'Every Bad' surprised me. When the first track began playing, I was immediately turned off by the sound. 'That indie sound' is something many'Every Bad' surprised me. When the first track began playing, I was immediately turned off by the sound. 'That indie sound' is something many of us find hard to enjoy nowadays. But I decided to listen on, and as the album unfolded I could see a narrative building and the sound changing: I was hooked till the end. Four listens later, I genuinely love the album. It experiments enough while not trying to break some invisible genre barrier. Lyrically it's powerful and Dana's vocal delivery is a wonder. Also the drumming is incredible. It's not a perfect album by any means, but one I'll be revisiting often this year.
|| The Sea as a Motif ||
I really want to get to a seaside someday soon, put on headphones, and listen to this in its entirety. The 'sea' is a major motif throughout: in 'Nephews', the sea is a source of comfort, a place which can swallow you up and take away your consciousness and hence your pain. In 'Pop Song', Dana pleads the sea to make her feel safe as the waves roll in. In 'Circling', to quote Dana, she 'tried to follow the feeling of the flow of waves [pointing to the repeated lines], and how they keep coming in endlessly, washing everything away without judgment, and then bringing it back again."
And like the sea waves, lines repeat themselves to the point where they sometimes feel like another instrument blending in with the others.
|| On the Lyrics and Narrative: Is it a concept album? ||
(Disclaimer: personal interpretations)
It almost feels like a concept album to me even though it's probably not. Through the album we see a change in the protagonist of the songs. Till 'Nephews', the Girl in the songs presents herself as bitter and sarcastic in her depression. She has prepared herself and even expects the worst possible things to happen to her; a nervous, self-deprecating, suicidal wreck (Sweet). Somedays, she wakes up feeling completely disoriented with the world and in her body (Don't Ask Me Twice). She pushes everyone away and feels like she's wasting her life (Long).
From 'Nephews' onwards we see her more vulnerable and hopeful. But her hope comes from the sea where 'the water's so dark that you can't feel your heart as it sinks'. She wishes the sea to swallow her and wash away her pain. The sea feels more like home than her home itself; hence she's never going back (Pop Song) to the home that makes her feel bitter and ugly inside.
From 'Give/Take' onwards, the girl enters a more self-reflective and hopeful phase, where she faces guilt and longing (Give/Take), and wants to be better and kinder to her lover and people around her, despite depression making her almost incapable of being that way (Lilac). She stands by the sea again and tells herself she is okay repeatedly while the sea holds her hand (Circling). 'The Homecoming Song' ends the album in a very open way pointing to the cyclical nature of depression. It feels like she's back to being the self she was at the beginning of the album. The sea takes away but also gives back, and that applies to her pain too.
|| Highlights ||
- The album begins brilliantly with the line "I'm bored to death, let's argue" preparing us for the wit and tone of the album though I'm not very fond of this track overall.
- 'Don't Ask Me Twice' has a great moment. The drumming and the mix on the verse which begins "Oh, I woke up and I was scared / So I made my way down the stairs" is kickass. Compliments the emotions of what she's saying perfectly. I could actually visualise her waking up and rushing down the stairs with the pace of the drumbeat.
-'Long' is a beautiful track, one of the more melodious alt-rocky tracks on the album. The album definitely needed a track like this. One of my favourites.
-'Pop Song' is a mellower track. Dana's screaming delivery seems to go great with these gentle alternative rock rhythms. 'It's not what you sing, but how you sing it' goes the saying, and Dana has her delivery on point throughout the album.
- 'Lilac' is my favourite track off the album. The music video also has a bit to do with that. The song starts off with Dana singing in a very Kurt Vile way. The backing vocals in this track add so much. "I'm stuck I'm stuck I'm stuck" lines envelope the listener while the song moves forward. It's these brilliantly thought out ideas that make this album so great composition-wise.
-Every track from Lilac onwards is a 10, which ends the album in an incredibly strong way. '(Something)' uses autotune which comes as a surprise within the album, but it works! Another great track.
Overall I rate the second half of the album a 9.5 while the first would be a 6.5. Certain tracks, while they work well within the album, aren't ones I would go back to a lot. Born Confused, Sweet, Don't Ask Me Twice and Give/Take are the tracks that I like the LEAST right now, but I don't count out the possibility of them growing on me more. Time is a weird thing.
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