Hungover and waffling
Mary Claire O'Donnell | Thursday, September 24, 2009
Apparently it’s been a rough three years for the Boston-based band Boys Like Girls. Their 2006 self-titled debut album sung of new romance and exciting beginnings. “Love Drunk,” their sophomore album, however, sings a new song (no pun intended). Heartbreak replaces new romance and sadness, excitement. The emotionally charged album relates the heart wrenching breakup story told by lead singer and songwriter Martin Johnson, but in a repetitive, mostly melancholy way.
The album begins with the rocking “Heart Heart Heartbreak,” a song recounting the demise of a once beautiful relationship. With its upbeat tempo, it starts off the album well, giving a good impression of the songs to follow. Although the lyrics tell a sad story, the lively beat affects the listener more, minimizing the heartache conveyed in the song.
Although the whole album does not follow this trend, most songs do mimic the pattern set forth by the opening song. The album’s already popular title track is almost unrecognizable as a breakup song. Honestly, if it’s not already, it could probably get considerable airtime at this weekend’s dorm parties, when new relationships take flight every minute.
Not every song, however, echoes this model. Johnson’s collaboration with Taylor Swift, “Two Is Better Than One,” is a soulful ballad that tugs at listeners’ heartstrings. The two singers’ voices blend together melodiously, but even beautiful singing cannot overcome the deep angst present in the song. Crooning lyrics such as “so maybe it’s true that I can’t live without you, and maybe two is better than one,” Johnson and Swift conjure up visions of first heartbreaks, forcing listeners to relive every bitter and tearful memory.
Unfortunately, the album gets a little old about halfway through the first listening. There are only so many times one can listen to songs about heartbreak without feeling it themselves. The theme definitely relates to many people, but an entire album about it? And when listened to on shuffle, it’s possible to hear the three most depressing songs in a row, leaving the listener in a state of deep depression, regardless of current relationship status.
Furthermore, many of the songs have a similar sound. Listened to right after one another, the songs are easily confused, making it seem as though the album is just one long song, rather than 11 disparate ones. This is not to say that an album should have no coherence. Songs in an album should mesh well together in theme and rhythm, rather than just completely repeating one another.
The best track off the album is “Contagious,” a song that deals with the possibility of a new relationship, rather than the end of one. It recounts the story of Johnson’s quest to win back a lost love. The song strikes a chord with listeners who are looking to rekindle a lost love and inspires hope in its possibility. Also, the uplifting message is a rarity for this album, and the tune is a memorable one that will remain in your head long after you have finished listening to it.
Overall, the album is decent. A little more variety would definitely improve the album in general. The best advice, limit yourself to three songs a day, or intersperse happier tunes in order to avoid the pits of despair only appropriate after you realize the dining hall will not serve omelets on game day Saturdays. Also, to Johnson, to help with your love hangover, try Extra Strength Tylenol, it is much more effective than Motrin.