I don’t know a lot about Chvrches, and prior to listening to ‘Love is Dead’, my only introduction to them had been from a friend from uni—who was (and still is), a massive fan. Let’s see what their newest release brings to the table, as someone who knows almost nothing of their discography.
The album opens up with ‘Graffiti’, and we’re eased into the album with a cheerful electronic beat. Right from the off, the theme of the album becomes clear. Nostalgia, growing up and wondering what could have been. ‘I’ve been waiting my whole life to grow old’, is an especially potent lyric, as we’re always wondering if things will be better once we’re older. More freedom, more understanding, just more everything. The vocals fit the EDM musical style perfectly. It’s also reminiscent of a trend that seems to be cropping up everywhere in recent albums (All Time Low’s ‘Good Times’ for example), all about looking back on their youth, all wondering what could have been—and how perhaps, things used to be a little simpler back then.
Skipping forward a track, you find ‘Deliverance’. This drum heavy track strips back the synth and electronic influence, leaving the album open to a darker tone that wasn’t present during the opening songs. The song starts off with a warning, ‘Careful when you’re swimming in the holy water’, and it’s the first of many religious images and influences that are present throughout almost all of the album. Our vocalist deals with what a toxic relationship is potentially, and how the person in question is incapable of change. ‘Forever’ is another song that is worth mentioning. It’s a pleading track, an ode to a loved one. It’s wistful and full of regret, nicely paired off with a faster beat than the songs preceding it.
‘Never Say Die’ opens up with perhaps the slowest song we’re heard on the record, with the vocalist being full of rhetorical questions, ‘Didn’t you say you would be better?’ Though the lyricism on this album is certainly worth nothing, each line on this song feels like an emotional punch to the gut, as she lacks the understanding to know why the person in question can’t be better than they currently are.
One of the most notable things about this record, aside from the lyricism and musical composition of the songs, is how strong the themes are, and this is all the more prominent on ‘Miracle’. It focuses and expands on the themes that we’ve been introduced to within the previous tracks of the record. It’s also a wonderful tie in with the album’s name, ‘Love Is Dead’, with the vocalist begging to know if what she’s doing is enough, and if the other person is truly in love to, ‘let it show’. A woeful exploration of perhaps a one-sided love, or relationship. It is without a doubt, thematically and lyrically, my favourite track on the album.
The album finishes off with ‘Wonderland’, and the interesting thing here is that the instrumentals follow on from the entirely keyboard led ‘ii’. One of my favourite things about this album is that in the latter half, it veers away from the romantic themes and instead follows questions based around the very premise of success, (‘I can’t live forever with my head in the clouds’). In a sense, this is a perfect closing song, as our vocalist finds acceptance—or at the very least, is on the right path.
This album is interesting mish-mash. Thematically, this album is fantastic. Exploring failed love and the price of success, the lyricism is beyond questioning of its authenticity. However, some songs do miss the mark. Though in terms of composition, they’re strong and don’t lack ‘pizzazz’, they do seem to lack something. However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that this is an incredibly solid album. Sure of itself and confident, and confident in its own message.
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