Album Review: I Love Your Lifestyle — ‘No Driver’
Posted: by The Editor
The juxtaposition of depressing, self-loathing lyrics and explosively joyful music has always been a key draw of the emo and punk worlds for me. Hearing bands who produce this type of music – like Green Day, Sum 41, and Operation Ivy – for the first time as a middle-schooler felt like discovering another reality that ran counter to the mainstream messaging of how you were supposed to feel and act. On No Driver, I Love Your Lifestyle unabashedly embrace this combination, dwelling deep in the lyrical mires, even as the guitar solos and extended bridges push the music to dazzling heights.
The Swedish group sets the mood right off the bat with “Stupid,” an absolute rocker that begs you to sing along even as the band admonishes you to “put your hands down / Don’t try to sing along / ‘Cause we are nothing but wet clowns.” I Love Your Lifestyle feel comfortable living in these contradictions as they follow the line “everything we’ve ever done / Has been nothing but stupid” with an acrobatic instrumental run that directly undermines the lyrics.
“Car” and “Shilly-Shally” stand out as particularly excellent songs on the first half of the record. There’s a fun bounce to “Car” that runs counter to the lyrics dealing with the utter lack of desire to leave the house for any reason whatsoever. “Shilly-Shally” fuses a catchy guitar hook along with some of the album’s more comforting lyrics.
The dichotomies continue on the second half of the record with the pairing of “Fram och Tillbaka” (which, according to a Google search, roughly translates to “back and forth”) and “Well, That’s Not Ideal.” The former, a smoldering, layered waltz, is the only song on the album sang entirely in Swedish. The tranquil synths and arpeggiated guitars immediately give way to the brutal forty-six-second attack of “Well, That’s Not Ideal,” easily the hardest, most aggressive song on the album.
Those songs are followed by “OK,” another catchy tune about getting through the everyday. The band really reaches their high point with “Inner Freakness,” though. Full of introspective lyrics with harsh realizations, the song also has one of the more infectious melodies on the album. Again, you’ll find yourself ignoring the band’s advice to not sing along as “What a waste, a waste of a weekend / There’s no point of doing anything at all / Turns out I’ll always be a loser / My brain’s not able to create a single thought” feels more like a triumphant proclamation than it does a mopey statement of self-pity. Those lyrics demonstrate what’s so great about this record—and the “sad lyric/happy music” genre in general. There’s something freeing about being able to express these “negative” thoughts that we are generally told are not okay to have (surely, anyone who has been to a PUP show understands this).
On No Driver, I Love Your Lifestyle capture the gloomy, gray dullness that can come from repetitive city life and wrap it up in an ecstatic, joyful soundscape. Despite all the dark, inward-looking lyrics, the record is actually incredibly uplifting and encapsulates everything that is wonderful about the group’s corner of the musical universe.
Disappointing / Average/ Good / Great / Phenomenal
Aaron Eisenreich| @slobboyreject
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