“Are You Happy Baby?”
Written by Bob Stone
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
February 20, 1981
#1 (1 week)
February 28, 1981
Dottie West was already backtracking a bit on the sassiness of “A Lesson in Leavin'” when she followed it with the top fifteen hit, “Leavin’s for Unbelievers.”
Her next single – and her final solo No. 1 hit – finds her in full retreat. “Are You Happy Baby?” initially seems to be a kiss off number, but soon is revealed as a desperate plea to make things better for her departed lover, should he come back to her.
Now, for the lady who once had an actual album named Suffer Time, there’s only one way to sing a lyric like that. So despite the countrypolitan production and the very early eighties backup singers, West wails this one like she did in the old days. If it had been released in the internet age, I’d think someone had matched a vocal from an early album with a backing track of a current one. Sadly, this mashup was done intentionally. By professionals.
This one is just plain excruciating to my ears. She sounds like a washed up hotel lounge singer that is screaming to be heard over the conversations of the patrons that refuse to acknowledge her. So she just keeps getting louder and more dramatic. It’s such a mess.
Her next single, a duet with Kenny Rogers, will be her last No. 1 hit and it’s a much better listen than this one.
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