Wussy: Portraits Of Unlikely 'Happiness'

The Cincinnati band Wussy's self-titled third album is a song cycle about a fictional couple, written by a real one: Lisa Walker and Chuck Cleaver, who don't likely suffer the same troubles as their counterparts. On Wussy, the two take snapshots of infidelity, seething anger and other problems, replete with everyday details and rough-hewn melodies that are catchier than they initially appear. It's one of the best indie-rock albums of the year.

Thursday's Pick

  • Song: "Happiness Bleeds"
  • Artist: Wussy
  • CD: Wussy
  • Genre: Rock
Wussy i i

In "Happiness Bleeds," Wussy's unconventional music features a healthy dose of Middle American weirdness. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist
Wussy

In "Happiness Bleeds," Wussy's unconventional music features a healthy dose of Middle American weirdness.

courtesy of the artist

In the standout "Happiness Bleeds," Cleaver warbles over a thin sheet of guitar fuzz, sounding like a spooked Neil Young as he sets the song's opening scene: "I remember puking down the side of a car / the cost of drinking liquor from the mouth of a jar." This man is not doing well, but at least he's thinking about the big picture. After puking, he goes hunting for "a bag of mildewy porn" and pauses to consider the meaning of life.

Then the killer chorus kicks in, with Cleaver spitting the song title while dropping his register, as if he were impersonating a mescaline-addled Elvis. Along the way, Walker joins him for some buoyant "la la las" and "baby-I-love-yous." If this is happiness, it's not a conventional portrait. But this one features both a signature sound and a healthy dose of Middle American weirdness, so it'll do.

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter.

Related NPR Stories

Purchase Featured Music

Wussy

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Wussy
Artist
Wussy
Label
Shake It
Released
2009

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?

 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.