Hey Violet
From the Outside


2.5
average

Review

by Divaman USER (157 Reviews)
July 1st, 2017 | 25 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The music is mostly lethargic, and a lot of the lyrics are kind of creepy. So why do I still sort of like these guys?

You've probably heard of "The Lost Boys", either from Peter Pan or from the tongue-in-cheek vampire movie of the same name. I've come to think of Hey Violet as "The Lost Girls", even if they now have a pair male members to go with the founding female trio. They don't know who they are. Or worse, maybe they've finally figured it out, and it's this.

They started life as Cherri Bomb, four middle school girls who played a generic mix of hard rock and punk. They put out one mediocre LP. Then they canned their lead singer, reformed as Hey Violet, and morphed into a pop punk band -- a really good one. In 2015, they released an excellent 5-song EP called I Can Feel It, and I couldn't wait to see what they'd do next. In 2016, they veered in more of an electro-pop direction with an EP called Brand New Moves. It seemed like a step backwards, but I tried to reserve judgment. And now we get From the Outside, their first full-lengther as Hey Violet. Ho boy. Where do I start"

This isn't a good album. It's average at best, and I'm probably being kind here. In 2015, they were working in the tradition of bands like The Go-Go's, The Runaways and Sleater-Kinney. Now they're aiming to be Halsey or Charlie XCX. Maybe it's a good move financially. Pop sells. But it makes me feel sad. It's like that kid cousin who was always so sweet. But now she's swearing like a sailor, staying out all night, and into all kinds of stuff you shudder to even think about.

The music here is mostly lethargic. Almost every song is slow-to-mid-tempo, and filled with those cutesy little electronic vocal effects that are so prevalent on second-rate pop albums like the new one by Linkin Park. It sounds like 3 AM in a seedy stripper bar -- music to pole dance to. Even on the one track that shows a little energy, "This Is Me Breaking Up With You", I get the feeling they were trying more to channel Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" than their own exceptional "You Don't Love Me Like You Should" from their better days. It's like they're trying to be The Spice Girls for a new generation.

As for the lyrics on this LP, they're often kind of creepy. Cherri Bomb formed in 2008, so I'm thinking even though they started as pre-teens, these girls have to be at least 20 now. But the songs are aimed at teens and tweens, and the subject matter ranges from boys begging for nude photos, to getting with older men ('cause "Guys my age don't know how to touch me"), to Celebratory Cutting for Couples 101. I know these are things high schoolers deal with in real life, but too often, the songs are written as smarmy seduction songs without an ounce of sincerity. One Sputnik User recently wrote "This album has about as much emotional depth as a badly made ham sandwich", and on too many of the songs, he was right on target.

So why do I still like these guys" And why did I rate the album as "average" instead of "poor" or worse" I'm not entirely sure myself, but here are a few thoughts. For starters, Rena Lovelis is a pretty good lead vocalist. She shows a strong but likable voice on the numbers where she's singing seriously. And she's also capable of the kind of vocal playfulness that singers like Gwen Stefani or Deborah Harry have gotten so much mileage out of over the years. She might not be as successful as, say, Halsey, but she's a thousand times more interesting.

Also, not all of the songs are just trying to be edgy -- a few feel more authentic. "O.D.D." is sung from a perspective many of us recognize, that of being a complete outsider. "I'm the girl in the back of the class," Lovelis explains. "Blank stare, don't care, don't ask." "Hoodie" is another song that feels real. It's sung from the perspective of a girl who's been dumped, but she just can't let go of that one last memento: "I'm still rocking your hoodie/And chewing on the strings/It makes me think about you/So I wear it when I sleep." Yes, this kind of thing has been done before. But it's done pretty well here.

Even a couple of the sleazier songs are at least catchy, like "Guys My Age" and "Fuqboi" (Get it" F-u-c-k-b-o-y! Get it"!...Please kill me.) They might make me want to take a shower. But damn it, I can't get them out of my head. And believe me, I've tried.

There are also small things that give the album what advertising double talkers like to call "added value". Like when they suddenly swerve way outside of the pop lane and throw a song such as "Like Lovers Do" at you, which almost sounds like gypsy folk music. Or when they use unusual turns of the phrase, like "When you spill your guts they don't go back in" on "Consequence", or the tacky "I'd rather cut out my tongue/Than let you kiss me with yours" on "Fuqboi". And when they do finally cut loose on "This Is Me Breaking Up With You" at the end of the album, it feels like a cooling rainstorm on a humid, steamy day.

