Grouplove_Healer

Courtesy of Larrabee Studios

March 20, 2020

TEST SPIN | Grouplove — ‘Healer’

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Grouplove is a name recognizable to almost anyone who owned a radio and reached their teen or pre-teen years during the early 2010s. Beloved for provocative rhythms and anthems that speak to the glory of youth, shuffling Grouplove is a lot like opening a time capsule to whatever you consider the best years of your life.

Much of the band’s fame is due to their wildly successful 2011 knockout, “Tongue Tied,” which has maintained smash-hit status almost ten years later. With a delightfully energizing beat and lyrics that celebrate the impulsivity and carelessness of juvenescence, the tune continues to wreak havoc on any frat house dance floor or dorm room jam session. With a starting keyboard riff that is easily distinguishable and electric, the opening bars of this track will take you right back to eating Frostys at the Wendy’s drive-thru after dance class in 2012 (or maybe that’s just me).

Healer is the newest album to hit Grouplove’s arsenal, released on March 13. With 11 tracks and an album cover that looks a lot like an homage to their greatest hit, the collection is a wonderfully curated blend of the group’s best features. The album has the memorable phrases and upbeat melodies listeners expect from Grouplove yet also contains the smoother, more serene cadences that scream West Coast chill.

My two favorite tracks on the album are “Deleter” and “Expectations,” the first of which was dropped as a single earlier this year. “Deleter” is so very Grouplove-esque in the best possible way. With catchy lyrics and powerful percussion, the song is recklessly vivacious yet manages to escape the trope of cacophony. Although the chorus of “Expectations” is rooted in the repetition of the phrase “too much expectations,” I’ll let the improper grammar slide in praise of the song’s futuristic layers and soothing, soft vocals.

“Promises” is another excellent song on the album, with pleasant harmonies and a sick guitar thread near the finale. The track is an ode to skepticism with an undertone of political dissatisfaction, proclaiming “I got news for you, Uncle Sam / I got no use for you / You’re just another made up man in a stupid costume.”

If you’re looking for a song to cry to instead of one to bop to, press play on “Places.” It is sweet yet not saccharine, putting words to the feeling of lacking direction. The song conjures up images of majestic natural landscapes, like standing on a cliff somewhere in Ireland or laying in a field of lilacs somewhere warm.

The last song on the album, “This is Everything,” shares this more subdued vibe, feeling beachy and regretful yet not outrightly sad.

Several tracks on the album act as gateways to deep pools of nostalgia. “The Great Unknown” is reminiscent of powerhouses like Weezer or the All-American Rejects, while “Hail to the Queen” has the strong guitar presence that defined much of the early 2000s rock scene.

In Healer, Grouplove has proven that they can do what a lot of other alternative groups cannot– they have remained true to the style that brought them fame so many years ago without sounding washed up or overdone. Grouplove has succeeded in creating something that’s fresh and youthful yet not immature, making space for listeners to ponder how regardless of the world’s changes around us, maybe there are pieces of us that will always be how they were back in 2011. For now, I’ll enjoy the way Grouplove makes me feel thankful for my adolescence, and later, I’ll relish in the memories I made rocking out to their music while cheering every word.

 

Megan Pontin is a freshman in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. She can be reached at mpontin@cornellsun.com.