Under a blanket of sparkling synthesizers, devastatingly handsome drumming awakens the beast of beats that will provide some rhythm to the riffage that AV Super Sunshine is laying down in “Are You Happy (Radio Mix).” Mixing a little bit of electronic with a lot of pop/rock rebellion has become a trademark of AV Super Sunshine, and his melodic drawl is at the forefront of the stampede of sexy swagger just waiting to overtake anyone who takes a look at the new music video for the track. The video sees AV taking to the summer sun and indulging in the postmodernity of contemporary neo-psychedelia in a way that can only be described as engaging and wonderfully experimental; “Are You Happy (Radio Mix)” was designed to light up rotation on left-field radio this season, but in reality, it works well in most any setting missing that quintessentially surreal soundtrack.
The production quality of the video is very polished to put it mildly, and even a little poppier in tone than the actual music is. The stop motion photography gives all of the images a strobe-like texture that could’ve caused a seizure were the colors a bit more washed out than what they are, but from start to finish, AV’s straightforward rock aesthetic dominates the theme of the visuals. It’s on the spacier side, but I don’t know that I would call it druggy per say; there have certainly been a lot of bands with psychedelic influences making music of a similar strain in 2019, but this is by far a more acerbic sound than any I’ve listened to recently.
I’m really digging the conflicting grooves in this track. The bassline and the drums never get totally in sync with each other, but that’s really what creates most of the utterly exquisite tension in “Are You Happy (Radio Mix).” This song would work just as well in a nightclub as it would in the car stereo for a ride down the California coast, and I think that when we strip away all of the bells and whistles in the mix, there’s a freewheeling spirit that still remains and, inarguably, makes this single special no matter how it’s retooled in the studio (see “Are You Happy (Club Mix)” from AV Super Sunshine’s Candyland, Vol. 1 for more clarity on this subject).
To be honest, I was expecting an awful lot out of this new video from AV Super Sunshine, and he definitely came through for me as a fan here. I’ve been listening to the music that this guy has made over the last few years a lot lately, and even in the short time between this past summer and now, he’s grown tremendously as a recording artist and garnered a slew of hard-earned accolades from critics and fans alike. Candyland, Vol. 1 is his most experimental stuff so far, and if you want a decent summary of what its tracklist contains, this video makes for the perfect sample-sized offering. AV is doing some really incredible things right now, both in his videos and within the larger scope of his composing, and “Are You Happy (Radio Mix)” is a good measurement of just how far he’s come in his creative quest to reach super stardom.