Raina’s Reason for the Repeat Button – “Pursuit of Happiness”

Currently on Repeat: Kid Cudi - "Pursuit of Happiness"

This one’s a three-parter! About happiness! Kind of! Except not really!

Listening to Kid Cudi’s 2010 track “Pursuit of Happiness” (as well as the remix and cover I’ll talk about below) there’s one line that sticks:

“I’ll be fine once I get it. I’ll be good.”

And then there’s the underlying sentiment that pervades each version: it’s not as simple as it sounds.

“I’ll be fine once I get it. I’ll be good.”

No, you won’t.

#1 – Kid Cudi

The original is a slow-motion revelation that the lifestyle of the rich and famous may not be all it’s cracked up to be. I know everything that shines ain’t always gonna be gold” – it’s superficial. Acquiring things and getting fucked up might seem glamorous, but it isn’t going to make your life better. There are anxious undercurrents. Laying awake in bed. Night terrors. Drunk driving.

Have you ever been out drinking or partying and you’ve said “just one more” but that “one more” turns into so many more because you’re afraid to lose that feeling? Just one more and maybe you’ll be okay? Satisfied? “I’ll be fine once I get it. I’ll be good.” It’s a reassurance. More of a wish than a statement. Like if you say it enough times, it might be true, but you know that the partying has to end – and if you weren’t happy before it all started, you probably won’t be good once it’s all over, either.

#2 – Steve Aoki Remix

It’s as if this remix comes from the MIDDLE of that trip Kid Cudi is going on in the original. You’re IN the party – you’re losing yourself.

Everything speeds up RIGHT BEFORE THE BEAT DROPS and then everything slows down and YOU CAN LAY BACK INTO IT and FUCKING FORGET. And then: BOOM. Urgency. You’re dancing. You’re in the moment. You’re sweating, you’re seeing faces, they’re blurring, you’re blurring, life is out of CONTROL…you’re raising your arms, singing back to the DJ, feeling the room get hotter and wetter and wilder. “I’ll be fine once I get it. I’ll be good.” You’re reaching for something and it’s up there, but can you reach it? You’re so close! This is the “pursuit of happiness” through something outside of you! If the music could be louder, if the lights could be brighter, if the drugs could be stronger, if the night could be LONGER, could you get it, then? This time, at least, you’re not alone. You, and everyone around you, are trying to get that gold. It’s chaos, it’s strobe lights, it’s five in the morning and your life is a series of snapshots and rev-ups and blackouts and and and and “I’ll be fine once I get it” and it feels like this could go on forever, but then…

#3 – Lissie Cover

This one’s my favourite. In some versions, you can hear her say she’s gonna take a shot of tequila before she does it – as if she wants to numb herself before it even starts. And then those heavy chords. HEAVY. That’s how this cover sounds. Every note feels like a weight. And you can hear the weight in the words: the pain, the anxiety, the way she wails “SORROW!” and the realization that it doesn’t MATTER how much you get. It doesn’t matter how much anything glitters. “Hands on the wheel, uh huh, fuck that.” You’re driving without looking, without caring, without even STEERING – you’re just going. Forward. Blurry and blind. Accumulate, acquire, take, consume… it doesn’t matter.

“I’ll be fine once I get it. I’ll be good.”


You won’t.

As long as you keep searching for it outside yourself, as long as you keep trying to PURSUE happiness and let that pursuit control you – you’ll never be fine no matter how much you get.

But if YOU take control? You might get somewhere. You might get close. Maybe it’s not about “getting” – maybe it’s about being. Maybe it’s something bigger. Maybe that’s what Kid Cudi was talking about. If you lose yourself in the pursuit of happiness – how can you ever be fine?

(Also, this version is used in the phenomenal independent film The Dirties from Toronto filmmaker Matt Johnson. Go watch it. It’s incredible, and it makes this song even better. Watch the trailer here.)

(Main Image: J. Rivera)