Happy Like A Chicken With His Head Cut Off

Album: Modern Happiness (2018)
  • In this song, Eric Hutchinson sings about life on Prozac, an anti-depressant he started taking in 2016 when he considered quitting music. He's happy, but it's a different kind of happy: tempered and a bit disconnected. Kind of like a chicken with its head cut off.

    In a Songfacts interview with Hutchinson, he described it as "sort of tongue-in-cheek," adding, "It's about the pros and cons of messing around with the mind: The lows aren't as low and the highs aren't quite as high as they used to be. It's trying to make sense of all that."
  • Modern Happiness was the first album Hutchinson made on Prozac. As he sings here, the peaks and valleys went away, which doesn't sound like a good environment for songwriting: nobody wants to hear about being just OK. But if you can't get out of bed and start writing, that won't work either. "I spent years and years being mildly depressed and feeling like I just had to work through it," he told Songfacts. "If I was blue that day, I just had to get through it, and it took a long time for me to admit that there's a pattern here - I've been sad for almost as long as I can remember.

    A big thing I was afraid of was that it would steal my edge, steal my creativity if I take a mood enhancer, but I found the opposite. Because when I'm really depressed or sad, I don't write, I don't do anything, I just sit around and feel bad. But once I started taking Prozac, I noticed that when I wake up in the morning I feel like I've got a fighting chance, and that makes me want to be creative."
  • Many artists prone to depression will tell you that they were most depressed when they were most successful. That was Hutchinson's experience. His first album, Sounds Like This, landed him a record deal when the blogger Perez Hilton discovered it. But that put pressure on him to deliver something the record company liked, which wasn't his true self. He considers Modern Happiness the first album since his debut that he is completely comfortable with.
  • Hutchinson explained the lines:

    I used to cry
    I used to feel and now I don't
    Tears try to come out but they just won't


    "I used to enjoy having a good cry at the movies, but now when I want to cry, I just get the ugly-cry face but no tears come out."

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