The most scary aspect of living is to not live at all. To hate and to fear, is to handicap our own happiness. It grants us superficial happiness when we prove that we‘re right to hate everything, but it never feels whole. it’s always just the slightest bit dissatisfying. And that‘s what’s most compelling about the latest album Something’s Gotta Give by Lil Emo Boy 2005.
Something’s Gotta Give is confession as a horror film. It is so overtly cathartic that it forces the listener to look under Emo’s bed— often the place where the monsters we fear hide. Usually the monsters under our bed are simply our own imagination, and much like horror films’s, our story is our journey to confront them. That is to say, we can overcome fear if we reclaim what’s under our bed as our own.
Emo confronts these monsters from the start of this album in declaring “I don’t want to be a punk anymore”. While at face value, this could be a reference to Emo’s more directly punk sound prior to this project, it strikes us as more. This intro track is Emo’s struggle to divest from the disposition of punk. While cynicism and aggression are integral to achieving punk sonics, Something’s Gotta Give asks what happens when those feelings become out worldview? It’s easy for one to hate everything but they can’t expect the wonders of life if they hate everything in its wake.
We think it’s also important to note that this project is the first that does not situate itself around guitar-centric arrangements. This album is instead punk in its droney texture-fields that buffer in the background like twisted chemistry. Emo is no longer concerned with hiding the message behind moshable, danceable drums; Instead Emo crams the message into your face like a kid over-sharing at show-and-tell day.
There’s something so hopeless about listening to Something’s Gotta Give in one sitting. It‘s so unabashedly unhappy and doesn’t seem to offer a resolution to Emo’s internal conflict throughout the album. Even closing track ”Forever Young”, a reference to the 1984 song by Alphaville, surveys the absence of time as an escape from what he fears. To be forever young means to never come in conflict with everything you hate. The closing track almost feels like A shrug after 6 tracks of groundwork, that leaves just a glimmer of hope but nothing more.
Something’s Gotta Give is surely a horror tragedy, but not that of new. It is not heavy on jump scares and flashy objects. It is instead horror of self-perception and the conflicts that arise from such. In staying young, while his self-image rots, Lil Emo is Dorian Gray in modern times. And much like Gray, confession is the only way to absolve him of the negativity he chooses to fester in.
We asked Lil Emo Boy about this and more in our latest ZOOMTERVIEW. Check out our Interview of Lil Emo Boy on YouTube
Listen to ”Something’s Gotta Give” below: