Review Summary: evolving into everyone else...
As the last chord faded on the album closer “melancholyism” (ironically a very sweet song), I immediately looked up some pictures and music videos of Super Whatevr, completely convinced there had to be some sort of shake-up in the lineup to explain such a drastic shift in the project’s sound. Sure enough, lead singer Skylar McKee decided it was time to rebrand his brainchild, excusing the entire band and venturing forth as a duo with new drummer Chase Vernon. Skylar’s oeuvre is still very much intact, as his brutally honest musings on love, relationships, and his state of mind are about the only thing he carried over from the well-received Never Nothing
. And while these musings weren’t exactly shrouded in obtuse metaphorical wordplay, don’t you wanna be glad
sees McKee tear up any semblance of subtlety in his lyrics and express himself unfiltered and tongue-in-cheek. In place of the soaring melodies and groove-laden guitars, Super Whatevr presents us in don’t you wanna be glad
…. an emo-synthpop album.
Super Whatevr was originally conceived as an outlet for the McKee’s poetry so it’s no surprise that he took his project in this direction. don’t you wanna be glad
isn’t an engaging musical piece, it’s actually very simplistic. But what it does do is serve as a vehicle for the poetry. McKee’s lyrics have clear parallels in its candidness to groups like Weatherbox, You, Me, and Everyone We Know, and Say Anything but have a palpable sincerity to them that lift the project above simple maudlin whining. McKee describes himself as a loner and in don’t you wanna be glad
he explores the effects of his crumbled relationships and the stresses of creating as an introvert. Many of the songs come from a place of personal pain, but McKee’s upbeat delivery emanates a feeling of hope, that these experiences are transitory and will give way to good times.
The issue with don’t you wanna be glad
is every facet of it can easily be traced to a contemporary existing construct. From the initial musical shift, to the tone, to the subject matter, don’t you wanna be glad
is such a product of the 2020 Twittersphere that at the end of the day it’s utterly forgettable. There will be those that can relate to the messages, there will be those who can bop to the music, but McKee’s new look Super Whatevr at the end of the day is devoid of any interesting personality. As earnest as don’t you wanna be glad
may be, it packs no punch, and even if it did it couldn’t land, as the group is being whisked away on the coattails of the dozens of bands doing the same damn thing.