Everyone has that defining album that becomes their go-to when they need a good cry. It reaches into their soul, brings out tears they didn't even know they had and brings on that movie montage -- you know, the one where you pass through time marching on resolutely during the day and stare off into the distance at night, wondering what's going to become of your life.
LA-based band LANY has made albums out of that style (four EPs and an album, really), combining perfect balances of synth and acoustic to create tracks that would be perfect to drop into a cinematic sequence. Their latest album, titled Malibu Nights, remains true to that style. Through nine tracks, the album cycles through the extended six stages of grief -- and leaves the listener asking who could be this cruel to hurt the songwriter so badly.
Four tracks had been released ahead of the entire album -- "Thru These Tears", "I Don't Wanna Love You Anymore", "Thick and Thin" and "If You See Her". All of them represented different stages of the album -- the first an acknowledgment that sure, things will get better, but not in the current moment -- the betrayal is still fresh, and maybe we should be allowed to wallow in it just a little before beginning to step on the path to recovery.
The second is a plea to just let us forget that we've been hurt and bruised this way, if not so that we'd be allowed to start healing and moving on. There's no point in trying to salvage what's been there -- the other person's moved on. This is the song you rage-dance to, but with all of your frustrations brimming at the surface -- why can't you just let them go?
"Thick and Thin" takes sadness and simmers it down to anger -- we go to war, as the lyric goes. What happened to the permanency they promised? Had they really not meant it when they said they'd stay no matter what the consequences? Did 'ride or die' mean something completely different from what we thought it meant? The time for mourning the death of the relationship is over: all we are is bewildered, and we'd really like some answers, goddammit.
"If You See Her" is an interesting take. It's the humane side of the death of a relationship. The other person may have hurt them, yes, but it's not like we were faultless on our side, either. We remember that being in a relationship with someone is a two-way street. The whole affair may be broken up, yes, but it also doesn't mean that we're not going to stop looking out for the other person.
While these four were the pre-released singles, it's the rest of the album that ties the whole thing into an experience you dance to in the middle of the night alone or in the dark of your room when no one's watching. (It's also highly recommendable to just lay in bed and listen to the whole album through if you're feeling melancholy.) They range from being the bridge between the beginnings of a breakup ("Taking Me Back") to echoing the confidence of having completely moved on ("Run").
Throughout it all, lyricless transitions remain the real star of the album -- "Thru These Tears" features a piano bridge that can be described in no other manner other than clarifying. "If You See Her" brings forth a synth sound in the bridge that glides right into your head and doesn't leave.
Everything can be found penultimating in "Malibu Nights". Aptly named after the album (or possibly as a song to encompass the entire album), the repeating cycle of soft piano chords throughout the song coupled with the lyrics make for one of the album's biggest emotional impacts. If you're not emotionally mellowed out by the end of the song, then there probably isn't a soul in you.