Sound — 7
For what it is, pop-punk is evolving. Whether you can see it or not, or believe it or not, the past few years we have seen a huge resurgence of pop-punk bands emerge into this scene - some of which are not so memorable, and some of which have made a huge impact on other bands in the scene. Real Friends happens to be one of the newer pop-punk bands to have hit the scene recently. They have released five EPs, with "Put Yourself Back Together" being the latest one released just about a year ago. These guys have been putting out EPs since 201 though, and have finally decided that it's time to write a full-length. Now that they're signed to Fearless Records, and getting on the bill for Warped Tour for the first time, they've gained quite some fans and popularity.
With that being said, I did catch their set at Warped with my friends, sitting in the amphitheater like "real friends" (pun totally intended) and somehow managed to stay there. Granted, I never really listened to this band before that day, but vocally, I was bored from their performance. We honestly only watched their set so we could get some shade and sit down... And I guess make fun of the band as "real friends." What a life, ehh? The vocals on this album just seem a bit forced, but at the same time they somewhat fit the music that they're playing. Think of bands such as Smashing Pumpkins, or Saves The Day. They don't have vocalists with much to offer, but they most certainly fit the music that they're playing. Other than the vocals, I think this band has a lot of talent to offer. The guitars, bass, and drums make the rest of the band come together, as a whole, and in the end, the band doesn't sound exactly like just a typical pop-punk band. Instead, we are met with many emo influences at the same time, and Saves The Day seems like a huge influence here.
Lyrics — 5
Most of the lyrics on this album come off as pretty emo, with pop-punk mixed in. For example, the first track (technically second if you include the intro), "I Don't Love You Anymore":
"No matter how bad I want you in my bed
I know that you found somebody else to be there for you
I'll keep sleeping sideways in my empty bed
To fill up the lonely space
I'm just a kid with too much lonely space."
"Summer" is another song that wreaks those descriptions.
"Stick with me, or don't stick around at all
I was the boy that was too scared and ran away
I was the glue that never dried
You were the girl that made up her mind and left me all alone to die."
One of the songs I just could not listen to at all (which happens to be one of the singles), "Loose Ends," does add in some okay lyrics that do change up the typical pop-punk/emo attributes:
"I know I've got loose ends leaving me to spend
Too many nights driving down dead ends
I guess I'm looking for something more than this."
"Sixteen" was another song I just could not listen to, which is the other single. I think the vocals just turned me away.
"Just when I think I need someone,
They wrap their arms around my old bones
And I start breaking apart
I walk away from anyone that cares about me
But I swear my skin's not as rough as I make it out to be
The saddest part is I've been distant since I was sixteen
It keeps me up in bed
I'm stuck here with all the choices I've made
And the chances I was too afraid to take
I've called myself young and stupid,
But lately I feel old and desperate
I find it kind of weird how you find yourself
When you have no one
I look for the right things in all the wrong places."
All in all, the lyrics seemed a bit too cliched in most instances. I don't mind pop-punk/emo lyrics, but nothing really grabbed my attention in this section.
Overall Impression — 6
Real Friends will be thrown into the mix of other recent pop-punk bands in the scene, but at the same time, they do sound a bit different, just not enough to really separate themselves as sounding purely original. Bands such as Yellowcard, New Found Glory, and for most of Taking Back Sunday's career, they all sounded original. RF seems to be just another part of this ongoing trend. While, that's not a bad thing, it's also not really a noteworthy thing. As far as I'm concerned, The Story So Far seem to be leading the pack of recent pop-punk bands that are actually worth checking out. But let's not drift away from the point that RF are talented, and trying. They're a young band trying to make something for themselves, so who knows, maybe their next album will be a huge leap.