REVIEW: Moneen: Are You Really Happy...
Moneen: Are You Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now? [Vagrant/Small Man, 2003] (mp3)
Three words? Warped Tour, dude.
Moneen are deceptive. Their french name [Dusty does not know french. -Ed.] had me thinking that they were perhaps some turtle-necked techno fiends, like Air or Thievery Corporation. Later, a quick glance at their song titles - like "Start Angry... End Mad" and "With This Song I Will Destroy Myself" had me expecting an angry mess of Poison the Well/Eminem magnitude. But in reality, Moneen are a Toronto band of emotive power-punks, and their sophomore album Are We Really Happy With Who We are Right Now?, is a collection of relatively well-mannered, if somewhat Thursday-ish, pop-punk, lushly produced by Trever Keith. Thus explaining the Vagrant logo.
Though I am not exactly a fan of this kind of music, Moneen do what they do quite well, and extremely well in a couple of cases. The frantically paced "Thoughts Weight Heavy... Don't Get Drowned in the Weight of it All" would totally have been a worthy lead-off track to any mixtape I made in Grade 9, and "Closing My Eyes Won't Help Me Leave" has a nice epic feel to it.
But the emotional and sonic impact of Are You Really Happy... is somewhat dulled by the overwhelming duration of the songs. With an average song length of 5 minutes and 8 seconds, the tracks tend to blur together and never seem to reach understandable conclusions. And the fade-out on "I Have Never Done Anything For Anyone That Was Not For Me As Well" feels kind of tacked-on.
Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now? brings me back to when I first heard Saves the Day's Through Being Cool: I wanted to dismiss it outright as mall-emo, entirely bankrupt of originality, something I was far too intellectual to enjoy. But the propulsive drumming, knee-jerk guitar and palpable sentiment in the vocals were undeniable. The record was a guilty pleasure, sure, but a pleasure nonetheless. For pop-punk fans, Moneen's Are We Really Happy is as good an emo album as you're likely to find these days. And here's a fun fact: average song-title length on Are You Really Happy... = 8.9 words! Outstanding!