Review Summary: didn't smile because i forgot to breathe
Writing reviews is awful and I hate it. That being said, here I am on my tenth attempt to review this album. I'd hardly get past the opening paragraph before I’d get frustrated and delete everything. It sucks, but this album still needs a review. How’s that for an introduction paragraph?
Oso Oso is a very special band for me. When I was still a newcomer to the emo scene kicking and screaming to the wondrous tunes of Brand New, American Football, Modern Baseball, and the Hotelier, I found myself hungry for more. After scrolling through Reddit recommendations and the “related bands” spot on Sputnik, I discovered Real Stories
. I was hooked immediately.
is quite simple at first glance. The first track, aptly titled “Track One, Side A” opens up with a very basic instrumental before turning over into the main riff. Jade Lilitri’s voice glides over the background guitar, bass, and drums as he begins the build up. This song reaches its climax about halfway through as Jade belts out, “you start to think your brain took too long and you said it all wrong, when you said nothing at all, and it seems you did it again, you pushed them away when you needed a friend.” Everything comes together flawlessly. Afterward, the song falls back into the background and becomes quieter and more gentle. This song is the best example of why this album works.
Every song on display is a pop-punk masterpiece, with long build-ups always being rewarded with insane hooks and finales to the tracks. “Where You’ve Been Hiding” is a solid example of this, taking advantage of having the longest runtime of any song on the album. Other tracks “Easy Way Out” and “How It Happened” also use a longer introduction to cause a stronger hook. These tracks showcase the band’s excellent songwriting at play beyond the memorable and intelligent lyricism.
Not every track is a journey, however, as simpler songs get ample time in the spotlight. “Josephine” is a seemingly lighthearted track with solid lyrics all capping it off with Lilitri shouting “have you ever ran at something head first, and then crawled away?” “Another Night” is another banger of a song, with constant dynamic and tempo changes to create a better experience for the listener. The overlapping vocals in the chorus really wrap the entire thing together. “This Must Be a Place” is yet another phenomenal track on display. With intricate rhyme schemes and drum beats that are never comfortable with repetition, this song brings a welcome warmness to the latter half of the album.
The closest thing to a “dud” that is featured on Real Stories
is the fifty-nine-second rush “This Must Be My Entrance.” It flies by in a blur and fails to leave anything of substance behind. I did hear/read somewhere that this track was thought of in the studio and Jade was not given enough time to fully flesh out the idea, which makes sense. It doesn’t bring down the album, but with a little more work put into it, it could easily stand on the same level as the other tracks.
The emotional climax of the album comes in the form of the layered acoustic closer “This Must Be My Exit.” Numerous vocal tracks are piled on top of each other on top of one central acoustic guitar, with backing claps and other guitar parts added to enhance the vibe of the song. It’s the most vulnerable we see Jade on the entire record, and because of that, it is one of the most memorable moments.
is an amazing album, there’s no way around it. For fans of emo and pop-punk, this will especially hit a strong chord. Jade Lilitri and company have crafted an insanely pleasant listening experience for anyone who wants to lend a half hour of their time. Oso Oso have made an album that clearly stands out from the pack. They come through with a unique sound and some of the strongest lyrics in the genre today. If we’re lucky, Real Stories and it’s follow-up The Yunahon Mixtape are just the beginning of what this band will go on the achieve.