Album Review: Graduating Life – “Grad Life”

Posted: by The Editor

When looking to describe a person like Bart Starr, there are many words that come to mind. Funny? Yes. Talented? Yes. “Memey?” Absolutely. However, none of these words come close to what actually defines Bart at his core, and what actually defines Graduating Life.

Savagery. This is the concept that would leave the world quiet when the beginning of Grad Life’s “There’s Only One Way” would play. Take this word to mean whatever you will. Whether it reminds you of a half-court shot, beating the buzzer, and overturning the outcome of a NBA Finals game, or if it makes you think about the blood running down a lion’s chin after it has secured its kill; Graduating Life will fill the role of whatever need be.

Grad Life is Graduating Life’s sophomore LP, has been anxiously awaited by their fans since the first LP. It is an understatement to say that the band took the dial and turned it up to eleven. A more accurate representation is that they took the dial, ripped it off, and punted it across the stage. Graduating Life sets to outdo themselves in every way possible as compared their first LP.

Their opener is reminiscent of a tone left behind by My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade. The gothic harmonies of the guitar and background vocals perfectly contrast with the warmth of the brass behind it. The gritty vocals on “Family Reunion” by Bart Starr bring Grad Life out of a pop-punk veil into an emo chorus of self deprecation and disdain for one’s parents. “Dont Have Kids” talks about the truth of how cruel and mean children can be to one another in school.

If it isn’t clear by now that Bart is going through a explosion of emotions, read this last line. “I started medication, weaned myself off. That happiness was artificial and fake Don’t you agree? If my happiness has to be forced then it wasn’t meant to be.” While I disagree with the statement, and he obviously deserves happiness, the sentiment of it reminds me of dark times in my life. However, the last four songs on this album climb out of this dark hole, not without their own obstacles of course. This is where we hear more parallels to My Chemical Romance but with the “savagery” of Graduating Life running through their veins. This is especially true in “Finale.”

Personally I think this is one of the best Graduating Life songs ever written. It is the “Welcome to The Black Parade”, the “Jesus of Suburbia”, the “Stairway to Heaven” of this band’s sophomore LP. Actually? Not strong enough to describe it. “Finale” is the “Bohemian Rhapsody” of Graduating Life. I’m not ashamed to say that with combination of the growth of this band, and the lyrics: “I’ll pin my note to the door and you can find it in the morning,”  I shed a tear. This is THE finale. What it has all been heading towards. Every ounce of trauma, laughter, smiles, fear, loss, and love. It is a bittersweet ending, but luckily you can stream it over and over like I have been doing.  This album caught me off guard in the best way possible, and I am so incredibly happy to have listened.

Disappointing / Average / Good / Great / Phenomenal

Jordi Ali Perbtani | @foxwoodfl

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