Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
In a week where many long-awaited studio albums were released into the world, Gemma and Kiah review the latest releases from Olivia Rodrigo, Waterparks, Matt Maltese and Twenty One Pilots.
Violet! – Waterparks (Gemma):
Violet! was released just two days before the unveiling of Waterparks’ seventeen-track fourth studio album ‘Greatest Hits’, serving as the fifth and final single for the album. A common theme amongst the album’s single selection has been the underlying dark lyrical themes masked by an upbeat, bubbly pop-punk sound, and Violet! again follows this pattern.
On the track, lead vocalist Awsten Knight discusses a “stalker situation” he experienced with an overly invasive fan, who repeatedly attempted to invade his personal privacy. Interestingly, the pre-chorus of the track is written from the fan’s perspective (“You say ‘Boy I’m not a stalker’ / But I watch you when you’re walking”).
It is a Waterparks tradition to name a song from each album after a Pixar reference, and Knight confirmed in a tweet that the title of Violet! is derived from The Incredibles’ character Violet, likely due to her superhuman ability to become invisible. It may also be a nod to Knight’s synaesthesia.
The song is also littered with clever references to other forms of media. The final lyrics of the chorus “And this ain’t Misery / But I’d break your knees / To keep you here with me” reference Stephen King’s 1987 book ‘Misery’ as Knight fears that his fate may imitate Sheldon’s. Meanwhile, the second verse references the Netflix show ‘You’: Watching Netflix again / It’s like I’m watching ‘You’ / But it’s about me / And just to be clear / I mean the show, you’re Joe”.
Despite the track’s lyrics leaving the listener slightly concerned for Knight’s safety, Violet! is a melodious, catchy and infectious pop punk track, and a highlight of ‘Greatest Hits’ as an album.
enough for you – Olivia Rodrigo (Gemma):
Guitar ballad enough for you is the seventh track from Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album ‘SOUR’. The track was previewed exactly a week before the release of the album, when Rodrigo set up a hotline that fans could call which played a preview of the album including a snippet of enough of you. On the date of album release, Rodrigo also posted a live version of the song to YouTube.
”I wrote it literally on my bedroom floor”
She said of the track: “I wrote enough for you entirely by myself which I’m very proud of. I wrote it literally on my bedroom floor. I actually was on breakup TikTok for a while, which is really funny. I was literally scrolling through TikTok and I found this really hopeful breakup video. It’s so embarrassing that this inspired this really emotional song, but I really was very inspired by this TikTok.”
The lyrics describe her effort to feel like she is good enough for her lover, destroying her own self esteem by comparing herself to his exes, just for him to leave her for someone else. However, the song ultimately portrays a message of hope as she recognises that she will become stronger in the long run and it will be her ex who ends up heartbroken because no one will ever be good enough for him.
Mystery – Matt Maltese (Kiah):
Matt Maltese has returned to release Mystery, a downbeat guitar song, as his first single for his upcoming third album. Coming almost a year after his ‘madhouse’ EP, Maltese touches new ground with Mystery, combining guitars and gentle synths to create the perfect melancholic song.
The slow pace of Mystery paired with Maltese’s soft vocals give the song a peaceful sound, with Maltese gently singing about deciding to choose someone despite everything. Describing the song as “a loving question mark,” Maltese relates how Mystery is about “Why we are what we are, and think and feel the way we do, is an unanswerable question that we can only be in awe of sometimes.”
Since his last release, Maltese’s music has surged in popularity, with his 2017 single As the World Caves In going viral on Tiktok, giving Maltese a wider listener base for new releases. With his third album expected sometime this year, Maltese has set a strong ground for the album with Mystery.
Saturday – Twenty One Pilots (Kiah):
Released just a few days before the full unveiling of ‘Scaled and Icy’, Saturday is the third single for Twenty One Pilots’ sixth studio album. Upbeat and energetic, Saturday offers a more idealistic view than previous singles Shy Away and Choker. Saturday was hinted at by the band on Twitter through a short cryptic video, with an official lyric video being released soon after.
Saturday has a more bubble-gum pop sound
Saturday was produced with Greg Kurstin who has worked with many big names in the music industry such as Halsey and Harry Styles. Contrasting Twenty One Pilots’ usual releases, Saturday has a more bubble-gum pop sound, incorporating dance-like elements and having a more polished feel. The bridge of the song features a phone-call between frontman Tyler Joseph and his wife Jenna Joseph, giving the song a heart-warming tinge.
Alongside the change in sound, Saturday’s lyrics are also unlike Tyler Joseph’s usual releases. The lyrics are the more disappointing aspect of the song, appearing vapid and basic when compared to other releases. Although the more upbeat pop sound is an interesting change for the band, the lyrics lack the depth and creativity that fans of Twenty One Pilots have grown to love, resulting in Saturday being one of the more disappointing songs on ‘Scaled and Icy’.
Gemma Cockrell and Kiah Tooke
To listen to all of these tracks, check out the New Releases Roundup playlist on Spotify.
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