On June 11, 2021, London-based band Wolf Alice, released their junior LP, Blue Weekend. Four years after the release of their album Visions of a Life, fans were over the moon to listen to the 11 track album, with a music video accompanying each song. Blue Weekend takes the listener on a roller coaster ride, from head-banging to tracks like “Smile” and “Play The Greatest Hits,” to staring at the ceiling and contemplating life to “The Last Man On Earth” and “No Hard Feelings.” This album somehow takes every emotion, strings them together, and wraps them in a nice little bow.
“The Beach” eases us into the world of Blue Weekend, the gentle vocal cadence of lead singer Ellie Rowsell referencing Shakespeare’s Macbeth in the first verse. The chorus crescendos, tricking the ear into thinking the production will reach a climax. When the song does reach its peak, it’s like a punch in the gut. The layered vocals feel like a large wave crashing on the shore of a beach, which align with the meaning of the lyrics of the artist wanting to be taken into the abyss.
Moving onto a more optimistic track, “Delicious Things” takes us through Ellie’s experience in Los Angeles, California. She questions whether she belongs there, but takes the city and all it has to offer in stride nonetheless. This song feels like driving on Sunset Boulevard, not quite sure how you got there, but happy that you are. The production is easy on the ears, a pleasant yet impactful track.
The ending of “Delicious Things” fades into “Lipstick on the Glass,” one of my favorites on the album. Rowsell’s vocals steal the show, sucking you into the recollection of taking back her cheating lover. While the lyrics are melancholic, the instrumentals provide a hedonistic listening experience.
“Smile” is unlike anything from what we have heard previously. This song is harsh, angry, and chaotic, the lyrics adopting an “if you don’t like me, get over it” attitude. Drummer Joel Amey carries this track, making me want to mosh and break things. Released as one of the singles from the album, it definitely grabbed people’s attention.
After the high intensity of “Smile,” the track, “Safe from Heartbreak (if you never fall in love)” is a cool drink of water. As the title says, this song is about a relationship gone sour. Rowsell, clearly in love with someone who does not reciprocate the same feelings and was only there for the benefits. A cautionary tale, she vows to not be in that position again.
“How Can I Make It OK?” was my favorite track on first listen and has remained at the top of my list. This techno-rock anthem gives me goosebumps every time, showing off Rowsell’s vocal range. The production swells make me feel like I’m about to start levitating. In the lyrics, Rowsell begs this person to come out of their shell. She tries to show them how beautiful the world can be if they just give it a chance.
The next track is quite a jump scare, “Play The Greatest Hits” is forceful from start to finish. Similar to “Smile,” this song carries the same chaotic tone, and I love every second of it. Although it might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is another perfect song to mosh to. Rowsell shouts out lyrics about moving a boring party back to her place, and going crazy in the kitchen to good music. While the lyrics seem self-explanatory, there appears to be a deeper meaning to them.
“Feeling Myself” is exactly what the title says, a song about sensuality and feeling good about yourself. This is Rowsell’s siren song, hypnotizing the listener and the person she is singing to. With clever word play and a beautiful vocal performance, she puts the listener under her spell.
We break out of one headspace and enter another with the raw instrumentals of “The Last Man On Earth.” A beautiful piano ballad that brings something new to the album, this track could be considered their magnum opus. “The Last Man On Earth” is about a self-absorbed person who talks at people instead of with them. I’m sure we have all met someone like this, which adds a relatability factor to this song and helps pack the punch.
Continuing the melancholic tone with “No Hard Feelings,” this is a song about accepting that a relationship is over. Rowsell talks about her healing experience and how you can’t, and won’t, be sad forever. A short and sweet tune about how ending on good terms can hurt just as much as ending on bad terms.
The emotional roller coaster slows to a stop as we reach the final track of the album. “The Beach II” serves as a bookend to its counterpart, “The Beach.” This track is bittersweet, riding the line between happy and sad. A song about the healing power of friendships and how everything will be okay, no matter how it looks at the moment. While the lyrics provide an uplifting quality to the song, the production pulls on your heart strings, providing an indescribable feeling.
Blue Weekend by Wolf Alice is truly a no-skip album in my eyes, each song adding something new and different to the story it tells. This album might just be their best so far and I cannot wait to see what they do next.
Written by: Jordan Young