Talk Talk–Happiness is Easy

There are certain albums that are ‘go-tos’ for various moods, seasons and so on.

Talk Talk’s Colour of Spring is one of those albums.

It is an album I listen to a lot in spring, but it is also a ‘go-to’ in terms of determining how good any stereo setup is.

Happiness is Easy is the first cut on the album, and I am guessing anyone expecting a pop follow-up to It’s My Life would have been quite surprised by the jazz inflected groove on display here.

A seeming repudiation of religion, but not spirituality or faith, it’s an intense listen, and one of the few songs I can think of where a children’s chorus is absolutely apropos, because in some ways the voices are chillingly affectless.

But the music isn’t.

Most of the instrumentation is acoustic, from the double bass to the guitar to the piano, so it all feels organic, although by this point Mark Hollis and Tim Friese-Greene were probably wading into a process they’d refine on Spirit of Eden, whereby they’d record hours of improvisations with musicians and build the tracks from these elements.

The result is uncharacteristically timeless, as fresh as any spring, with all manner of odd filigrees and shadings that linger with you long after the album, and the season, is done.

And while I suspect the song’s title is meant to be ironic, it is in its own way a pleasure.

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