Album ReviewMusic

ALBUM REVEIW: The Detour With Nightly

  • Post Author
    by Music director
  • Post Date
    Sun Mar 10 2024

By: Martha Kowalski

I love Nightly. This is not an opinion; this is a fact about me. I'd fallen in love with this band from the first note I heard of “the movies.” For so long, Nightly has been my standard of perfection, as evidenced by my article in 2021 covering their evolution up to that time, and their more recent songs “on your sleeve,” and “hate my favorite band,” had completely solidified that golden standard. So, I was incredibly ecstatic to find out about their newest album Wear Your Heart Out. But it pains me so much to say, this album tarnishes my gold standard to silver.

By absolutely no means do I intend to say I don't like this album – it is still great and I could never not like a Nightly song – but when I hear Nightly, I strongly identify them with their previous songs from Talk You Down and night, love you. The ethereal, hauntingly beautiful, hazy twilight indie mood of “twenty something,” for example, with intricate lyrics that still glide perfectly into the melody – that is Nightly to me, defined as their self-proclaimed label as “songs to drive to” – see “the car” for example. Nightly is supposed to make me feel magic.

This new album doesn't do that for me, at least not as quickly; I don't feel the magic as easily and I want so much to say that I do but I don't. A hint of glitter is trying to push through but it's too crowded for it to work its magic. The lyrics in Nightly's older songs told a storybook narrative that despite their complexity still flowed effortlessly in the music and yet were easy to sing along to – they had background and depth. In Wear Your Heart Out, the words have an inkling to turn into something great, but they don't feel complete to me the way they used to and often clash with the rhythm of the song, like in “shirt” – which is really a shame because it sounds so familiar to “so sly” – and “love somebody.” The album has good tracks but nothing captivates me like it should.

Only after listening through the album several times did a couple songs stand out to me. Except – “radiohead.” This piano ballad is perfectly reminiscent of the Nightly I know and love and took no time persuading me to be the favorite. It is soft, swelling, and true to the sound of “twenty something,” “older,” all the songs I know Nightly for, and its music video captures the mood exactly as I'm trying to describe – see the frosty flower scene below. “pink starburst” also could be a highlight because this is where I find the dynamic lyrics of comparing something concrete and well-known as a Starburst candy to intangible images like angels and the sky – a smart juxtaposition. Another song I simply like is “it's not your body,” It took me a while to warm up to it at first but after listening to it a couple times, it reminded me more of the style from the peppier songs of night, love you, with amazing guitar riffs, and more of a The 1975 fusion sound. Lastly, and literally lastly, I'm personally not a huge fan of “love somebody” but the outro of the album “love somebody (reprise)” is stunning, the heavenly vocals, dramatic strings, and the final echoing piano notes: Nightly perfection.

All this being said, there is much to appreciate about Wear Your Heart Out. The gorgeous guitar and drums that are a staple of the band are consistently well showcased. Tracks like “the feeling,” and “like i do” are simply enjoyable; the band also included a completed throwback in “whiskey, pt.2” – not meant to be taken seriously but a cool signal for older fans. Therefore, most of my critiques come from prior knowledge of the band, but for someone new to Nightly, they probably would like the pop flavor of the album, probably meant to draw in a larger audience.

Overall, Wear Your Heart Out is a good album, but not what matches my expectation of Nightly. This is their sophomore album so I know it has to be a little different, but I wish they had followed the lines of “on your sleeve” or “hate my favorite band,” even “lose my number,” three songs on their newer side but not on the album. The dim, soft silver sparkle of the mirror ball representing this album fits the tone of Nightly perfectly, and I so wish they had carried that imagery throughout the whole album – “radiohead” matches it perfectly, but “shirt” falls a little flat, a good idea just that something missing for me. I would still recommend Wear Your Heart Out, but it feels more like a work in progress than the final publication. Nightly, please go back to being twenty something and take this detour back to “songs to drive to.” This is still a really good album, just took me a few listens to appreciate it, which I've never had to do with Nightly before. Nevertheless, Nightly can never make me “hate my favorite band” (them). <3