As I type this review, "Brave Faces Everyone" has been out for nearly a year. I was hoping that some time between the release date and now, I would be able to listen to it while in the right emotional state to be able to write about it. I've come to the realization that I'm likely never going to reach that point so I've just decided to write the review now. The songs on here are equally tragic and fill me with anger. They make me want to cry, but they're also frustrating in a way which does make me want to burn it all down and start over because it often times does feel like we've come too far to try and change everything for the better.
Musically, Spanish Love Songs exists in that realm of bands that I listen to during the colder months (but can also enjoy in summer, just in a different way) Artists like All Get Out, Sorority Noise, Modern Baseball and The Hotelier come to mind. If you're not into any of those bands, you might still enjoy the sound of Spanish Love Songs but I'm not sure you'll get the same thing out of it as someone more influenced by what some think is emo but I really don't know what kind of punk to call it.
While one of the large themes of this album is death, there is also quite a few lyrics about money. There is an overall idea of how we are working to live but the idea of that isn't really living. We're all struggling to get by, living paycheck to paycheck. Whenever I hear these words, I think of my grandfather. My grandparents (my mom's parents) had a farm and they made a good living by simply being farmers. They closed down the farm when I was still a kid, but it's funny how things have changed since they were running it and now when I'm an adult. You can't just work one job for 40 hours a week and make enough money to pay all of your bills any more.
You could take an entire economics course to figure out what went wrong with society. How we went from living the dream of going to college, getting a job and getting married to struggling to pay off student loan debt, working three jobs and maxing out credit cards so that we don't have our cars repossessed. Someone else out there would be able to discuss this all better than I can, but I just know I'm in the thick of it. I'm watching it go by as the world keeps moving but we don't seem to find any real solutions or change. And as I said in that opening paragraph, it's a question of whether or not we can change or if it's too late and we just need to start all over again, wipe the slate clean.
Now I need to hit you with some harsh realities. On the song "Self-Destruction (as a sensible career choice)" there is a line: "It won't be this bleak forever... yeah, right" and as someone who has lived longer than the songwriter I must admit that, no, it does not get better. Life just has this way of getting worse. All of your problems in your 20's go with you into your 30's and all of your problems in your 30's go with you into your 40's and you're just full of more and more problems the older you get. It's not like you hit this magic number of age and everything makes sense and life gets easier. It doesn't. Or if it does, I haven't found it yet.
There are three types of lyrics on this album and they all can be found within each song. On "Losers 2" there is a line about money that says "The cost of living means the cost to stay alive" . When was the last time the people who make the laws actually went out into the world and tried to live off of minimum wage? I feel like things such as rent got more expensive over time but the amount of money we are paid to work didn't go up to properly reflect that. And this also just ties in with the whole idea of working just enough to get by, struggling, not feeling financially stable but rather trying to plan out how to pay $2000 worth of bills on a $500 paycheck.
And then we have the sadness. We have the emotional state of this album. It's the entire last verse of "Generation Loss", which ends with "Thought you were just complaining / But they weren't listening" The mental state of people might not ever be something easy to discuss or fix but the fact that it can be touched upon in many of these songs makes me feel a little bit better- a little bit of I'm not alone and it's not just me. I think that's all we can really do sometimes. Just know we're not the only ones feeling this way.
On the song "Losers" we get the perfect lyric which ties together the idea of being depressed with not making enough money: "My bleak mind says it's cheaper just to die" I realize money doesn't equal happiness, but I'm not asking to live in a mansion and be a millionaire. How about people just have enough money so they don't have to worry about their next meal or being evicted? Money won't buy happiness, but it can take some of the stress off of living. I definitely feel like, especially after listening to this album, that if people didn't have so many financial issues then maybe there wouldn't be so much emotional hardship as well. But all we can do is put on a brave face and pretend that we're fine.