what separates rev blue Of all the teen albums before it, it’s Rankin’s subconscious, hyper-real songwriting, which goes against the current mode of starkly chronological pop songwriting where singers follow an emotion or idea without deviating. Rankin, on the other hand, is all detours and off-ramps, asides and parentheses, poking around in life’s undignified mess. She just signals a sentiment, allowing the band and their hit vocal lines to carry the listener the rest of the way. In her world, the worst thing isn’t running into her ex, but running into her ex’s sister at a drugstore who will casually offer that she has that “new love glow” on him. Murder, she wrote and a Belinda Carlisle song make memorable cameo appearances. Proust had his cookies; Rankin has Blue Rev, a nuclear blue malt drink sipped behind a skating rink on “Belinda Says” as one last giddy adolescent daydream before the early onset of adulthood.
From the band’s first single, HOF’s indie rock “Archie, Marry Me” to now, Rankin’s writing style has never been pretentious, just wise. When she is defenseless, she is “an assistant in the way life falters”; if she wants to leave, she will “graduate”; she is not single, she is “riding the handstand”. Near the end of the album, on “Lottery Noises,” Rankin sings one of the most crushing lines about a breakup, highlighting good fortune in the face of utter destruction: “I’ll always look for ways to remember the sound of the Lottery Noises that I can’t.” believe sounded to me.” like the sound of rev bluethe feeling is so layered and dreamy that the true underlying pain is basically invisible.
One more great line from Rankin, opening the triumphant “Easy on your own?”: “I dropped out/College education is a blunt knife/If you don’t believe in literate life/Then maybe this is our only try “. He gets to the fuzzy topics of rev blue: escape and return, stasis and change, how difficult it is to tell the difference between the two. It’s not the twisted stuff of high school hallways, but the mild fear of enrolling. Maybe this liminal, shoegazian state resonates with you, or maybe it’s O’Hanley’s guitar solo at the end of the great rave-up “Pomeranian Spinster.” rev blue it swoops between the sublime and the extremely sick, calming one moment and slamming you back into your seat the next. It’s cool and fair, it makes you feel cool and fair, you hope that when other people hear it they feel fresh and fair. This is the ancient currency of pop music, and rev blue makes it feel new again.
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