When I first heard the music of We are the In Crowd I knew how much potential they had as a band, so I was pretty disappointed listening to their 2011 release ‘Best Intentions’. There were too many average, generic tracks that overshadowed the decent ones, and the album as a whole failed in my eyes. Understandably, I was sceptical to buy their newest record ‘Weird Kids’, afraid that it might destroy any last hope I had of the band producing what I still believed they were capable of. And I’m glad I did, as ‘Weird Kids’ is easily my favourite release of 2014 so far.
In a genre dominated by male leads, it’s always refreshing to hear the voice of a powerful woman leading the charge. Tay Jardine’s performance on ‘Weird Kids’ is both commanding and loving, varying perfectly to suit the mood of each track, making me believe every word she sings. Despite not being the strongest vocalist himself, Jordan Eckes (also one of the band’s guitarist) plays his part perfectly, adding to each harmony and providing the other side of the story for the band’s classic back-and-forth lyrics in tracks like “Manners” (the album’s 3rd track).
The best part about this record is that every song feels necessary, something which their past studio album couldn’t accomplish. It’s not often that every track is noteworthy (in one way or another), and the band deserves the highest praise for this. It’s hard to pick stand outs, so I’ll just write about every song…
‘Long Live the Kids’ is the opener of the album, and it perfectly sets the tone of what’s to come. It’s a catchy ‘call to arms’ of sorts, detailing the struggle of maintaining our youthful side when dealing with the struggles of growing up. It might seem typical from a pop-punk band, but that doesn’t make the lyrics any less relatable.
The next track, ‘The Best Thing (That Never Happened)’, was stuck in my head for about two hours, and that’s a good thing. It’s well-written, well-worked, and a great listen every time.
Track number 3, ‘Manners’, is that classic back-and-forth song I was talking about before. It’s something that WATIC do so well, and it’s easy to find yourself heavily invested in the song. You feel the emotion from Eckles when he shouts “I kept my mouth shut, I kept my mouth shut” while Tay sings “We tried, oh we tried”.
‘Come Back Home’ might not be the best track on ‘Weird Kids’, but it gets me every time. This song has a personal meaning for me, signifying the strength of the bond shared by old friends.
‘Attention’ picks up the pace again, and is an honest self-reflection of the band. An almost title-track, it puts into words what pretty much every teenager feels at some point in adolescence. It’s an extremely relatable anthem for “weird kids” everywhere to sing along to.
Opening with a simple yet strong guitar riff is ‘Dreaming Out Loud’, and the guitar is arguably this tracks greatest asset. It’s not the strongest song lyrically, and I’m still not entirely sure what Tay is on about, but that doesn’t stop me slightly bobbing my head in time with the beat.
‘Remember to Forget You’ was a bit too ‘Best Intentions’ for me, and it’s definitely my least favourite track on the album. Having said that, it’s still enjoyable enough, and the bridge is awesome.
I’m a sucker for songs written about family members, and ‘Don’t You Worry’ plays right into that. The lyrics, while clearly addressed to someone in particular (I would put my money on Jardine’s sister…), are still applicable to any family members/friends that are having a hard time. Once again, the bridge is the highlight of the song, combining motivation with unconditional love for what it one of the album’s most memorable moments.
‘Windows in Heaven’ follows on from ‘Don’t You Worry’ almost seamlessly. When it starts, it’s almost disorienting, and you can tell something is wrong. The simplicity of the song’s chorus allows the meaning to be easily taken in, and that means the emotion can take centre-stage, rather than the words. The lyrics could be about anyone who’s ever lost someone important to them, and it’s one of few songs that benefits from not being too specific. In short, it’s a beautiful song about living through death.
It’s almost a shock when the last track, ‘Reflections’, suddenly starts after just hearing ‘Windows In Heaven’, and it’s almost a parallel to Jardine’s own moving-on. This is what I like from an album-ending track. It sets the tone for what’s to come, not necessarily in the lyrics, but in the way it’s performed. “Destiny is overrated, so I think I’ll write my own” Eckes and Jardine sing, and it’s a perfect way to sum up ‘Weird Kids’.
In case you couldn’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Weird Kids’. It’s got everything a good record needs; the catchy songs, the powerful songs, the sad songs and the fun songs, but most of all, it has the personality and individuality that is so important for a band, something to set them apart from the rest of the crowd. ‘Weird Kids’ is awesome, and I’m truly excited for what the band has in store for the future.
(Although, Tay does need to work on her music video acting… The song’s still cool though.)