"Let Yourself Be Happy" press:
"'Let Yourself' is the second offering by a Los Angeles artist, known only under the guise of Linus of Hollywood. Linus' sound is instantly recognizable, drawing on the confident, breezy pop of Wondermints, Ben Folds Five, and The Gladhands among others. Linus' first foray in music was the role of lead singer in the little-known, L.A.-based Size 14, a riff-heavy, power-pop outfit. Linus' 1999 solo debut, 'Your Favorite Record', however, was the turning point that established him as an acclaimed songsmith. Whether it be lilting, heart-on-his-sleeve nuggets such as "A Whole New Country" and "The Girl I'll Never Have", or unexpectedly brilliant covers of "Goodbye to Romance" (Ozzy Osbourne) and "Need You Around" (Smoking Popes), Linus appears to be at the peak of his powers and has bestowed another gem of an album to pure-pop fanatics."
-- Neal Agneta (Big Takeover)
"This is the same Linus who runs the fine Franklin Castle label (they also reissued the excellent Margo Guryan CD in this country) and the guy has an AMAZING pop sense. He plays everything himself and this sounds like some lost classic 60's pop recording drenched in strings: sweeping, grandiose, and truly charming. A really lovely record that includes an Ozzy cover (??!!). 11 instant classics and not a bad song amongst the pack."
-- Tim (Dagger Zine)
"Linus is a pop island writing seemingly light 60's inspired pop ditties as if he was stuck in the mid-70's wishing for disco and heavy metal to stop. Remember Vance Or Towers, Dwight Twilley and Emitt Rhodes? Like ex-Sneetch Mike Levy, he's enamored with Brian Wilson, but never sounds like he's stuck in the mud. This is brilliant fresh pop. Anachronistic? Sure. Pop as fuck? You bet your fucking life. This goes the line only the most devoted smart McCartney-phile and Beach Boy worshipper goes, but with insane musical sensibilities and proper modern studio know-how he pulls it off. I guess there's parallels in the jazz world. There must be daft and brilliant obscurities in the 80's that captured the essence of the late 50's groundswell that brought us such genius stuff from Monk, Miles, Mingus, and Coltrane. Well, at least I hope so. And that's what this record does for connoisseurs of late 60's and early 70's pop. A little mix of AM radio sensibility along with a post-Pet Sounds concept. Yeah. "How did the happen?," you ask. Well, let's not worry about "how." Let's just be happy it's here, and that someone knows how to pull it off. Alongside last year's Andrew LP and the current Mike Levy disc, this is a sweet secret for all pop lovers and definitely a good sign that all of those pop festivals weren't in vain. Some people were definitely inspired."
-- Pat Pierson (Yeah Yeah Yeah)
"Short and definitely sweet is Linus of Hollywood's sophomore effort, Let Yourself Be Happy. 11 tracks clocking in at around 31 minutes is no problem to these ears, especially since the 11 tracks in question are so damned cool. Covers of the Smoking Popes and Ozzy Osbourne (a Linus-ized version of "Goodbye to Romance") mesh perfectly with Linus' breezy soft-pop vision on originals like "To Be A Girl" and the beer bottle symphony "Thank You For
Making Me FeelÉBetter."
-- John M. Borack (Amplifier)
"If you don't like happy music, you'll want to completely avoid this artist. Our first reaction was...Linus of Hollywood? What is this, some kind of a joke band? Not only is this an incredibly upbeat and happy artist, but you can be quite certain that Linus is no joke...despite the fact that he does an amazingly pleasant and preppy cover of Ozzy Osbourne's "Goodbye to Romance" (?!?). To make matters even stranger, Linus has also been involved in records put out by Smashing Pumpkins, Puff Daddy, and Lil' Kim. Still confused? We are definitely confused...but we are also mighty impressed. Being very much into breaking traditional boundaries regarding who hangs out with who, we can identify with where Linus of Hollywood is coming from. Why distance yourself from groups on the other side of the pond when you can merge with them and everyone comes out ahead? Variety is the spice of life, and this artist is a case in point. One thing you can almost bet your dandy britches on...folks in "hip underground circles" are going to HATE this guy. Not because he's not good...but because his music is so purely and amazingly upbeat, melodic, and happy. If it weren't for the fact that many of these tunes are actually quite complicated, we would categorize this as bubblegum music. Here in this thumpy little rotunda, we like happy bubblegummy stuff just as much as we like the loud and violent brands. Accordingly, this Linus fellow gets the thumbs up from us. His songwriting is well above average, his vocals are as clean as Polident, and the man's got a sense of humor as well. This one doesn't seem to fit in anywhere...and for that reason alone, we dig it."
