After a relationship comes to an end, most people are advised to move on, not to think about it. Don’t let it affect your work, we tell ourselves. We push it deep, deep down, far enough that within a few years, we don’t talk about it anymore.
Seattle native DB Stewart is actively working against the cliche that we shouldn’t mention these past relationships in his new single “Are You Happy?” The song serves as an impressive addition to his relatively young discography that blends elements of rock, country, and blues music.
“Are You Happy” contains a rich, well-developed sound that draws similarities to the likes of Ed Sheeran, specifically his 2021 single “Bad Habits.” Additionally, it offers different undertones than some of Stewart’s grittier past pieces, like “Push My Limit” and “Gin and Time” — the latter of which includes a folksy hybrid picking patter that leads into a guitar solo full of attitude.
This new, more pop-oriented song is weaved with a slightly brighter tone, which explores the aforementioned past relationship with an air of optimism, as if to say: we didn’t work out, and I’m better for it. It identifies with the “right person, wrong time” trope without being entirely sappy or sad, which requires a level of ingenuity that many songwriters have yet to develop.