ALBUM REVIEW: Meg & Dia – Happysad

Release Date: July 26th 2019
Label: Pure Noise Records


Utah sisters and singers/songwriters Meg & Dia have had a pretty successful career since they released their debut album ‘Our Home Is Gone’ 14 years ago, but in 2012, the two parted ways to pursue their own solo projects.

Now, eight years later, after both of the Frampton sisters banded together again, and along with a surprise reunion they signed with Pure Noise Records to help push the out of the blue release of their fifth LP, ‘Happysad’.

‘American Dream’ sets up the album with its funky reverb baseline and dual spoken word harmonies. It’s very in line with the 80s Miami synth music revival that seems to be going around with a lot of artists at the moment.

Undoubtedly the cutest song on the record is ‘Koala’. Its repetitive yet catchy chorus, “You say come here, my koala / Let me hold you like I oughta”, is sweetly matched with the whimsical sound of a xylophone to create a song that maintains a sense of pure innocence, even when including lyrics like “I’m a fucking mess.”

If this is the happy in the album’s title then what directly follows is the sad. ‘Lit Match’ is a hauntingly melodic song about being emotionally fatigued. Whilst this is a sharp change in tone and direction, it feels natural to the album, helped by the soft vocal harmonies that the duo blend into every track.

The album is concluded with a song written as a letter to the heart. Stripping back to only vocals and an acoustic guitar for most of the track, ‘Dear Heart’ is about feeling lost or numb in the heart and asking for guidance from it. This is a solemn but appropriate way to end an album that’s clearly based on a lot of feelings and emotions that the sisters manage to transform into lyrics beautifully.

Those familiar with Meg & Dia‘s back catalogue will associate them with more of a rustic pop-rock sound with an occasional country twang. ‘Happysad’ is certainly a step away from that; with its abundance of keyboard, synth, and pep, this record is definitely more of an indie-pop album in all of the best ways.

It’s clear that the sisters have developed their songwriting and signature sound to a level that makes this album feel fresh, fun, and modern. If ‘Happysad’ is an indication of what to expect going forward from the reunited duo then they’ll have no problems quickly re-establishing themselves as beloved artists.