All of which is to say I'm conflicted about this album. It's certainly not the musical direction that I hoped to see Hey Violet travel in, and there are a lot of things to criticize here. On the other hand, in fairness, I'm clearly not the target audience for From the Outside. And even with all of its low points, there are just enough little nuggets of gold here to make me want to hang in there with this band. Guess I'll have to wait to see where they go from here.



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user ratings (22)
Chart.
2.7
average


Comments:Add a Comment 
Divaman
July 1st 2017


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The recs are more musical equivalents than actual recommendations.

Digging: Kakkmaddafakka - Diplomacy

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2017


4473 Comments


hey This Is The End Of Control was actually pretty good

Brostep
Staff Reviewer
July 1st 2017


4473 Comments


this is a pretty good review all things considered. disagree re: Charli XCX/Miley Cyrus/TSwizz comparisons though, imo their pop is very different than this - the stuff here is pretty much indistinguishable from most Chainsmokers-y sounds on the radio (80-100 BPM, anthemic chorus followed by vocal chops on the drop, yadda yadda yadda), whereas nothing either of those three are doing sounds like anything remotely close to the radio. I'd compare this more to like Martin Garrix, The Chainsmokers, and really anything uploaded by Proximity on YT

Divaman
July 1st 2017


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The Taylor Swift comparison was really just in reference that one song being their version of "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together". I'm not a fan myself, but I do consider her on a higher level. With Miley, the comparison was less about her talent level and more about her sleaze level. But I hear what you're saying. Not familiar with Garrix, and the only Chainsmokers I've heard more than once or twice was that goofy selfie song.

ianblxdsoe
July 1st 2017


1916 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

congrats on the feature

Minushuman24
July 1st 2017


2169 Comments


This album makes me uncomfortable

Idontevenlikemusic
July 1st 2017


79 Comments


This isn't very good at all yeah

Their pop rock ep seems to be of better quality

Divaman
July 1st 2017


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks Ian.



Yeah, me too, Minushuman.



I agree also, Idontevenlikemusic. My ratings for their albums have been going consistently down.

TheGreatQ
July 1st 2017


2794 Comments


Someone told me to listen to "Guys My Age" when it came out and I never want to hear another song by this band because of that first experience.

Digging: Teenage Wrist - Chrome Neon Jesus

mvdu
July 1st 2017


774 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Starts off and ends well, but when they slow it down in the middle, it gets kind of boring. I think I would rate a little better than you do, though. Probably a 3.

Digging: Pink - Hurts 2B Human

Idontevenlikemusic
July 1st 2017


79 Comments


Lol after all the sick disgusting music I've heard nothing gets to me anymore.

Also pretty sure they are over the legal age now, if they wanna fk 50 year old men more power to em I guess.



Minushuman24
July 2nd 2017


2169 Comments


I really dislike this album.... but I do kinda like Brand New Moves.... a little bit

wwf
July 2nd 2017


6266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Brand New Moves is a great song, and Guys My Age isn't exactly a mature song but its fun



I doubt this is that bad

Digging: Little Simz - GREY Area

DoofusWainwright
July 2nd 2017


19991 Comments


Congrats on the feature Diva

xAshtrayux
July 2nd 2017


217 Comments


So this is basic pop? It's a shame, cause the cover legit looks like they were channeling early 90's Hole...

DatsNotDaMetulz
July 2nd 2017


3830 Comments


Well they signed to a label owned by 5 Seconds of Summer. Of course it was inevitable that they'd drop any final traces of rock from their sound if that band is dictating what their albums should sound like.

wwf
July 2nd 2017


6266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

'So this is basic pop? It's a shame, cause the cover legit looks like they were channeling early 90's Hole...'



oh yeah that's the exact sort of sound you should definitely not expect from this album probably

Divaman
July 2nd 2017


3472 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, there's not even a trace of Hole here.



Thanks, Doof.

GhandhiLion
July 3rd 2017


4233 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Amazing album.

Digging: Colditz Glider - Properties of Light

wwf
July 4th 2017


6266 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh wow this is clearly teenage girl music made by teenage girls for teenage girls



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