April 11, I Love You Like a Brother by Alex Lahey
Genre: Pop punk. I mean, Wikipedia says “alternative rock” but I feel like if it had been made 10 years ago it would’ve been pop punk.
Total tracks: 10
Songs you might know:
– “Every Day’s the Weekend”
– “I Love You Like a Brother”
– “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself”
My prior relationship with this album: I first discovered “Every Day’s the Weekend” because it was used on the Freeform instant classic The Bold Type. Because I know that The Bold Type tends to feature music well-aligned with my tastes, I sometimes just play the Spotify playlist in hopes of finding new music. Frankly, if you’re not listening to the The Bold Type Spotify playlist, you’re missing out. It’s full of bops. I loved “Every Day’s the Weekend” enough that I thought it was worth giving the whole album a chance. No time like the present.
My impressions this time around: This is one of those albums that just makes you say “damn, why can’t people like her ever get super famous?” I Love You Like a Brother is overflowing with the sort of teen angst energy that epitomizes pop punk, but yet there’s something different, fresh, and special about it. Sure, different, fresh, and special are all synonyms but I like this album enough that it deserves all three. Part of that freshness is Lahey’s voice, an effortless soprano with a tone that would’ve been well suited for more traditional pop music, but somehow doesn’t feel out of place with Ramones-esque guitar and drums behind it. It’s enough to make otherwise straightforward pop punk production feel different from all the pop punk you’ve heard before.
Another thing I love is Lahey’s lyrics. Unlike a lot of pop punk, this isn’t an album that just whines about not getting laid, or dreaming of a big city when you’re stuck in your hometown. Instead, it dives into the emotional intricacies of relationships. Perfectly balancing aggression and self-reflection, I Love You Like a Brother tells stories that are universally relatable. There’s something about a song called “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself” that just hits home with me, and I think would hit home with a lot of people. These slightly more mature lyrics juxtaposed with in-your-face pop punk hooks is just what this chick in her mid 20s needed.
If I had one complaint, it is that the album is rather homogenous. While I like this sound enough that it doesn’t bother me in particular, it’s not necessarily the best choice for someone who demands a lot of dynamic contrast on an album. Bear in mind this is Lahey’s debut, so that’s not all that surprising. It makes me excited to hear her sophomore album, which comes out May 17. (no seriously, I got distracted and pre-ordered it while writing this).
Who would enjoy it? Pop punk fans (especially those of us who value a woman’s perspective in the genre). I could also see it appealing to people who may have been put off by common lyrical tropes of the genre, but not its actual sound.