My cheat sheet told me that Shiny Happy People means exuberance. Is it to be my surprise that... it's not? Apparently yes and no.
I first heard the song when I was in junior high, gazillion years ago, and I found the song as a really happy song. Then I lost the cassette (a mix-hits-tape, nothing of importance), just see the video occassionally on MTV. Then I used limited-bandwidth-paid-with-people's-money office internet to download the mp3, and I started to listen to the song again. Somewhere in the process, it's not a happy song anymore. Maybe I grew up or got wiser or something. The song became a fake happy song.
Of course, as often the case with R.E.M.'s work, it is a fake happy song. It is supposed to be a mock at Tiananmen tragedy. Even the video doesn't feel right. It's not as ironic as Pulp's Common People but things are still seem artificial.
However, the irony doesn't translate and that's how the song become the wussiest song of all time.
And why do I write about another R.E.M song? I'm not really sure. Probably because I just took Philosophy of Science class and had discussion about Descartes and suddenly I was reminded of existence.
Or maybe because Eyang Harto is sick. Tiananmen, massacre, dictatorship, Soeharto, get it? (Yeah, I believe he's a dictator, he made damage to Indonesia that's really not easy to recover because it's not all physical. And he also did some good things. But I still believe he should get trial (and verdict guilty). If then he's granted forgiveness, that's another thing. But he should finish his earthly business not with his children or his cronies, but with those whose families were kidnapped by military, those whose business went bankrupt due to monopoly, those who were arrested without trial and such. New order victims. Gus Mus put it nicely here)
Or maybe I was just cycling to class while listening to the song and realized, although it's not a happy song, I still like it. I don't think it's cheesy (or maybe I just like cheesy songs). I keep it in my Hitchin' a Ride playlist (which by the way, no, Bud, I'm not gonna change to Kring Kring Goes Goes by Bayu Bersaudara). So let's sing.
Putar-putar Jakarta Ancol-Mon... ups!
Shiny happy people holding hands...