What Is Love?
by Never Shout Never
There are a few moments in the life of Zoe where I hear a pop band and become obsessed; these instances probably have been P!nk, Dido, KT Tunstall, and Susanne Vega. Never Shout Never has added itself to that tiny collection of pop bands that are superior enough to appeal to a rocker like myself.
One odd trait this album has that stood out before I even heard the first note was that the album had eight songs and was only twenty-one minutes long…. and it’s not a punk album. Pop songs are usually the standard 3:30, so seeing songs that average about 2:50 confused me.
The first song on the album, “Love Is Our Weapon,” starts out with the chorus, which isn’t something that bands normally do. Additionally, the ukulele riffs (that isn’t a word combo you normally hear, is it?) are deeply catchy and feel-good. This song has some entertaining lyrics as well, including, “I never got involved with politics/
'Cause they always brought out the worst in my folks.” When I first played this song for my mom, she loved that line. It’s also quite true. Another line is from the chorus and is a goofy way of saying that people need to stop fighting with each other: “We got a hard day coming if we can’t work out/All the pissy little problems that were fightin’ about.” Laughing? Me too.
“Jane Doe,” the second song, is SHALLOW but cute. Basically, it’s about a guy who sees a girl and falls in love, but doesn’t even know her name…kind of like Romeo. “Jane Doe, I don’t even know you but I know for sure that you are beautiful so baby let me know your name. Damn what’s your name? ‘Cause I’m overly attracted and terribly convinced that she could be my princess and I could be her prince. And I’ve felt that way since, since I saw Jane Doe.” Shallow, right? But incredibly cute! My friend pointed out that the beauty of this song lies in that Jane Doe could be anybody and that the ability to envision any girl with any body type and skin colour is appealing and likewise different from most pop bands (who tend to popularize deeply thin white girls with straight blonde hair and diamond blue eyes).
The single “Can’t Stand It” comes next and is such an insanely catchy tune that sometimes I become afraid that I’ll go crazy if I don’t get it out of my head. “Baby I love you, I’m never gonna let you go. The more I think about it, the more I wanna let you know that everything you do is super duper cute and I can’t stand it.” In this song, the lead singer Christopher Drew uses some interesting vocals that I don’t know quite how to describe. At the ends of a few lines like “sail the ocean blue,” he goes flat and it sounds kind of like “spoken word.” I like it, but it’s definitely odd.
The next song, “Sacrilegious,” is honestly not one that I like. I’m not one to enjoy religious music of any kind; however, I do like the meaning of this song. From what I can tell, it sounds like the lead singer struggles with church because he doesn’t fit in with the people there. Lines like “skip church service to find my Jesus” and “I just don’t belong in a place like that,” hint at that meaning. I find this to be a good point to bring up because many people who choose to adorn themselves with piercings and tattoos do not fit in with a religious crowd and are therefore not accepted; also, heavy metal rockers have the stereotype of being “Satan worshippers.” Although some rockers probably do spend there free time sacrificing babies to the devil, a majority actually don’t. So, I do like the meaning of the song, but Drew’s voice is kind of whiny and hard-to-take.
However, the next song is as adorable as “Jane Doe” and “Can’t Stand It.” “I Love You 5” has no deep and hidden meaning, but uses a very fun beat and cute lyrics. You may be wondering, what exactly is “I Love You 5” supposed to mean? Well, here’s the chorus: “I love you one, a-two, a-three shoobeedoo, I love yah four, that’s more than I can afford, and can tell someday that I’m gonna say the truth….I love yah five!” So there you go. Adorable!
“California” is actually pronounced Ca-li-for-nigh-ay, which is the classically ridiculous way to pronounce California. This song boasts backup vocals that could easily be found in an old Beach Boys song including a bunch of “la-la-las.”
Track 07, the title track, and my favourite song on the album have some clever lyrics that I want to discuss. A lot of people live their lives thinking that everything revolves around money: “And I know you work hard everyday/But it call comes down/To the way you’re paid.” Now think about the name of the song, “What Is Love?”; that really is a good question. “Is it giving up? ‘Cause that’s not how you raised me.”
The final song, “The Past,” sings sadly of a life of a teenager who suffered from drug problems because of a town that didn’t really want him. “I’ve been smoking the green since I was merely sixteen,/Just to find an escape from this town that was so mean to me.” “The Past” is so much more heartfelt than any of the other songs; listening to it, you don’t feel the happy-go-lucky emotions inspired by the previous songs. Instead, you can feel the remorse and the memories spun into the words. Drew’s emotion finally shows through the music in this song, and makes it really touching.
This is an excellent album. Definitely listen to it!
Zoe Adler is a music journalist from Long Beach, California. Besides her website, which is her pride and joy, she works with the GRAMMY Foundation and the Long Beach Independent. Additionally, Ms. Adler is a musician, spending half of her time playing the flute, piccolo, trombone, and marching baritone. She has been with TeenView Music since the very start and hopes to make something of it in the future.