LANY – “mama’s boy” Review

Story posted October 6, 2020 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Jimmy Lu

It’s been two years since their last album, but LANY is back with the highly anticipated “mama’s boy.”

Their first album “LANY” introduced their signature synth-pop sound, which further developed in their second album “Malibu Nights.” However, “mama’s boy” is a more stripped-back, acoustic-driven album that pays tribute to their Nashville roots, and the lyrics focus on their journey of self-discovery.

“mama’s boy” opens with “you!,” a rock ballad that perfectly sets up the tone for the rest of the album. The lyrics proclaim a universal love without referencing any physical characteristics or attributes.

“you” can also be interpreted as a worship song, perhaps tying into the later track, “i still talk to jesus.” The electric guitar, big drums and soaring chorus are somewhat reminiscent of “Yellow” by Coldplay. The band is also referenced in “when you’re drunk.”

In “good guys” and “cowboy in LA,” LANY talks about the frustration of being raised as a Southern guy and living in Los Angeles. “Oklahoma, it made a man out of me,” frontman Paul Klein sings, which is the first time he has opened up about his southern heritage. “When you’re with me, it’s better than Malibu.”

Another line in the song also references the group’s last album “Malibu Nights,” which symbolizes them moving on from the heartbreak.

One of the best songs on the album is the aforementioned “i still talk to jesus.” In the song, Klein questions his faith and how his life collides with his religion while still being faithful and trying to be better.

LANY tries something completely different than anything they’ve done before by using a choir. This only emphasizes the religious aspect of the song. “Hallelujah, amazing grace/Just tryna do better than yesterday,” Klein sings in the bridge, admitting that he is not a good Christian. The emotional vocals and heartfelt lyrics perfectly match with the chilling choir, making the song one of the album’s highlights.

“if this is the last time” is a love letter to Klein’s parents, which was released during quarantine. Ultimately, the message still fits the world now.

The song talks about cherishing the moment with your family before it’s too late, and the acoustic guitar and instrumentation compliment Klein’s vulnerable vocals.

“anything 4 U” and “(what i wish just one person would say to me)” could easily be the sweetest songs in LANY’s discography.

“anything 4 U” describes an innocent young love with little details of what it’s like to fall in love for the first time. It sounds like something one would hear at the end of a coming-of-age movie.

“(what i wish just one person would say to me),” meanwhile, is about finding the people who would support you through all the ups and downs in your life. Both songs have themes that are quite uncommon in LANY’s music.

“my heart won’t let me” and “paper” are about two lovers stuck in a toxic relationship because they’re scared of losing each other. The upbeat synth-pop and somber lyrics make for a classic LANY sound.

The album ends with “nobody else.” In this stripped-back song, Klein sings about how he’s finally able to move on from the heartbreak in “Malibu Nights.” The song also contains folk elements with a blend of flugelhorn, guitar and piano, ultimately ending the record with a glimpse of optimism and hope.

Overall, “mama’s boy” is LANY’s strongest body of work to date. Although there are songs that don’t hit quite as hard as the others, such as “sharing you” and “bad news,” the album is at its strongest when the band members share their struggles with personal identity and faith, and that happens frequently enough to merit attention.

Cohesiveness has always been LANY’s strong suit, but they’ve reached new heights with their intriguing storytelling and newfound sound.

“This is us knowing exactly who we are and embracing ourselves fully for the first time as a band,” LANY said on social media—and they did exactly that with “mama’s boy.”

Rating: 8/10

Reviewer’s Favorite Songs: “i still talk to jesus” and “cowboy in LA”

Reviewer’s Least Favorite Songs: “bad news” and “sharing you”

 

Jimmy (Chien-Hsing) Lu is a senior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email jfl5603@psu.edu.

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2020 , album review , lany , synthpop