LANY by LANY
Review by Marissa Jackson
Around this time last year I discovered LANY after mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook feed and seeing an article comparing the LA trio to The 1975. Of course I immediately had to learn who these dudes were because my love for The 1975 is neverending. How could I not love an American version of one of my favorite bands? LANY definitely has many elements that make it easy to compare them to The 1975 but they hold a certain simplicity that perfectly fits their California vibes.
Last year LANY only had three EP’s in existence: “I Loved You.”, “Make Out”, and “kinda”. My favorite songs from these EP’s were “pink skies”, “WHERE THE HELL ARE MY FRIENDS”, and “ILYSB” (which thankfully, is on their self-titled debut album). Finally, on June 30th of this year they released “LANY”. This album is a dreamy collection of sad love songs, catchy beats, simple lyrics, and soulful/unique vocals. “LANY” is a perfect album for coping with a breakup or just going for a night drive on a nice summer night.
The first song on the album, “Dumb Stuff”, evokes a certain kind of teen innocence and initiates the feelings of young love that flow throughout the album. That sweet synth makes you feel like you could be listening to a revamped 80s album. I am in love with how the song starts with a rainy background. This is a perfect introduction to LANY’s sound; simple lyrics, dancy beats, and sweet fantasies about love and its complex simplicity.
“The Breakup” is definitely one of the catchiest tracks. Paul Klein’s vocals have the perfect “dream guy” sound. I got a little bored with some of the lyrics by the end of the song but the guitar is magical and pairs perfectly with the sporadic piano following Klein’s vocals. The repetition of lyrics seems to be LANY’s signature style which is actually something I am growing to appreciate. In the noisy world of music, sometimes it’s nice to enjoy an album that doesn’t try to impress it’s listeners with a load of “deep”/complex lyrics.
“Super Far” was the first song on this album that made me turn up the volume within the first five seconds of listening. The beat and vocals make me think of a 90s R&B song so of course it’s easy to fall in love with. It’s hard to not want to dance when you listen to this song; however, despite how dancy it initially sounds, the lyrics reveal real heartache and uncertainty in a relationship. “Super Far” is a great example of the overall theme of the album. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the electronic sounds (excuse the lack of technical terms) used in the last minute or so of the track during the bridge. LANY is truly a fun band to listen to and “Super Far” exemplifies this characteristic.
“Overtime” is another simple song that screams 1980’s. The electronics used throughout the song are hypnotizing which is something I love about LANY. This is another song similar to “The Breakup” where I got a little bored with the lyrics but the overall sound is nice to have as background music. It’s definitely an easy song to memorize because of how repetitive the lyrics are. Not one of my favorite’s on the album but it definitely ties their whole aesthetic together.
“Flowers On the Floor” is by far one of the most creative songs on the album. Going with the title, the track starts with the sound of wood floors creaking. To be totally honest with you I always find myself dancing in my car, room, bathroom, etc. when I listen to this song. This is one song of LANY’s that I can appreciate the repetition of lyrics. “Flowers On the Floor” would be such a fun song to see live and would involve a lot of dancing and shouting. The guitar on this track reminds me a lot of The 1975 which is pretty cool. Once again, Klein’s vocals make you feel like you’re in some kind of 1980s-90s teen dream romance.
“Parents” is probably the CUTEST track I have ever heard on an album. The entire song is just a voice message left by drummer Jake Goss’ mother. She lovingly dotes over the tattoo that Goss had done which is just the word “Parents” in a heart on his arm. After doing some investigation of my own, I found the actual instagram post from July of last year that she is talking about. Sure enough, the tattoo is there with the caption “suuuup. parents are important. love you steve and susan g!” This was such a random thing to add to the album but I really love how authentic and adorable it is.
Finally, we’ve come to my favorite song on the album, “ILYSB”. Like I mentioned before, this song was first on LANY’s “Make Out” EP. I think this was the first song I heard by them and I instantly fell in love. The sound fits perfectly with the rest of the album. Lots of synth, dreamy vocals, and catchy beats make this track really memorable. It’s really easy to get this song stuck in your head so be careful if you don’t feel like having an amazing tune playing in your head for the rest of the day. This is another one that I would LOVE to see live. “ILYSB” shows just how talented LANY really is and demonstrates how great they are at incorporating vintage sounds with modern music.
“13” is probably my least favorite song on the album. For me, it’s too slow, BUT that doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy it! Even though I’m not a fan of the overall sound I think a lot of the lyrics are really cute. Klein’s vocals and the classic snapping (clapping?) in the background make me think of a Babyface or Boyz II Men song. Klein’s falsetto in the last minute or so of the song are TO DIE FOR. Could he be any more perfect??
