Few songwriters could claim to be as prolific as Daniel Wylie, but thenI suppose when one of your best places for composing songs is on the toiletyou’re bound to hope for at least one new song in a day! Enough of thesanitary goings-on already, though, for The High Cost Of Happiness provesonce again that Wylie can boast quality as well as quantity in hiscompositions.
Rather than being an excursion into Americana as it was first mooted,The High Cost Of Happiness finds Wylie exalted in sunshine pop of the firstdegree. The melodies unfold naturally, the jangly guitar accompanimentshave the west coast warmth he has picked up in California rather thanGlasgow, and the backing harmonies are expertly delivered, precise yetnatural.
Wylie’s subject matter tends towards love, despite the album title, andfrom the artwork and several lyrics it would seem he’s in it up to hisneck. Songs like Move In With Me and That Was The Day positively gush aboutthe other half, but tend to stop short of going over the top in theirexultations.
And yet underneath this relative bonhomie there is the occasional stabof melancholy or hurt that tugs at the heartstrings. Songs like Tell ThemThe Truth are cautionary, with the singer advising “the truth will come tolight, then one day you’ll find you’ve just been used”. Sung from theheart, this would seem to refer to a specific event or person in Wylie’slife, though of course he’s well mannered enough not to mention who.Unexpected words of defiance come to the surface in You’re The Only OneThat’s Going Down, with Wylie asserting, “maybe I don’t give a fuck, causeI’m still pushing on”. With the relatively gentle accompaniment his wordscarry a far greater impact.
As always with Wylie the melodic content is consistently good, and whileno radical stylistic grounds are broken there’s no need when the songs areassured in construction and delivery. It’s criminal that these miniaturegems aren’t likely to find a bigger audience, as they’re heartfelt writingsthat contain much more of an emotional content than the vapid offeringsriding high in the charts at present.