Olafur Arnalds
Another Happy Day


3.7
great

Review

by Jacob R. STAFF
February 2nd, 2014 | 13 replies | 2,520 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Disquiet.

There's something uniquely affecting about film scores. They’re one form of media interpreting another, so they reside in a distinct sort of dualistic existence. It’s a category of music that captures the many moments the film reel contributes, and yet, that very film reel can paint a new purpose onto its score, an exact context that makes it so much more appreciable. In essence, that’s how I judge a good film score: does it emotionally drag me in its clutches with its accompanying movie's aid, and furthermore, can it be as poignant on its own? Can I hear the music from this movie without being overtly familiar with its cinematic origins- and still be able to imagine the things the filmmaker wants me to? The images my mind conjures will be indistinct, trapped in a constricting and pervasive fog, but if this music is done right I’ll at least feel something along the lines what the film’s originator originally set out for me to feel.

I approached Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds’ Another Happy Day score with these makeshift standards in mind. After all, it’s interesting to think about music made for film in this way, by yanking it from the backdrop and planting it in the spotlight. While the only knowledge I have about this movie is the titles of these songs, they provide a vital context. While songs like “The Wait,” “Alice Enters” and “Everything Must Change” come across as being about turmoils between loved ones, I could be entirely wrong. The beautiful thing is that it’s a little irrelevant, because these are the images that Arnalds’ score provokes. In each silence, I don’t hear anything resembling peace- instead, the unnerving pauses in conversation between grieving siblings. I hear the things nobody really wants to say, but that with time, can define someone’s existence.

This score is all about emotional disquiet, and Arnalds highlights that with a wide breadth of instrumentation. Some songs sport mournful violins, while others showcase maudlin pianowork- and yet, no matter which way the Icelandic composer decides to drive his point home, it comes across loud and clear. It’s bleak music for the anxious, which, for better or worse, means that this collection of songs can be a bit bare on their own. I have no doubts that Another Better Day utilizes these tunes well as a means to a tumultuous end, but as an end themselves? Well, they're a bit too unobtrusive for their own good- as many a film score is wont to be. But even though Arnalds’ score for Another Happy Day is better at propping up its accompanying film instead of standing on its own two feet, it reminds me of what music brings to cinema. It gives voice to that which can’t be stated; it tends to the ideas the film reel can't cultivate on its own.




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user ratings (24)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Eli EMERITUS (2.5)
Olafur Arnalds escapes the weight of darkness, only to completely forget who he is....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2014



10063 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

really this is pretty music

Digging: The Contortionist - Language

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2014



16310 Comments


Haven't really been moved by anything he's done since And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2014



10063 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Same with everyone else in the world besides me, but

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
February 1st 2014



16310 Comments


I just feel like he hasn't realized a concept across an album so well before or since. "Near Light" was a truly fantastic track but the entirety of Living Room Songs wasn't nearly as well-written. If you watch the scene in Werkmeister Harmonies where And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness got its name you will realize that the realization of concept on the album is simply brilliant.

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
February 1st 2014



50088 Comments


Love American?

Digging: Tiny Moving Parts - Pleasant Living

Jacquibim
Contributing Reviewer
February 1st 2014



14027 Comments


Aww man I thought this guy had released something new for a second now I'm sad.

Digging: We Will Fail - Verstrung

Lotus
February 1st 2014



506 Comments


whoa need to check this. I loved Eulogy For Evolution.

Lotus
February 1st 2014



506 Comments


And you're a truly remarkable writer js

Sanders
February 2nd 2014



2345 Comments


"Haven't really been moved by anything he's done since And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness."

agreed

IsomerDuck
February 2nd 2014



7 Comments


Really well constructed review.

mindleviticus
February 2nd 2014



8220 Comments


I think this guy is rly boring

For Now I am Winter was pretty good though

Lotus
February 2nd 2014



506 Comments


I thing you're rly boring

TheDarkestNight
February 3rd 2014



174 Comments


Eulogy for Evolution slays the fuck out of this, but Lynn's Theme is a pretty good track. Nice review.



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