There was a specific brand of indie pop that dominated the streaming platforms of preteens everywhere from 2016 to 2017. Over-synthed, drum-heavy songs about love—just vague enough for 13-year-olds to project their own dreams upon, yet still poppy enough to enter the weekly Top 40 slots. These songs gave birth to an entire generation of young adults with mediocre music taste.
Despite the alarming abundance of this genre of music and its profound genericness, it somehow survived the turn of the decade in the form of LANY, the truly abysmal poster band for lazy sell-out music, and the band’s aptly and ridiculously named fourth studio album, gg bb xx.
gg bb xx literally stands for nothing—an assertion that lead vocalist Paul Klein has confirmed. So, at the urging of LANY themselves, listeners should engage in a sort of DIY process when listening to the album, defining what the album means to themselves when listening. Considering the interchangeable nature of every song on gg bb xx, it’s not an unreasonable request.
Listening to the 38-minute album, it’s difficult to know where one track ends and another begins—it’s actually that bland. It feels like any one all-lowercase song could be plucked off the album, the song order reversed, and put back in place without anyone noticing. Tracks range from boring to borderline laughable. For example, “somewhere” takes the musical shape of a flavorless sad-boy tune while “’til i don’t” is one of the funnier unironic songs I’ve ever heard.
On the chorus of “’til i don’t,” Klein sings “Gonna be there for you, through the highs and lows / But I’ll never say ‘Forever’ ’cause it’s too much we don’t know / But I promise that I’ll love you, promise that I’ll love you ’til I don’t.” In what world is that supposed to be sweet, let alone romantic? What person hears this song and thinks “This is exactly the feeling I’ve been unable to articulate with mere words?” Who lied through their teeth and told LANY gg bb xx was an album even slightly worthy of release?
These are all questions with no answers, but there’s one thing that need not be questioned: gg bb xx isn’t very good. It’s a dull recycling of music that’s already been written and recorded far too many times in the last five years to be seen as anything other than what it is: radio filler.
Featured Image Courtesy of Interscope Records