Described as “Science fiction stories for the 21st century”, Soft Cell’s 2022 album *Happiness not included delivered new electronic tunes that tackled themes such as broken utopias, nostalgia, aging, religion and social media among others.
Now the synth-pop duo are following the album up with two companion pieces, *Happiness now completed and *Happiness now extended. In addition to the 2022 album’s dance tunes, pop and ballads, there were a slew of unused songs and extended mixes all co-produced, like the original LP, by Dave Ball and the Grammy-winning Phillip Larsen. Those additional tracks are now being made available via these two new sister albums.
The first release, *Happiness now completed, is a 78-minute, 18-track album of new songs, classic covers (Giorgio Moroder, X-Ray Spex and Fad Gadget) and a new version of 2020’s ‘Last Chance’ (regarded by the band as an overlooked gem). With B-sides, alternative takes and new mixes also included, the CD of *Happiness now completed fits snugly into the rear section of the existing *Happiness CD booklet.
Meanwhile, *Happiness now extended is a natural consequence of a Soft Cell working practice that dates back to the 1980s, when Dave would record backing tracks to 12-inch single length, and then edit them down to three or four minutes. “Many of the *Happiness not included tracks were originally much longer, but Philip Larsen and I edited them so that they would fit onto a single vinyl LP,” he says. “Spreading them across two vinyl LPs means we can now include the full versions.”
As a result, *Happiness now extended is a double LP containing longer versions of all 12 tracks on the original LP. Out on two vinyl discs, it’ll be limited to 1,000 copies.
Soft Cell’s *Happiness now extended and *Happiness now completed will be released 28 July via BMG.
Photo: Andrew Whitton