Danny Elfman shares “Happy,” his first solo music in 36 years
Danny Elfman is mainly known for his work as an in-demand Hollywood composer these days, but he used to lead new wave rock band Oingo Boingo. You may remember he was supposed to play Coachella this year, pre-pandemic, and for that he wrote a new song just for the occasion. Coachella isn't happening but he's now shared that song, "Happy," which is his first solo material in 36 years (and it's been 26 years since Oingo Boingo's last album).
You can hear both Danny's composer side and rock/pop background in happy, a crashing, orchestral track. (It kinda sounds like Sparks.) "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," Danny says. "The cynical nature of the lyrics echo how I feel about living in a semi-dystopian world turned upside down."
The song also comes right before Halloween, appropriate for the man who gave us The Nightmare Before Christmas' songs and Oingo Boingo's Dead Man's Party. “Halloween has always been my Big Night,” Elfman explains. “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.”
The song’s vocals, guitars and synths are provided by Elfman, drums by Josh Freese (The Vandals, Nine Inch Nails), guitar by Nili Brosh (Dethklok), bass by Stu Brooks (Dub Trio) and additional synth design by Randall Dunn.
"Happy" is out via ANTI- and Epitaph, and you can watch the video, which was directed by Aaron Johnson and is very creepy and CGI-heavy (and pretty cool as you might expect from Elfman), below.
Related: members of Protest The Hero and Dethklok covered "Dead Man's Party" for the ‘Two Minutes to Late Night’ covers series.