By Joey Gibbs
The Gilded Age is a name that describes the fast economic growth in the United States during the late nineteenth century. It carries a double meaning, as gilded also means to thinly veil with gold and luxury. Essentially, the glitz and glamour covered up the millions of impoverished immigrants left to struggle to survive. While not so dire, LANY’s (an acronym for Los Angeles New York) new album “gg bb xx” is a hole of uninspiredness covered with suede and LED lights. The very radio friendly trio released the record on Sept. 3, having maintained the hype since their first single “Dancing in the Kitchen” dropped in June.
This album left a bad taste in my mouth. Overall, the songs were alright — LANY has a vivid and masterful way with their production and have dug a snug niche into the ever expanding alt-bedroom pop genre. Nostalgia is a very common online theme, and LANY hits it home as the material on this record takes us back to that oh so lovely edge of 2015. However, with their rather quick rise, I feel as if they are getting overconfident. A lot of these songs are fluffy — beautiful production, nice vocals, but with no depth or meaning. “gg bb xx” provides the listener with what feels like student film music — nothing more than nice background noise to accent teen melodrama. Their sonic and visual attempts to swindle young adults into their nostalgic edge comes across as shallow and, at this point, overdone.
As much as I do not like saying this, a lot of songs on this album sound the same. There seems to be a trend now to create songs with the full intention of having them trend on TikTok. The production across the album is strictly electro-pop, almost begging you to take out your phone and film yourself with the old camcorder filter. “Care Less” specifically stuck out to me as the weakest song on the rose-colored collection. They really could not “care less” with the quality of this song — the verse and melody are annoyingly repetitive, the instrumentation feels outdated, and the vocals are overall mediocre. The song serves the reader a bland picture of 2015 and fails to inspire the teen in me, which would make sense because frontman Paul Klein was nearly thirty in 2015.
Although I hold dearly the fact that all these songs sound the same, the lead single “dancing in the kitchen” is definitely the top track on this record. The vast well of human emotion and depth was fortunately tapped into for this track, as it twinkles and shimmers in all the right places. There is evident yearning in his voice, paired with pleasing background vocals that manages to bring out a little nostalgia in me. The track immediately after, “ex i never had,” is the second best track on the album. This tastefully atmospheric pop tune is vocaded beauty — a very successful blend of 2021 and 2015 youth. Not to mention, choruses on this album are wicked strong.
Like many albums of the 2020s, “gg bb xx” goes by really fast — rocking at roughly 39 minutes. Whether this be a nod to shortening attention spans or the desire to have excerpts of the song go viral, it adds dullness to the record. Music, like fiction, has the ability to teleport the consumer to a whole new world. However, these short albums simply do not have enough time to develop that teleporter. The focus, especially in the case of “gg bb xx,” seems to be on the individual song going viral rather than the songs working together as a collection. The album is lyrically lame — just an unoriginal rehashing of not feeling like you belong, whether it be in a relationship or a city. The production makes an attempt to tie this album together, but since it is basically the same across the board, my mind still focuses on silly questions like if the song changed or not.
LANY is a very promising trio who has already had a large share of success, to which I give them a lot of credit for. This album, in their discography as a whole, is lazy and commercial. I want next from them something profound and maybe a dip into different elements of pop— something to show us they are not just in it for the streams and cash.
I give it 2/5 Stars.