‘gg bb xx’ – An album title that seems to be shrouded in mystery. You see it and attempt to decipher what the abbreviations mean and wonder what LANY’s newest album is about. I know I did! This album has some bops that have been joining our end-of-summer playlists (and for us Singaporeans, well, our regular playlist)! Seeing how many of my friends were listening to LANY’s album on my Spotify Web Player, my curiosity was definitely piqued.
Well, to help satiate your own curiosities, I’ve detailed in this review more about my overall experience with this album and my Top 5 songs that I would skip to immediately (and advise you to do so, as well).
Firstly, I braced myself for the 12-song line-up, sat down and listened to the entire album. As I did so, I drew some conclusions. Music sees its trends come and go, but one trend currently making rounds is that of funky sounds and instrumentals. And LANY has lots of it in this album, which is great until it got kind of excessive at some point, and felt overdone to the extent that the meaning of the lyrics wasn’t quite able to shine through.
Speaking of the meaning of lyrics, most of the songs were mainly about dating and heartbreak. Sure, these are common topics that many songs usually cover, but they felt kind of shallow during some songs. From the album title, you can tell that these are the abbreviations used in regular texting by younger ages, and you get the feel of who the album is really for – the Gen Zs. I feel like LANY explored more with the sound to create hype and trendy music for the age group that their fans are largely from, but they left many of the lyrics rather shallow and basic.
Many things make up a song – the composition of sounds, the vocals, and the lyrics. So when I decide whether I like a song or not, I think about whether they all work hand in hand to add more to the song, or whether one overpowers the other.
Upon all these considerations, below are my chosen five songs, listed in the order they appear in their 12-song-album. These are the ones that I found myself gravitating towards in terms of sounds, vocals and lyrics.
up to me
Probably my favourite thing about this song is the storytelling. The way the persona is already with this near-perfect girl, but the only problem is that it isn’t her. They miss all the memories they’d made with her and wish that they could have her back if they could, but it was never up to them. While still about missing an ex, this song does go deeper and perfectly resonates with all the heartbroken souls it calls to. The story captivates you, and when they hit you with the ‘But it wasn’t up to me’, your heart stops, and your eyes widen.
It’s also a fun song to jam to, despite the emotional plot, and sort of gives me bedroom concert vibes. The funky accompaniment of sounds wasn’t too wild; rather, it worked in perfect symphony with the song and gave it a different vibe. I also adored how vocalist Paul Klein softened his voice and changed his tone at certain lines to reflect the persona’s regret and shame. It was so well-packaged and checked all my boxes!
roll over, baby
It already starts off with a funky sound, and you think, “Oh, okay, this one’s a happy and fun song”, right? Wrong! This one’s a rather emotional song about a couple in conflict, and the persona doesn’t want to let his partner sleep angry. It’s honestly so sweet to hear the persona’s words to their S/O, and you wish those words were being hushed to you.
Once again, the vocals relayed the song’s emotions to the listener – like they were trying to desperately convince their S/O to calm their anger and speak to them about what was up, while the worry consumed them. I enjoyed it. The chorus was my favourite part, and it’s what I’m excited to hear every time this song plays! For LANY’s style and groove, I approve (hey, that rhymed!).
ex i never had
I’m sure we all relate to the feeling of your heart being broken by the ex you never had. But what about being haunted by the ex you never had? Them sharing stories about things you never did, merely out of spite? Dang. That’s what this song is about. The more you listen, the more things you learn and figure out about the persona and this strange ex they never had.
It’s pretty vibey, and it’s bedroom concert material too! I especially liked how this was one of the few songs with little to no “funky” sounds, which sort of retains the authenticity and heart of the story. I appreciated that. I can literally imagine this song being performed in a concert with the crowd yelling the lyrics out loud in frustration.
Finally, a more meaningful song that isn’t about heartbreak and dating, makes its way to our ears! I absolutely love that out of the 12 songs in this album, LANY thought to add one that empowers and strengthens their listeners, especially since we established that their listeners are of younger ages. They’re at the age where they are dealing with a transition into adulthood, leaving them vulnerable and afraid of change. This song is just fantastic.
This track documents the process of growth and healing, and the phrase “getting somewhere” is like an assurance of that healing from the darkness that the persona used to be plunged in. Everything about this song had me. I feel like this is one of those tracks that you listen to on a day that you feel particularly vulnerable and listless, with the rain in the background comforting your pain.
one minute left to live
This was the perfect closing track. I don’t think there could have been a better song to end off gg bb xx. As you end this album, this song makes you ask yourself what you would do if you only had a minute left to live. The lyrics are so beautiful as they reveal that the persona just wants to spend their last minute with the love of their life, dying listening to them laugh or dancing in their arms – all so simple, yet so romantic. True love doesn’t need grand gestures and confessions. It’s the tiny things that count. This song is genuinely thought-provoking.
While it still carries similar themes like love, this song is so profound, unlike any of the other pieces in this entire album. Finally. The combination of the vocals and the piano is so divine, and it further entrances you in its spell.
‘GG’ often has two connotations – the good, like “Oh, good game! GG!”, and the bad, sort of like “Oh no. GG!”. Hence, I feel like that’s the perfect way to describe this album. I barely found these five remarkable songs that stood out to me. The rest of the tracks were all so intertwined with the same themes. While that’s cool because it ensures continuity, it feels dull and under-explored.
However, I could keep going about how they’re so unique and enrapturing for the songs that were done well. LANY truly shines the most in their choruses, albeit a little repetitive.
If I were to choose my favourite song, I would be torn between ‘somewhere’ and ‘one minute left to live’. These songs stole my heart with the depth that the other songs failed to deliver. I just hope that we get to see music from LANY that explores more themes outside their comfort zone in the future.
But other than that, LANY keeps delivering hits that their fans love, and we can’t wait to see how else they learn and improve their artistry! Till then, keep streaming their album on Spotify and Apple Music, and watch the ‘dancing in the kitchen’ and the ‘ex i never had’ music videos on YouTube!
gg bb xx, LANY.
Visuals courtesy of Andy De Luca.