Please don’t “Tell Me that it’s Over”: Wallows’ sophomore album

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Jocelyn Leal, Editor-in-Chief

Spoiler alert: Wallows is my favorite band, and I started listening in the unfortunate January of 2020 when their concerts were canceled and my only solace was in the “Wallows Radio” and “Feel Good Indie Rock” playlists on Spotify. I have listened to all of their music, from their first EP Spring, to their latest album Tell Me that it’s Over, and while that is not a large feat, it is one that has given me a lot of thoughts and feelings about their musical progression.

After Spring (2018), they released Nothing Happens (2019) and it truly felt like an album of beginnings. For reference, in 2019 I was in the end of my freshman year, a time where soul searching is prominent, so I was constantly relating the songs to my own high school life. So while it felt like a start to an era for Wallows (first album outlining their transition into adulthood) it was also a beginning for me, and what is music for if not to relate to?

It was easy to tie Nothing Happens to everyday teenage life, with songs like “Sidelines,” relating to the loneliness of football games and “Remember When,” about the moments growing up when you felt like the only people alive in the world (main character moment), and “Ice Cold Pool” which is stated by band member Braeden Lemasters to be about leaving behind your youth and growing up (Genius.com). The lyrics are easily related to moving through teenage years, working to let go of youth but also not entirely being an adult. It includes obvious pining for relationships and the work to impress someone you like (“Are You Bored Yet”) and the loss of people who are close to you (“Only Friend”) and the insecurities of growing up (“Treacherous Doctor”). It is an album that encases the musicians’ transfer from their teenage years and becoming more of their own person, almost perfectly mirroring the transition from teen to young adult.

Recently, Wallows put out their sophomore album Tell Me that it’s Over, after the (in my opinion) let down that was their synth-focused 2020 EP Remote, and after listening to it once I was crying. Immediately it feels like picking up the next chapter in a novel, a level of maturity and finality about it that made it great.

The album starts with “Hard to Believe,” a song that is different the typical Wallows sound as it starts with a plucky string progression before going into other instrumentals. The song goes on to talk about the end of a relationship, but also to outline the rest of the album. The strings continue throughout and the theme of ending continues with them. Not only in the lyrics but the overall sound of the album give and air of the end of a chapter and the start of something new. It is a change that is fulfilling for listeners that also stays true to the Wallows sound.

Next the album goes into its first single “I Don’t Want to Talk,” which was released on Sept. 30, 2021 and is the classic Wallows song about insecurity in a relationship, with someone else turning your partner’s head. While the song has a sad message, the instrumentals and sound contrast it, with an upbeat sound that hides that insecurity which is also common in other songs like “Scrawny” and “Treacherous Doctor.” “Especially You” is the third song on the album as well as the second single they released on Feb. 3, 2022, and features a banjo instrumental that is uncommon in their music. The song again talks about relationship insecurity and reading into everything a person says, pulling out things they did not mean.

The fourth song and the final single that was released a month ahead of the album on Feb. 25, 2022 was “At the End of the Day,” a song that gives 80s synth-pop vibes which I thoroughly enjoyed. That type of sound is so nostalgic and they pull it off so well. This is the first song that includes the ending rhetoric in the title, talking about always being there and living out the best parts of a relationship until the end of the day, waiting for whatever their partner wants to do. It is these words with the connotation of the end mixed with other lyrics of the first three songs that start to give the feeling of the end of this chapter and onto the next.

Adventure Time- Wallows’ sophomore album features great lyrical work including in the song “Guitar Romantic Search Adventure.” Song writer Dylan Minnette said that it was more about the beginning of a relationship when it felt so much like a conclusion. “It’s interesting to conclude here, because the song is about the beginnings of speaking with someone…” said Minnette according to Genius.com.

“Marvelous,” is a song that fully captures the feeling of acceptance that come with an ending. It is an upbeat tune that contrasts the sort of sadness of accepting that things are not the way they used to be, with the last line of the main chorus being “Have a marvelous time, I won’t get you off of my mind,” detailing someone leaving, but not being over them. This song is such an ear worm and a joy to listen to, and it further reinforces that acceptance of change that give this album its feel.

The sixth, eighth and ninth songs on the album, “Permanent Price,” “Hurts Me, ” and That’s What I Get,” all share the common theme of insecurities in relationships, although there are a few key differences that make them unique from the past Wallows discography.

“Permanent Price,” features lead singer Dylan Minnette’s girlfriend, Lydia Knight, in a slower song that sounds like it is being sung longingly over the phone. It takes a more folksy route with background sounds of harmonica that really give it a different feel. The vocals by Knight are also beautiful and give a more delicate air to the song.

“Hurts Me,” also is a song that has an upbeat tune paired with more depressing lyrics, however, like Marvelous, this song is an ear worm that is fun to listen to, especially with its more 80s inspired beats.

Finally, “That’s What I Get,” is one of the few songs on the album and even in their whole discography that uses the word “love,” despite many of the tracks being about relationships, which I thought was interesting.

The seventh song, “Missing Out,” is different though, and brings me back to the whole high school comparison. It is full of emotion that channels a sort of 2010s boy-band type feel (which I did not think I could use in the sentence), but it was so written for the people with the missed opportunities, and as a high schooler it is so easy to wonder if you had all of the “teenage experiences” that define high school life. “Did I bury myself in school work on miss out on a key part of my life?” This song is for those who are asking that question.

The last song on the album is one that is among my favorite songs of all time. The beautifully interesting “Guitar Romantic Search Adventure,” sounds like the last chapter in a book, the feeling of ending in your gut, mixed with nostalgia at where all the time went. It feels like a conclusion with that chance for an epilogue, the hope that your characters stay together and go on that guitar romantic search adventure. It fully encapsulates the feeling that that you get as the end of high school draws near and you want it to be over but you also hate that life will never be like this again. Mixing waves of synth with a simple piano tune gives this song so much texture and it is what I would call (remember I have no music critiquing experience) and masterpiece.

Wallows’ sophomore album, “Tell Me that It’s Over,” is a gorgeous encapsulation of being at the end of the journey and the conflicting feelings that come with wanting to move on to the next chapter, while also being afraid of letting go. It is made for those years in your twenties like Wallows are now for when you are unsure of what to do in life, and it is also perfect for your senior year of high school. The songs differ enough so the album is not repetitive and adds something new to the genre, but it is also reminiscent of old Wallows sound that I thoroughly enjoy. Anyone who is a fan of indie rock/pop or is going through a transition in their life will connect with this album; it truly is an emotional piece.

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