Single Review | Attic Days | Happy Sad

Happy Sad single artwork
photo by Rogan Paul

A creatively catchy song with an addicting melody.

Happy Sad‘ is the 2nd single from Edinburgh five-piece band Attic Days. I have seen Attic Days play this live quite a few times this year and this has only made me more excited to hear the recorded version. The infectious indie band’s new single approaches the conversation surrounding relationships and the various emotions each person feels. It also paints the picture of someone who is persistent, and doesn’t acknowledge the feelings of the other person. The track is based around a set of questions that singer Kirstie Maclean voices throughout the track. Accompanying Maclean are guitarists Rory Bayne and Ruariadh Rattray, bassist Murray Brown, and drummer Alfie Smith.

With Maclean’s voice being so clear, there is no option but to hear what she, and the band, are asking. All of the questions feature a frequent use of “you“. This could hint that these questions are made for a particular person and/or purpose. Starting off, they ask “are you happy when you’re sad?“, and “are you lonely when you’re mad?“. While there is an obvious contrast between “happy” and “sad“, there could be an underlying meaning to this. Perhaps they are asking if someone enjoys the attention that being “sad” gets them.

This same verse asks “are you trying to forget there’s something more?“. I think this question is one that perfectly summarises the track. It points out that not everyone wants a temporary fix. “Do they really want your stare?” is a line in the bridge leading to the chorus. The bridge and chorus both focus on the general discussion of someone being persistent and not reflecting on whether certain actions were reciprocated, welcomed or were simply wasted energy. This leads into the chorus which starts with “can you stop yourself from calling?” followed by “I highly doubt it“. These lines together give the impression that there is enough familiarity with the situation/person to know their character and that they can’t resist seeking the attention of others.

At around 1:20, there is the start of a very impressive guitar solo from Bayne. This solo also seems to provide some added emotion and passion behind the words. The final part of the song repeats the same process and theme as previous verses. Towards the end, though, there seems to be more of an understanding and almost sympathetic tone. However, this doesn’t take away from the overall message of the track. This final portion contains the lyric “are you looking for a place to call your home?“. This seems to contrast an earlier lyric, “are you trying to forget there’s something more?“. “Home” could be a change in the mindset of a particular person, finding security with one person rather than chasing someone who doesn’t feel the same.

Before the final chorus, there is also the lyric “can you really love someone but not yourself?“. This asks an important question that also sums up the track’s meaning. It describes how a lot of us try to love somebody else when we sometimes don’t have any love or respect for ourselves.

Happy Sad‘ discusses a topic that many can relate to, and in a way that people can sing loudly along with. The set of questions are a useful form of reflection so that people can look back on their words and actions. It is a creatively catchy song with an addicting melody that makes it difficult to switch off. This track is pleasantly unique and immediately recognisable as Attic Days’. This is a band that I am very excited see pushing into the local Edinburgh music scene, as well as the overall Scottish music scene. They aren’t afraid to voice their thoughts, as this song in particular gives volume to views many are scared to speak themselves.

Attic Days have already headlined several local Edinburgh venues but in August they will perform their first ever show in Glasgow. Sunday 20th August will see the band take to the King Tut’s stage. This is part of the iconic venue’s ‘Summer Nights’ shows. The link for tickets to this is in the below Instagram post from the band’s page. You don’t want to miss them playing this incredible track live!