happy."