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Say No to Being Cool, Say Yes to Being Happy

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Album Review

Don't judge an album by its cover. The hyper-pigmented mouth might seem to promise an album's worth of needling electric guitars and manic drum machines, something along the lines of a Flock of Seagulls-type revival band, but thankfully this isn't the case. Say No! to Being Cool. Say Yes to Being Happy is actually the indie pop equivalent to a litter of kittens — it's squirmy, cuddly, thoroughly sweet stuff. And it makes a lot of sense once you figure out that this is another one of Ron Fountenberry's projects. Like his former band, the Incredible Moses Leroy, the Softlightes have an extremely comfortable sound, and there's something to be said for that. This is Flaming Lips lite. This is Elf Power strapped to a vocoder. This is power pop with saccharine vocals à la Brian Wilson, only shot through with a healthy dose of synthesizers and robots — lots and lots of robots. Did we mention the robots? To put it another way, listening to Say Yes is like eating a bowl of marshmallow fluff. And this is where listeners will be divided. There will be, for example, a number of people who'll find Say Yes so sugary that they'll have to put it down after the first few tracks. The others (let's call them the "Ice Cream for Dinner!" camp) will find loping love songs like "The Ballad of Theo and June" and "Heart Made of Sound" positively nourishing. And who can blame them? There's a lot to like about Fountenberry's light, well-crafted pop songs, especially when it comes to the rocking, vocoder-stained antics of "The Robots in My Bedroom Were Playing Arena Rock" or the click-blippity sweetness of "Girlkillsbear." It's soothing, accessible music with enough intelligence and quirkiness to appeal to the indie crowd — whether it'll find its way off of the shelf after the first spin or two, though, isn't clear. One thing is certain: those first few spins are delicious.

Customer Reviews

The New Cool of Yes

This album is a sweet little candied pill of goodness. It's full of simple, innocent melodies and whimsically positive lyrics. Each track gives us a little individual insight into the Softlightes soft-focus world; one of simple pleasures and naive happiness. From the electro rock inspired "Robots in my bedroom..." to the poppy, rocky, quirky sounding "Microwave Song" and "Heart made of Sound"; this album has many standouts. The album as a whole however offers much more; the full story so to speak. A great subway/busride/driving album.


such soothing lyrics that make u wanna sit back, relax and forget about the exam that i should be studying for

turn up the softlightes!

when i first heard heart made of sound i rushed 2 itunes and found my new favourite song-the robots in my bedrrom were playing arena rock. No one i know think much of them, who cares what they think this is the best album EVA


Genre: Rock

Years Active:

Springing fully formed from the smoldering indie pop remains of the Incredible Moses Leroy, the Softlightes came together in the fall of 2004. Moses mastermind Ron Fountenberry headed up the group and was joined by ex-Moses bassist Kristian Dunn, drummer Tim Fogarty, and pianist Andrew Van Baal. The Softlightes got to work on some recordings in Dunn's studio (aka his garage) in...
Full Bio
Say No to Being Cool, Say Yes to Being Happy, SoftLightes
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