A collection of short audio fiction, mixed together with somewhat upbeat songs found on indie and alternative radio stations, the aptly named “Sad Stories and Happy Songs” is diametrically opposed with itself. Yet the tones work well together on a conceptual level.
The individual stories and songs might have competing tones. After all, the listener is given a sad story and a happy song one after another in that order until the hour-long production closes out with one last tune. Albeit a badly sung one. Which begs the question of why it was chosen at all. A cover of a Paul McCartney song should be at the very least enjoyable. This sounded like a cat being run over by a train.
In addition to the juxtaposition of genres acting as both stimulant and barrier for some, the stories themselves aren’t memorable. Yes, they’re emotional, but you’d be hardpressed to remember what they’re about. This requires more than one listen. And it’s a listen, thanks to the music, that makes it more tedious than enjoyable.
There are about one or two decent songs in this hour-long audio drama and they both happen early on. The second track is the most mainstream in terms of its melody and beat.
Radio: AM vs FM
It should be mentioned there is a frame narrative which connects the individual “sad stories” with the music and vice versa. It’s similar to King Falls AM, except its primarily about the backstory behind each of the drama portions. The host sounds like a radio DJ. He creates a welcoming atmosphere for the listener. A sort of mixture between the calm, docile, and informative content of an AM radio and the voice and energy of an FM radio host. By far it’s one of the more entertaining aspects of the show.
Overall the stories are sad, but forgettable—and the music happy, but range from decent to just plain bad.