Leave it to Danny Elfman to Release the Most Disturbing Anthem of Halloween 2020: The Unnerving ‘Happy’

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Rock Cellar Magazine

Talk about picking a perfect time to release some disturbing music. 2020 has been a slog for all of us, to say the very least, and the year’s parade of bad news, frustration and surrealism sparked Danny Elfman, renowned composer/musician with a particular penchant for the irreverent, to release his first solo original music since 1984.

The song is titled “Happy,” but it’s very much not the same type of song as Pharrell’s massive feel-good 2014 anthem. No, this one’s dripping with anxiety:

I’m so happy— Happy!

Everything is crumbling (crumbling, crumbling)
Everything is crumbling (crumbling, crumbling)
Everything is crumbling (crumbling, crumbling)

The animated rendering of Elfman’s head in the video is even creepier, and the whole thing is just perfect for being released right now:

Elfman was supposed to perform an anticipated set at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, which was first postponed due to COVID-19 and then pushed entirely to 2021:

“I originally wrote “Happy” to perform at Coachella 2020,” he explained. “It was written to be an absurd anti-pop song, designed to begin as a very simple pop tune that degrades into something more subversive. The cynical nature of the lyrics echo how I feel about living in a semi-dystopian world turned upside down.”


“I always enjoyed Halloween because it was a night to let loose, to become something or someone else,” said Elfman in a statement accompanying the video. “[Halloween is] a night to celebrate the dead, and ghosts and monsters of all variety. A night for mutants, zombies, vampires, misfits, and miscreants to celebrate themselves and each other. And, aligned with the Mexican holiday Dia De Los Muertos, a night to celebrate departed spirits … and for me, a night to laugh in death’s face (and feel safe doing so).”

“Halloween has always been my Big Night. As a child there was no competition. Coincidently, in my earlier band Oingo Boingo, our Halloween shows became special events and our biggest shows of the year. And double coincidently The Nightmare Before Christmas also became a special live Concert Halloween event, which became more successful than I’d ever dreamed possible. This really meant a lot to me as the character of Jack Skellington, who I related to quite closely, has for many years been a very special part of my life.”

Joining Danny Elfman on the song are Josh Freese (drums), Nili Brosh (guitar), Stu Brooks (bass) and Randall Dunn (synth), while the video was directed by Aron Johnson.

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