"Linus isn't afraid to trumpet his positive take on life in general with feelgood music to match. On this excellent sophomore album, Linus continues his sublime interpretation of the soft/chamber/baroque pop values espoused by the likes of Brian Wilson (Building A Ship, A Whole New Country, Every Day I Fall In Love Again), Harry Nilsson (The Girl I'll Never Have), Todd Rundgren (Why Don't We...), ELO (Where Are You?), Queen (Goodbye to Romance) and ABBA (To Be A Girl). User friendly music in the good sense of the word. Sweet."
-- (Power of Pop)
"On his second album, Let Yourself Be Happy, Linus Of Hollywood continues to bestow his gift of giving each and every listener a good feelin' time, without ever sounding like a lightweight. His tunes are short, sweet, and to the point, and go down as easy as a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. You'll bop along to songs like the Calypso-flavored, ba-ba-ba laden "A Whole New Country," a theme to an early '70s children's show that never was, called "The Girl I'll Never Have," and "Every Day I Fall In Love Again," which could definitely serve as an anthem for every pop guy in the universe. If it sounds to you like Linus has overdosed on happy pills, check out "Building A Ship," a gorgeous, majestic ballad built around a "Greensleeves" melody and spiked with a healthy dose of strings, soaring vocals, and circular keyboards. Jellyfish fans will also love "Why Don't We" a beautiful waltz with ornate melodies (nice use of that Yellow Balloon "aaahh" in the bridge, Linus!). There are also a couple of excellent odes to the fairer sex (can that term still be used in these PC days?), "To Be A Girl," which may remind you of Lobo to the tenth power, and an aural bouquet of flowers, "Need You Around." The most charming song on Let Yourself Be Happy is "Thank You For Making Me Feel...Better," a paean to a favorite beverage, featuring sounds of pouring and bottles being smashed...you need to hear it for yourself, bud. You won't have to let yourself be happy when you listen to the new Linus Of Hollywood record. It will happen all by itself."
-- David Bash (Amplifier)
"Genius...sheer f'ing genius! Anyone who could take Ozzy's "Goodbye To Romance" and turn it into something the Beach Boys would be proud of deserves total props. Building on the solid pop foundation of the 70s AM Gold sound and giving it his own wicked spin, once again Linus knocks me for a loop. With bigger than life melodies and harmonies songs like "A Whole New Country", "The Girl I'll Never Have" and the Wings-like "Where Are You?" are among some of the best pure pop I've heard in quite a while. Various types of keyboards dominate the mix, which are strictly worked from 8-tracks, which make it all the more incredible that everything sounds as clean and crisp as it does. If this isn't on everyone's top 10 for 2001, something is seriously wrong. Like I said, sheer f'ing genius!"
"You'd guess that it would be hard for Linus Of Hollywood to top the critically praised Your Favourite Record. Well, he has. Let Yourself Be Happy is everything his impressive debut was and much more. Linus Of Hollywood has written better songs, put together better arrangements, and simply plays the one-man-band role better. The results end up being tracks like the acoustic and sunny A Whole New Country (featuring Lisa Jenio of Candypants fame on flute), the appropriately swaying Building A Ship, and the pure pop drive of Every Day I Fall in Love Again (co-written with co-producer Bruce Witkin) complete with a singalong chorus that'll have you joining in in no time. Still, there's more at work here and Linus Of Hollywood lets the creative juices flow through vocal arrangements like that on Where Are You and on the lounge-like Need You Around (a superior take on The Smoking Popes song). Even more impressive is the ability to have turned Ozzy Osbourne's Goodbye To Romance from ridiculous metal ballad to a far more convincing and tender longing. I'm grateful that he recognized the potential here. Linus Of Hollywood makes it quite easy to get lost in the music of Let Yourself Be Happy."
-- Claudio Sossi (Shake It Up)