A little over 24 hours ago Pharrell Williams released a music video. Hosted on it’s own interactive website, 24hoursofhappy.com it follows people blissfully jamming out to the song all over Los Angeles over the course of 24 hours. I didn’t quite get it for a little while, but it’s my favorite new media project in years. Like Vito Acconci, but enjoyable.
The meditation like quality of watching people having their ‘happy’ moment in public streets, on bike lanes, in alleyways and unglamorous everyday places is irresistible. If the individual or location at any moment seems kinda uninteresting, just forward to the trio of boys rocking out near skid row, or the lady happily bouncing around in her electric wheelchair. It’s an interesting to try to figure who the paid actors are, the regular people, the celebrity cameos and of course Pharrell himself. He appears every hour or so in different locations and consecutively more awesome outfits. Like this:
It’s basically impossible not to fall in love with the song (I wasn’t into it at first, but after several plays watching people do their thing.. I loved it) and at the same time, Los Angeles. In the way that Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” was a soundtrack and inspiration to New Yorkers from the worst projects to the fanciest luxury rooftops and millions of others imagining what New York is – “Happy” perfectly captures what it is that makes LA so ..magical. The art direction is beautiful and seamless but most of the locations are on public streets that locals will recognize as being gross or dangerous, just in front of a freeway entrance, a McDonalds or a Home Depot. LA is a place that invites you to discover beauty and happiness beyond the surface of things like say, strip malls. And unlike NYC where the main vision of happiness is too often extreme wealth – LA is a great place to be a weirdo or just be yourself and enjoy the moment. “Happy” does something that music rarely does; instead of telling people to aspire to wealth, power or fame – it celebrates the joy of here and now.
“Happy” was directed by We Are From LA and produced by Iconoclast – which is awesome because they’ve also collaborated on other projects. Can’t wait to see what they do next!