Pretty good song, huh? It’s been out for almost a year now (it debuted mid-Oct. of 2011) but the message is still being heard. Before I go into more detail about the song itself, I’m sure many of you are wondering, who are these girls? Well, my fellow internet friends, those girls are Megan and Liz. While they don’t look too much alike, they are twins. Megan is the brunette and Liz is the blonde. They have been posting youtube videos for about 5 years now I think, from their home in Michigan. No, I haven’t been following them that long, only the last 3 years or so. I first was made aware of them when my Mom was watching Oprah one day and saw these two youtube singers were on and got to meeting Taylor Swift and they showed a clip of their cover of one of Taylor’s songs. Since then they’ve continued to post covers as well as originals on their youtube page and now Megan Liz’s music can be found on iTunes.
Though they’ve started doing music videos and their songs have background music in them now (by which I simply mean it’s not acoustic), the twins still go back to their roots and upload acoustic videos. All of their older stuff is acoustic and it’s only in the last year or two that real tracks and back beats have begun to come into play. In the videos online, you can watch them as they grow up a little and begin to expand and explore more musically which is nice. Not that they’re older stuff is bad, but you can see an improvement with some things like the quality of the lyrics and the complication of the melody and more subtle things. I will say that I’m not always a huge fan of the arrangements in some of their covers but they’re experimenting musically and everyone has their own opinion. They’re really good about updating regularly which I like as some bands will go months without an update.
Now, onto the song and subsequently, the music video. Are You Happy Now if you haven’t already figured out by watching the clip, is an anti-bullying song. I think that it sends a pretty powerful message. I think that in the song and the music video you see a side of the story that isn’t always shown. I think that what people don’t always realize is that the bull-ied is not always the only victim. Sometimes the bull-ier is a victim too. Now, I’m not saying that it is that way in all cases or that it’s an excuse or anything like that. I just think that when people hear about these horrible stories on the news about a 16 year old committing suicide or getting into trouble because they were being bullied, everyone focuses on that aspect of the situation because it makes good media (face it, that’s like 60% why it gets on the news) but I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone stop and take time to consider the situation as a whole, they just zoom in on the one part. Don’t get me wrong, the stories in the news are horrible and I think that it’s sad that someone feels the need to put other down that badly or that someone feels so defeated, so helpless by another’s actions that self-harm or suicide seems like the only solution. I think that it’s terrible. But I also think that there’s always more than one side to a story. And I think that this song and this music video do a good job of portraying that. Sure, it’s the stereotypical popular girl picking on the “loser” but they take the time in the video to give the stereotype more depth. So instead of it being the stereotypical popular girl picking on the “loser” for no reason, you see that in fact, she’s bullying the poor girl because she herself feels insecure with herself and in her position as one of IT crowd and by picking on an outsider she feels like she’s gained some of that security back. And by the end of the music video you understand where the popular girl is coming from a bit more. Now that doesn’t make it right by any means. Bullying is wrong, but are you as angry at the popular girl in the video at the end as you would have been if they didn’t show any sort of character back story?
Now, speaking on the actual song for a few minutes. There’s a few acoustic versions of the song online as well as the full studio version. I sometimes prefer the acoustic version as it completely changes the song in some ways. In an acoustic setting, the song is stripped bare, making the lyrics more forceful and easier to hear the emotion in the voice. And with a song where the message is so important, emotion counts for a lot. Lyrically, Are You Happy Now is also good. Though this is the first time that Megan and Liz have written an anti-bullying song, compare it lyrically to some of their really early stuff and you can clearly see the improvement. I like the fact that they call out bullies basically. Not only with the hook, “Are you happy now” but also in the bridge: “I’ve heard that it was done to you/Is that why you do what you do/Well that’s no excuse, no/ And if it felt like hell to you/Then why’d you want to put them through/What hurt you.” Overall, it’s a good song with a good message.
If anti-bullying is something that you feel strongly about or are interested in learning more about what light has been shed on the issue, I’d recommend either visiting the sites listed at the end of the video or going to http://www.StopBullying.gov. Cyberbully, an ABC family movie staring Emily Osment and debuted in 2011, is also about anti-bullying.
There’s two quotes that I found that I quite liked and decided to share in closing to this post. The first is, “Bullying builds character like nuclear waste creates superheros. It’s a rare occurence and often does much more damage than endowment.” The other quote is, “Life is a chain of choises. Making the correct one is never easy.” Both hold true. Bullying hardly ever makes someone a stronger person, and doing the right thing is not always easy.