Review Summary: An angrier Schmaltz.
Spanish Love Songs are guttural schmaltz: the panic of disappointing your family members, the death of a loved one, the depression that results from hating yourself. Yells barely mask the lyrics that create a creeping sense far more foreboding than the sonics alone.
One could call this album melodramatic, sure. It does have that emo overtone to it. But that misses the point, really, because the visceral events have a dramatic tilt to them already, and he's allowed to feel sad, and so are you. It all has that self-aware sincerity to it, too, as he admits, "I think I named too many streets and relied on the pronoun you."
The songs center a one-way relationship finally going haywire and his underpinning depression that probably needs some medication--and quick--but there's a little bit of all of us in there. I usually don't feel as human as when I first listened to this album, beginning to end, around 10PM on a cold and rainy summer Wednesday.
The greatest strength of this album lies in its imagery. To illustrate, I will point out that the album opens with the lines, "Hilltops covered in smog, and I can't breathe for what's felt like weeks, held together with duct tape but soggy like paper mache." Every track plays a balancing act between stream of consciousness and vivid description that somehow ties in together at the end.
One must address the elephant in the room: they sound so incredibly similar to the Menzingers. The band remains rather unapologetic about it, too. Still, I think the bands offer different life perspectives despite similar styles. It doesn't feel like a downgrade to listen to Spanish Love Songs despite appreciating the Menzingers, who, by most's opinion, have better technical abilities.
Not every song will stick with you. I certainly thought "Nervous People" was tired and ultimately couldn't connect, but couldn't help finding myself loving the Giant Sings the Blues. Somes lines garnered a chuckle like "I'll stick my head in a microwave to try and rid myself of the taste" from the track "Dying." Others pushed me into another's shoes like the chorus from "Vermont." He parrots his ex, "If I can't love you, why would you ever love me back？"
This album is rage, schmaltz before they came out with Schmaltz.