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Released: 2023

Features: Teddy Swims, Jac Ross

“Happy People” by X Ambassadors, featuring Teddy Swims and Jac Ross, is a melancholic ballad of longing and loss that paints a stark picture of the internal agony that comes with witnessing happiness when you’re swimming in a pool of sorrow. With stunning transparency, the song discusses how the protagonist yearns to experience the joy he observes in others, as he battles his own inner turmoil.

The opening verse sets the stage with depictions of love-struck couples basking in their joy – “Everywhere I go / All I see is blue skies in lovers’ eyes / Kissin’ under city lights”. It’s all too easy for everyone else, but our protagonist is fighting to hide his pain behind optimistic fronts – “I tried to fake a smile, pretend that I / Won’t be going home lonely tonight”. The use of the term “city lights” is reflective of a life lived in the public eye, suggesting that the loneliness experienced is even sharper when contrasted with the romantic tableau around him.

Moving onto the chorus, “But I’m suffering inside, losing my mind / These smiles, they just make me cry every time / ‘Cause happy, happy people / Just remind me of ‘you'” encapsulates the heartbreaking core of the song. ‘Happy People’ become symbols of what he’s lost – the ‘you.’ Each happy face encountered is a horrifying mirror reflecting his own pain back at him.

The second verse deepens this pain, with auditory symbols of love, such as “I love yous, vows renewed / Holding hands and jumping brooms” left to echo hauntingly in the protagonist’s mind. “Jumping the broom” is a reference to a traditional African and Celtic wedding ritual, suggesting a profound connection to memories of love that’s now out of reach.

Reflecting on the past, “night after night, I see your face / You opened my eyes and I can’t look away.” The protagonist is haunted by vivid memories, grappling with the ghosts of shared moments that refuse to fade. Powerful emotions are communicated through phrases like “losing my mind” and “these smiles, they just make me cry every time.”

Overall, “Happy People” is a somber reflection on sorrow blinded by other’s joy. Its repetitive chorus line of “I just wanna be like happy / Happy people” lays bare the protagonist’s desperate plea to find happiness once again. The song ends with a soul-stirring statement — every “happy” person he encounters is a painful reminder of the one person who is no longer part of his life.

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