By Martha Kowalski
Wait a second, this isn’t Nightly, I realized as the deceptively familiar guitar chords and slightly off-pitch vocals introduced the song. Everything about it sounded like it should fit, but it somehow didn’t. Very confused, I looked up and read “A Boy on a Phone,” by a band called not Nightly, but rather The Wldlfe. Nearly a mirror image of my beloved alt-pop indie band, The Wldlfe too has found itself in one of my top spots with their songs “You Don’t Love Me (Like You Used To)” and “The Other Side” from their 2019-2020 album Waking Up Is Hard To Do. True to their prolific production, with another year comes another album, and I’m here to take a look at all the colors of Repaint My Mind.
As any great painter – and apparently The Wldlfe’s cover artist – knows, all masterpieces begin with the primary colors, so let’s designate the basis of this album. Call “Forgive & Forget” the red, “Nothing But Time” the yellow and “Nightmare” the blue. These three songs, I would say, form the foundations of the album and the band’s style in general. While red is often associated with passion or anger, that’s not why I chose it for the album’s most delicate song. Instead, with red being the color of beginnings, “Forgive & Forget” is also the beginning of the album, the first track and the most resemblant of the band’s earlier classic songs, containing all the necessary elements that make up The Wldlfe’s music – the slightly synthesized vocals, trademark instrumentals and overall swaying, melodic feel. “Nothing But Time” is a cute narrative that fills you with a warm, fuzzy feeling – a positive ray of yellow sunshine throughout the whole day that you spend with your sweetheart – while “Nightmare” embraces the haunted, gloomy mood of a sad blue endless night of not being able to get over someone that broke your heart. These three songs for me are the core of the color palette of the album.
If you mix these primary colors together, you get green, purple, and orange– corresponding to “Box,” “Anxious” and “Blood Orange” respectively. I could never choose a favorite color, but I think “Anxious” is my favorite song on the album – with a bit of a harder edge to it, bringing in that red passion with some of the strongest drums and guitar on the album which contrasts nicely with its vulnerable lyrics. A close second is also “Box” – the result of mixing the melancholy mood of “Nightmare” with a bouncier yellow beat. With orange literally being in the title, I think “Blood Orange” requires little artistic explanation.
The remaining songs on the album seem to stand out a bit among this color palette, perhaps a little out of place but still relevant. “Perform Your Life” has a very concert-like feel to it while the title track “Repaint My Mind” is a full instrumental interlude to introduce “Blood Orange,” which makes sense sequentially since the title appears in the lyrics. If there is one small criticism I have it is that this album otherwise doesn’t have the most natural flow to it. When listening to these songs separately, you don’t notice it that much, but when you listen to the album all the way through, you wonder why “Perform Your Life” – a much more energetic song – doesn’t introduce the album but instead delegates that responsibility to the softer “Forgive & Forget,” which seems like it should follow the narrative of “Nightmare” or “Anxious.” On the other hand, by closing out with “Blood Orange,” the track captures the metamorphic essence of the album, in its title and its lyrics, “Repaint my mind blood orange so I can see a sunrise,” like waking up from the nightmares, anxieties, mistakes, and heartaches to the daybreak of a promise of something better, to a world where all the colors seem a little brighter. Overall then, I really like this album and think it is very true to The Wldlfe’s style, a consistent addition to my previous collection of their songs.