Therapy for the ears
Some albums are good the first time one listens to them, but after that, they lose their spirit and magic, the songs become one big blob of sounds. Most people know from the first time they listen to an album if it is the special one, the album that they can listen to a hundred thousand times, and it is still amazing. Be Good by Off With Their Heads, is one of those albums. It is their second full-length album, and even a year later, the album feels new.
Off With Their Heads, consists of frontman Ryan Young along with bassist Robbie Swartwood, guitarist John Polydoros and drummer Kyle Manning. Young explains the meaning of the title and behind the album: “The title is an answer to that question of what you’re supposed to do now that the world is so awful and the climate of this stupid country is so shitty, be good, be loud—that’s sometimes all you can do, I guess, as cheesy as that sounds.” This year, the band released an acoustic EP Character with a couple of the most amazing songs on Be Good.
With “Disappear” as the first track on the album, the band manages to set the mood—the mood to disappear, be alone and yet be with people who actually understand them. The song is drifting right into the title track, “Be Good,” which makes them seem more than just connected by sounds. The song has a relatively positive message of just keep going, maybe even when you want to disappear. “You Will Die” channels a mantra that many in the younger generation have. “One thing stays the same/ We’ll Die either way,” it seems fitting because sometimes the news and catastrophes every day are just too much.
“No Love” is one of the most hardcore songs on the album—fast guitars and screams, just how the fans like it. The outro ends the song just as explosive as the song started. “Take Me Away” starts relatively slow. Absolute hopelessness takes over the song and the lyrics. It is a very relatable song for everyone who feels lost sometimes and needs a few directions through life. Young seems to have experience with people who keep their anger in. This shows in “Tear Me Apart,” as the singer repeats the desire to let out all the emotions, anger and energy. The lines, “Take the fact that you’re sweating in a fire and you’re glowing red/ Don’t stop ’til you’re done, and everything that’s in your path is dead,” show the excellent songwriting skills of Young. This could easily be a gym motivation. “Trash It” is another of these motivational songs—the desire to start new, without apologies.
The instrumental break almost reminds one of the early, early blink-182, which is always a good thing. “Let It All” connects perfectly with “Trash It,” and continues the theme of a “never look back and do your own thing” kind of attitude. Young shows one more time that screaming is super useful to get listener’s attention in passion with the song “Severe Errand.” The lyrics are easy to remember and so easy to sing and shout along with. “Locking Eyes” slows down the pace once more. It’s an emotional track, with pure honesty. Young realizes how easy it is to lose someone, but how hard it would be to keep them. The guitars mixed with Young’s vocals are destructive and angry, when not helpless and sad. The album ultimately ends with “Death,” a purely instrumental song.
Be Good is all-in-one therapy, and motivational coach. The album is honest and emotional while trying to figure out life. It’s a special kind of feeling people get while listening to the album: maybe it’s the feeling of home, of having a therapeutical talk with a best friend or something in between. Either way, Off With Their Heads can say they probably helped their fans in one way or another.