Listen: An Extremely Sad Version of Pharrell’s “Happy”

03/27/2014 10:58 AM |

sad remix pharrell happy

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Since most people over the age of 14 didn’t see Despicable Me 2, Pharrell’s song “Happy” kind of flew under the radar for while, but now it’s a veritable cultural phenomenon (and really feeds into the somewhat harmful American obsession with happiness, but that’s another conversation for another day). It was the official theme song for the International Day of Happiness, Pharrell performed it at the Academy Awards, famously convincing Meryl Streep, Lupita N’yongo and Amy Adams to get down, and at this point there are dozens of remixes and tribute videos. It’s the “Fuck You” of late 2013/early 2014.


Over the past few weeks, a couple of remixes and covers have popped up (including one by the recently “consciously uncoupled” Gwyneth Paltrow on Glee), but most of them have stuck with the song’s original intent—to make people happy.

Well, that’s no longer the case: French musician and director Yoann Lemoine, a.k.a. Woodkid, has taken it upon himself to turn “Happy” into something that is incredibly sad.

A little background on Lemoine: he made quite the name for himself in 2011/2012 as the director of music videos for big names like Lana Del Rey, Drake and Katy Perry and he even put together his own seriously epic video for his first single, “Iron,” which is a favorite of mine. He’s generally known for making things as dramatic and heartbreaking as possible. That’s just his thing.

He’s done the same with “Happy,” robbing it of its effervescence and instead weighing it down with strings, piano and minor chords. The results are accordingly jarring and heartwrenching, but anyone who’s listened to the song a thousand times would be hardpressed to completely forget the original version.

As always, happiness finds a way. Listen to the full song below:

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