In Love With The Regrettes
Written by Gianna Cicchetti
Graphic by Rebekah Witt
The Los Angeles-based band The Regrettes have been captivating listeners for the last few years with their spunk, energy, and talent as young artists. Two years after the release of their debut album, Feel Your Feelings Fool!, the band put out their sophomore record. On this new 15-track release, How Do You Love?, The Regrettes have covered the ups and downs of relationships in songs that all pack a punch in the best way possible.
The intro of the album is a spoken-word piece called “Are You In Love?,” in which frontwoman Lydia Night asks the listeners several questions. If you answer “yes” to any of them, she says, you are, in fact, in love. This introduction sets up the album perfectly; this minimalistic piece serves as a way to prepare you for the several upbeat, positive tracks to follow. When it fades, the first song, “California Friends,” begins. This track that was once a standalone single has such a summery feel due to its surf rock and punk influences. The song is addictive, with a chorus that is great fun to scream along to, a thumping bass drum, and loud guitars. In the song, Night describes falling in love with someone, but then feeling like she has to back out of that love (“I think I love you but then I think, ‘no way’”). The song has gained much attention for good reason, as it shows exactly what this band does best: fun.
“I Dare You,” the lead single from the record, is next. A song that has always attracted me from the second I heard the infectious guitars in its intro, “I Dare You” is another track about falling in love. Night sings about wanting the person she is in love with to also fall for her because they are the person that makes her the happiest. To me, the song has a bit of a retro feel in its instruments, which makes me want to get up and dance similarly to how the band does in its music video. It’s a song that does not get old to me, even months after its release.
Third on the record is “Coloring Book,” a more mid-tempo song that primarily features just Night’s vocals and guitar. The song describes the things Night wishes to do with the person she likes, and how she wants to know if that person has mutual feelings. A very clever metaphor for love is used here: “I’ll color in the picture / If you just draw the lines.” There is a big build-up happening during the repetition of the lyrics “Anything can happen / So let it happen,” as the drums get louder and louder until it reaches a point where the full band is playing. The last minute of the song is one of my favorite moments on the record and it made “Coloring Book” a favorite upon first listen.
“Fog” is next, in which Night passionately sings about wanting someone despite not being able to have them, and then eventually making that person yours. The guitars that drive the song are kind of muddy in a way that takes me back to the sounds of older Hippo Campus songs, but when the chorus comes, so does a change of pace with loud, striking guitars and drums. It’s a song that took me a second listen to really enjoy, but its place on the album is still much deserved.
Track six is “Pumpkin,” which the band released for Valentine’s Day this year. The song describes a tumultuous relationship, and though there are highs and lows to it, Night can’t get enough of her boyfriend. The slow, bass-heavy beat of the verses and the mid-tempo chorus make it the epitome of a classic love song for me. I also love the use of outside references in the song, from the multiple films discussed in the pre-chorus, to the subtle Wallows reference in the first verse (the song is about their frontman, Dylan Minnette).
“Stop and Go” is a song that took me by surprise with its quick turn from acoustic to full on power pop. I jumped the first time I heard the shift and it made me more excited for what was to come. The song starts with Night wanting to end a relationship, but as the song goes on, she strays further and further from that choice and regrets putting the relationship into a bad place. The Regrettes’ choruses are always super catchy, and that doesn’t change here. Though not one of my favorite tracks on the album, I will admit I can’t stop thinking about the lyrics as I’m writing this!
Eighth on the album is another former standalone track, “Dress Up,” which has some of my favorite lyrics on the album. In this song, Night admits to have wronged her partner. It would be more ideal for this person to call it quits and leave her, but she begs them to stay because she truly does still love them. There are metaphors of physical injury inflicted on both the partner’s and on herself, showing that neither of them are satisfied with how things are going. The peppy guitars and drums in the song are a contrast from the apologetic lyrics of the song, but I am all for it. Overall, I think “Dress Up” is the best song the band could have chosen to open the second half of the album, since this and the songs that follow are no longer primarily about falling in love.
“Dead Wrong” is track nine on How Do You Love?. The instruments here are (to me, at least) reminiscent of music from the 1980s, but the song is nowhere near drowned in its influences. Though the person described in the song misunderstands her and makes her sick, Night is in too deep and begs them to stay in the verses. I absolutely love the recurring metaphor to physical injury in a lot of this record, especially some of the ones on this track that really show how dramatically this person affects her.
My favorite track on this record is definitely “More than a Month.” The song’s verses and chorus with a fast-strumming guitar, and passionate, angry vocals from Lydia Night who is totally in shock after a breakup and is yearning to know if this person misses her at all. The post-chorus slows things down as she questions whether or not she has a chance to rectify their relationship, but then it immediately swings right back into the punky energy that The Regrettes do perfectly. The same kind of pace backs the bridge, which fades into the end of the song, closing the song with a reminder to her former partner that she obviously misses them. The many phases the song goes through and the lyrics that are at its forefront tie together to make the song on the album that immediately stuck out to me the most.
Track 11 is “Go Love You,” a song about an egotistical, possessive partner who mistreats Night. The Regrettes are very good at making “fuck you” anthems, and this one is a prime example of that. The attitude in Night’s vocal performance really shows how much she dislikes this person and they make the lyrics become the most important part of the song. The drums that back “You can’t love me so go love you” make it something like a chant, and I can only imagine how fun it would be to hear this song performed live.
“Here You Go” is one of the poppier tracks on the record, but that isn’t a bad thing by any means. In fact, what makes it different makes me love it even more. The song is led by a fun bass line and some drums that make it a song that is super easy to listen to, even if you aren’t typically attracted to the music this band makes. I also love how this track shows a more gentle side of Night’s voice; though still angry in the lyrics, she takes a step back to deliver vocals a little differently. It’s a song that is bound to get stuck in your head, and one that I am a pretty big fan of.
“The Game” brings us back to another song in The Regrettes’ typical style. Night spends this song describing someone who is controlling in their relationship and makes things complicated, but she still plays their games nonetheless. There is a slight garage-rock feel to the song, with its fast drums and guitars. The angst packed into this song and in Night’s vocal delivery is unmatched by the others and it makes this song a great pick from the tail end of the album.
The penultimate track, “Has It Hit You?,” is a noisier track with louder and rougher guitars and drums. The chorus is one of the most energetic on the record, sounding as if Night is actually throwing punches at this person who is making her carry the entire weight of their relationship. It is so much fun to listen to, between Night’s sassy backing vocals and the buzzing beats behind it all.
The title track closes out the album without winding down at all. From moments that are almost like hand claps, to the overall punk influence it has, “How Do You Love?” brings one last burst of energy and excitement to the record. The song tells a bit of a story: Night sees a couple walking by who looks very affectionate to each other, and it turns her off from how fake it looks. She doesn’t understand the little things they do, and because of this, she evaluates how she shows love to her own significant other.
The Regrettes’ sophomore record, How Do You Love?, has shown the band’s growth in maturity, songwriting, and overall talent. The record reminds me of a fun, vibrant rollercoaster that is much worth the ride. It’s true to their roots, but also excitingly new. This young quartet of musicians is deserving of your attention, as they don’t show any signs of slowing down anytime soon.