Photo Credit: Tape and Glue Music
Indie pop band Lovelytheband released their debut studio album Finding It Hard to Smile on August 3, 2018. The American based band formed in 2016 in Los Angeles, California. Composed of three performers, Mitchy Collins leads on vocals with Jordan Greenwald as the guitarist, and Sam Price as the drummer, the band quickly gained pop stardom.
In April 2017, the band debuted their single “broken.” The track has gained over 3 million streams on Spotify since its release and it charted on multiple Billboard charts as well. Later in June, the band announced their full-length debut Finding It Hard to Smile. Issues like angst, loneliness, depression, and self-loathing are brought up throughout Finding It Hard to Smile. When paired with upbeat songs, the album gives the impression of some dark reflection. The band uses synth and production in a way that doesn’t fight for direct attention.
The album comes starts off with a soothing instrumental on the self-titled track “finding it hard to smile”. The song has a gradual buildup of sound that prepares listeners for what there is to come on this record. Once the following track “pity party” begins playing, it has a bouncy pop sound to it that makes you want to dance. However, once the lyrics sink in, it becomes less of a dance party and takes on a sad tone. This song is about how anxiety and depression affects a person’s social life. With a bit of foreshadowing, “You’re invited to my pity party // you see me smile, but I won’t be happy.” This line nearly sums up the entire vibe of Finding It Hard to Smile.
“make you feel pretty” is an interesting story of a couple becoming addicted to each other for superficial reasons. The rhythm makes you want to rock back and forth as this hopeless lover spills his deep frustrating emotions on materialism and fame. Following, Lovelytheband’s breakout hit “broken” makes its appearance. This song beautifully expands the concept of love through flaws. “broken” is a song for people who feel incomplete and search to fill that void through transparent love.
“alone time” is a sorrow filled song that focuses on what happens when someone is alone for too long with too much on their mind. The thought and emotion expressed in this song is something that many people share. Being in the company of one person can make all the difference. “these are my friends” continues the album’s story by finding a group of friends to make the person feel better. At first, it seems like a happy song of assurance but by the middle of the song, the assurance comes into question, as it may be a metaphor for drinking or drugs.
The mellow sound of “Coachella” has listeners rocking to the etheric voice of Collins. It feels pure and open, like standing in a sun drenched field feeling euphoric. “filling a void” is a short interlude that speaks to love that isn’t returned. If true to the album story, this song is the come down after being at Coachella. The following track “your whatever” plays to the desire to be loved and needed by someone. It’s dangerously close to being an anthem for people longing to be loved.
“maybe, i’m afraid” is a song of vulnerability. It’s a song crying for hope. Emotions can be difficult for people to explain or adapt to. Hearing the vocalist shout throughout the chorus his thoughts and fears, is an excellent example of a buildup of emotion in a relationship. “emotion” represents what happens when that buildup explodes. While soft and mellow, the lyrics create a world of frustrating thoughts. The desire to want more from a failing relationship is anguishing. “walk from here” continues on with the parting of lovers. This song takes on some accountability when arguments happen in relationships.
“stupid mistakes” briefly explains the breakup of lovers. It’s about the regret someone feels after breaking up with someone. The sense of accountability for a stupid decision is important to the growth of the singer. We then switch gears on the album with “make believe” which is a plea to a crush. It could be a new person or attempting to redo a relationship. Unfortunately, it never became anything more because the person on the receiving end wasn’t open enough or emotionally available.
The next track “i like the way” is a song for the singer’s new lover. They find love relatively better than anything that either of them has previously experienced. This leads us up to “everything I could never say…to you” which is the closing song to this sad and indie pop-driven album. The sincerity in the song comes from someone giving their love to another person that doesn’t want it. Maybe there will be a time for reciprocating love, but it’s not the current case.
Mitchy Collins vocals are soft but direct in his lyricism and his messages. Combining vulnerable truths with fast, upbeat tempos creates musically artistic songs that defy people’s expectations. Much of the album may sound happy and upbeat, but its message is quite the opposite. Lovelytheband’s melancholy attitude in this indie pop music is palpable. The story provided in Finding It Hard to Smile is carefully laid out for a lover seeking validity. Finding the relatable connection is the difference between admitting your flaws to yourself versus pointing out them out in someone else.