Album Reviews

The Muffs

Happy Birthday To Me

Artist:     The Muffs

Album:     Happy Birthday To Me

Label:     Omnivore

Release Date:     03/03/2017

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Offering little more than demos of the more articulate album cuts by way of bonus material, the 2017 reissue of Happy Birthday To Me still offers insight into the building pyre that was the mid-90’s Muffs prime. Slow-burning through the original 15 tracks, Kim Shattuck’s antipathy towards the suburbanite scene feels even more appropriate 20 years later, especially when accompanied by the original sketches of tracks that prove just how lousy Shattuck and company were feeling.

Through the provided demos, one can hear the rebellion against the Brit-Pop-tinged scene that the Muffs were forced to compete with all those years ago. Happy Birthday To Me is an instantly sobering record that chronicles what Shattuck and the gang did best—hoist sentimentally working class musings over the malapropisms of pop-punk. Shattuck’s track-by-track liner notes demonstrate her immense love for the record, alongside the superb mastering of Reuben Cohen.

“Crush Me” (originally entitled. “Till You Walk Away”) is a fun demo, while “Outer Space” exemplifies the perennial mantra of the Muffs-adjacent scene: “Thrash more, within reason.” A beloved entry from our dear Muffs, Happy Birthday To Me has aged well despite an apparent lack of goodies on the reissue. If anything, such a package is a testament to the initial venerability of the album—locked, loaded, and a prescient transition into the latter day ’90s slime of their contemporaries.

—Jake Tully

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