LANY, the indie-pop alternative trio, has played it safe and ultimately stuck to what they know and do best on their third album, mama’s boy: create wistful, raw, soft ballads that accurately and authentically portray unconditional love and the heartbreak that comes from it. LANY frequently leaves listeners in tears due to at least one track on their albums, and on this one, there are many. Though similar to their preceding albums and EPs in the sense of sound and lyric, the trio’s identity is undeniably their own and recognizable for an impartial reason, whether one is in favor of it or not.
Lead singer Paul Klein is an emotional and sensitive man, so naturally, each track is jam-packed with heavy lyrics. It comes as no surprise that the trio is so adored amongst the younger generation of women, given the standards Klein has set through his lyrics, for the way every girl desires to be loved. The opener, “you!” is the epitome of exactly that. Undoubtedly a standout, “you!” begins the album on a hopeful note that sadness won’t follow, but knowing LANY, that outcome is unlikely.
Although yes, other tracks like the pre-released “cowboy in LA” and “nobody else” continuously carries on the theme of a healthy and requited love that “you!” introduces, they arguably don’t compare to the more depressing ones in the way that they resonate and reach listeners who may be struggling with a variety of emotional issues, on a deeper level.
Klein’s vulnerability shines through most on the tracks that shockingly have less to do with romantic relationships, and more to do with his own internal struggles with his faith and family. Undeniably, those struggles are present on “if this is the last time” and the beautifully, preeminent “i still talk to jesus.”
Without these two tracks, the album would simply not be as exceptional as it is.
“if this is the last time” delves into the complex relationship Klein has with his parents. As he ages, he becomes more aware of the distress and pain he has caused them while growing up. Many mid-20-year-olds who make up a lot of LANY’s fanbase are able to relate to the difficult truth that their parents too are getting older. Klein encourages appreciating all that parents have done for their children, by mending old wounds. Nonetheless, it’s beneficial to move forth, given one never truly knows when his/her last time with their parents may be, as sad and depressing as it sounds.
As for “i still talk to jesus,” it hits and hurts like a hurricane. Listeners are sure to be drenched in their own tears while listening to Klein confess all of his wrongdoings in life, yet admit he still talks to Jesus, in a ballad with gospel undertones. Whether religious or not, the overflow of emotions the track evokes from believing one may not be deserving of His love, to knowing the trials and tribulations one has faced does not determine their worth and that goodness prevails, is burdensome yet comforting.
That doesn’t go to say that the tracks that surround heartbreak aren’t just as touching, because they are. If anyone knows the pain of not having the person they want so badly, whether it be because of toxicity or because they don’t feel the same, songs like “heart won’t let me,” “when you’re drunk” and “sad” will pull at the heartstrings while sending listeners into an orbit of mourning.
All three tunes tackle universal themes, such as not being able to walk away from someone despite knowing it’s for the best, a lover only showing interest when out and under the influence, and wishing that special someone missed you as much as you miss them. Undoubtedly, pain is present in all of these situations.
With LANY’s signature dream-like tone, it may be hard sometimes to differentiate one track from another. That doesn’t go without saying that its unique sound is what makes LANY, LANY. Three albums later, and the formula continues to work. Nonetheless, LANY is there to remind fans that love can be painful and suck, but it can also be beautiful and otherworldly. Without pain is without growth and new opportunity.
mama’s boy is the breakup album of the year that will continue to be blasted in teenage girl’s cars when love seems to have failed them, but also the same album girls will retreat to when they believe they found the one. Versatility at its finest.