Buzzcocks : Everybody's Happy Nowadays
On March 2, 1979 the Buzzcocks released their first single of the year, "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" b/w "Why Can't I Touch It". Taken together, they add up to one of the best singles of the year, peaking at U.K.#29.
Despite the freewheeling pop punk sounds and its cascading 4 note guitar line, "Everybody's Happy Nowadays" is not a happy tune. Pete Shelley is tired of being frustrated and tired of having his dreams always out of reach. His conclusion sounds like a mantra: "life's an illusion, love is the dream". Reality is, at best, ok. In retrospect, not the most obvious message AARP would want to send out to its aging members, and yet, in 2007, that's what happened.
Both songs have more depth than you might think. "Why Can't I Touch It?' works as an adolescent song about pent up sexual frustration ( from the lads who brought you "Orgasm Addict"). But on a deeper level, it could be about anything. A writer for Paste has this suggestion:
The six and a half minute B side grooves along to Steve Garvey's bass while Shelley wonders why if every sense tells him something is real then whyyyyyyyyy can't he touch it?