by Briton Alexander
“Are you running for your life? So am I, So am I.
Are you faking every smile? So am I, So am I.”
Super Whatevr’s new album don’t you wanna be glad? is a drastic departure from their previous albums. Gone is the indie-rock DIY feeling; in its place the Instagrammable PASTEL IS EMO a e s t h e t i c. Shifting away from thrift-store t-shirts and guitar hooks into matching blazers with shorts and glossy bap snares. Super Whatevr remains honest through their prose despite this significant alteration. The majority of the album presents this dichotomous shift via familiar, cynical lyrics wrapped in new pop hooks. Listening to the album is jarring; whether you’re a die-hard fan questioning the music or a newcomer balking at the words.
The first four songs—including “yours truly.” and “so am I.”—wiggle and wedge themselves into your lizard brain like a good pop song is supposed to. Focus on the lyrics, however, and you hear the self-deprecating #relatable lines that stock your nearest social media site. It is easy to see to whom the band is marketing. The bright pop sound betrays the anxiety and frustration the band feels, as revealed through their lyrics. This conflict between sunny sounds and melancholy musings carry the songs only so far though. Their catchy choruses repeat in my head but never linger.
However the latter half of the release is where I kept finding myself hitting repeat. “melancholyism.” and “holy anxious.” stabilize the band’s exploration of new sonic styles. Acoustic guitar, smooth vocals, and subtle synths on “holy anxious.” showcase lead singer Skyler McKee’s songwriting skill and “melancholyism.” is the best example of blending the band’s new sound with the old.
The album’s two biggest auditory outliers are also surprising bright spots. “i wanna be cool.” is a smooth hip-hop vibe I intend to soak in when an overwhelming day requires some auditory sauna time to unkink. “wesleepwedream.” distills complicated relationship stress into two repeating couplets, surrounded by
cracks, pops, and a moody synthesizer. Here McKee laments how pain comes from both sides of a relationship despite each person attempting to live in harmony with the other. The track’s palpable honesty is fleeting at under two minutes but endearing nonetheless.
Super Whatevr is evolving whether you want them to or not. I admire their experimentation and am excited to see where it ultimately leads.
Buy it, Stream it, or Skip it?:
Stream it…enjoy the variety of an evolving band pursuing their Pastel is