By the title alone you can tell that “Hericane” is going to be a tragic love song. This is another 90’s sounding song and sometimes it’s a bit too slow for me but it’s still really sweet and flows well with the album’s theme. I love how much emphasis is placed on Klein’s vocals. The harmonies are heartwarming. This would definitely be an emotional fan favorite during a live show. At surface level it seems like a sweet serenade but deep down I think it rounds out the general feelings that come with being on the brink of losing a relationship. Well done with communicating such complex feelings, boys!
I really love the intro to “Hurts”. This is another one that makes you want to go for a relaxing summer drive with all of the windows down. The lyrics are pretty catchy and it’s easy to want to sing along with Klein even from when you first hear the song. One thing that I always love from any artist is when they casually mention one of their older songs in new material. In this song Klein sings, “I remember when it was pink skies, just you and me” (“pink skies” is on LANY’s “kinda” EP). This is such a subtle way to show the evolution of the relationship that this album is about. “The more I love the more it hurts” is a beautiful, vulnerable, and honest statement. Like I said before, LANY has pretty simple lyrics but I think that “Hurts” shows just how powerful simple lyrics can be.
“Good Girls” starts with a dance-y beat that makes you feel like you’re shopping at H&M or Forever 21, and guess what...THAT’S OKAY. THAT’S THE AESTHETIC THAT LANY CATERS TO. City scenes, high fashion, and modern vibes are a huge influence on today’s music and that is exactly what we get with “Good Girls”. It’s not one of my favorite songs from this album, but it’s definitely a fun song to listen to! I can appreciate the fact that LANY is willing to mess around with catchy beats and electronic sounds like they did on this track.
I’ve been really excited to talk about this next song. “Pancakes” is so unique and probably up there with “ILYSB” as far as being one of my favorites. The first time I listened to it I honestly thought my spotify had randomly started playing something off of Frank Ocean’s “Blonde” until I heard Klein start singing. Call me crazy, but the beat and synth remind me a lot of Ocean’s song “Nights” for some reason. I respect LANY for incorporating elements of R&B in their sound. I am IN LOVE with the way Klein sings the lyrics and I’m pretty sure it’s the reason why this song has been stuck in my head for the past two days. The whole track is so dreamy. Even though I cannot decipher the deeper meaning behind singing about pancakes and champagne, I think this is some of LANY’s best work on the album.
“Tampa” is another slow jam that shows how beautiful and relaxed Klein’s vocals really are. I got a little bored with the lyrics again but their simplicity made me really focus on the musicality of the song. The electronics are intricate and beautifully woven together by the end of the song. With less lyrics I think it would sound a lot like The 1975’s “I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it”.
“Purple Teeth” is a fun song that makes you want to dance. I love that it feels like it could fit into a 1980’s romance movie. The synthesizer and guitar make me feel like LANY should have made a soundtrack for a John Hughes film. I don’t see the connection of the title with the song but I actually kind of love how unique and memorable it is. I love the echo of Klein’s vocals near the end of the song. Overall, “Purple Teeth” is a simple song with lots of soul.
The entirety of “So, Soo Pretty” is honestly...soooo pretty? The song is less than two minutes long and is mostly made up of a beautiful piano melody with a beat mixed in here and there. There is something about this track that is hauntingly beautiful. In my mind it seems like a lovely expression of the heartache that follows the loss of a romantic relationship. This song and the album as a whole do a great job of showing how to process and cope with a change in a relationship with someone you may still love.
“It Was Love” starts again with LANY’s classic hypnotizing synth. You can really feel how heartbreaking the overall vibes of this album are when you listen to this song. It sounds really similar to quite a few of the other tracks as far as how slow it is. I LOVE the electronic sounding saxophone that creeps in during the middle of the song. This is another trait that shows LANY is well-versed in their R&B/1980s knowledge. They even have some drum effects that sound like they’re straight out of the 1980s. The song ends abruptly which is actually a beautiful, artistic choice. I think it really illustrates the idea that sometimes love can just end before you really expect it.
By the time I got to the end of “LANY” I was able to confidently say that this was a beautiful debut for the band. They did a great job of communicating their style and solidifying their place within the alternative/indie-pop scene. LANY has definitely made me into an even bigger fan of theirs after this piece of art. I would love to see these boys live one day so I can dance around to “ILYSB” and cry when they play “It Was Love”. I hope they continue to expand their style/sound as they grow as a band. Look out for this talented trio as they work their way up the music ladder, friends!
Listen to LANY by LANY here.