The journey that Hellogoodbye has faced since 2001 has been a long and odd one. They released their self-titled EP in 2004 and extensively toured for two years until the band released Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs! in 2006. With the release of their first album came great success: their single “Here (In Your Arms)” reached platinum status (selling over one million copies), the first full-length album peaked at the 13th spot on the U.S. charts, and the band won the MTV2 Dew Circuit Breakout.
After confirming that their sophomore album would be released in 2008 in a January 2007 issue of Alternative Press magazine, the band seemed to drop off and not much else was heard from them until August of 2009 when they released the single “When We First Met.”
It was later found out that the constant postponing of their sophomore release was due to problems with Hellogoodbye’s current record label at the time, Drive-Thru Records.
There were some legal issues, but Hellogoodbye was finally able to leave Drive-Thru Records on February 25th of this year (according to a Twitter post). After leaving Drive-Thru, the band was finally able to put a release date on the album that had been postponed for over three years.
They titled their new album Would It Kill You?, and it was released on November 9 on the Wasted Summer record label. It contains 11 tracks, the first being “Finding Something to Do.” It only takes five seconds of listening to realize that this is not the synth-heavy, power pop band from years past.
Yes, the lyrics are still about girls, but the all around sound has matured immensely. The catchy gang vocals and poppy acoustic guitars will keep you smiling through the song’s chorus: “driving home tonight/I didn’t see the lights/I was just watching you sleeping shotgun/I could’ve crashed the car.”
The band then continues through a brass-infested “Getting Old” into “When We First Met,” the band’s first single from this album. The song compares the time of the singer’s relationship with an unnamed girl to how long their hair has grown over the years.
Driven by infectious hand claps and Forrest Kline’s soothing voice, this track is certainly a great pick for a single. The next song is the slower “Betrayed by Bones” which was featured on a 2008 Ukulele EP, but now has added a full band including horns.
The band knocks out two more great tracks before getting into another must-listen, “The Thoughts that Give Me the Creeps.”
This song describes how Kline gets the creeps thinking about how it’s a possibility that him and his wife could have never met: “Oh, what if I never knew your name/ Oh my god, the thought’s insane/what if your love is not the same/as it seems in my brain/what if you’re not really in my sheets/oh just the thought gives me the creeps.”
The next notable track is “Coppertone,” which shows song of the year potential thanks to Kline’s fantastic vocals. Although the lyrics are not the best on the record, the overwhelming work of the strings and the full band makes it the most memorable track on the record.
The closer, “Something You Misplaced,” starts with Kline barely whispering over the guitar work but picks up by the end of the song, thus marking a great close to a great album.
Would It Kill You? does not sound like Hellogoodbye’s sophomore album; this record sounds like a totally different band wrote it and stole the Hellogoodbye moniker. Hellogoodbye fans will certainly not be disappointed with this new turn for the band. While they dropped the overwhelming synth and auto-tuned vocals, they replaced them with poppy guitar work and Kline’s fantastic voice. This is certainly an album of the year contender, and definitely the album of the year for the pop-rock genre.
Recommended if you like: The Format, Steel Train, and fun. Star Rating: 4.5/5.
Joe Deegan is a second-year mathematics major and can be reached at email@example.com.