A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

A Review-Based Student Publication of Townsend Harris High School

The Classic Critic

Pick-up Full of Pink Carnations: Is Rock Finally Making its Debut in Modern Music?

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(Photograph from Wikimedia Commons)

Copy Edited by Samia Orva

Indie rock band The Vaccines recently released their sixth studio album, Pick-up Full of Pink Carnations. Originating in west London, this English band began producing music in 2010, when their releases instantaneously grew in popularity. It was undeniable that The Vaccines would rise as the next big hit, and in 2011 they released What Did You Expect from The Vaccines? — their first and most successful studio album.Consisting of 10 heart wrenching and meaningful songs, Pick-up Full of Pink Carnations perfectly encapsulates the idea of loss and learning to let go.

The Vaccines’ latest release is heavily influenced by the west coast atmosphere, perfectly capturing the classic American pop and indie rock scene. As for the title, it was written in order to exhibit “the loss of dreams” as explained by lead singer Justin Hayward Young. The album starts off strong with the opening track  “Sometimes, I Swear.”  “Sometimes, I Swear” has a soft beginning, portrayed in the lines, “But I start to feel small/ When the gravity hits me/ I’ve got nowhere to fall.” The sudden shift from a euphoric, warm start to an upbeat chorus almost mimics the idea of how quickly emotions can change when faced with love. This song is backed up by meaningful lyrics, as they sing “Sometimes, I swear/ It feels like I don’t belong anywhere.” Repetition of these two lines portrays the emotional rollercoaster of seeking peace and closure, along with longing to know your place in the world.  Young confirms in an interview that the inspiration behind opening the album with a sentimental single like “Sometimes, I Swear” was meant to make one feel less alone in whatever they may be struggling with. In my opinion, this was the perfect beginning to keep the listener engaged as they journey through the album’s emotional path.

While the album has some more mellow, sentimental singles like  “Sometimes, I Swear” or “Anonymous in Los Feliz,” a majority of the album is composed of outgoing, passionate songs such as “Heartbreak Kid,” “Lunar Eclipse,” or my personal favorite, “Sunkissed.”  Subjectively, “Sunkissed” was one of the most powerful songs in Pick-up Full of Pink Carnations. The song follows the theme of young teenage love that is bound to end, as per the band’s personal experiences. The opening phrase of the song contains lyrics like “Act like I remind you of the winter/ Dammit, you’re so cold,” painting the singer’s former lover in a regretful light, almost as if he views young love as a mistake. However, he subtly reveals his true feelings in the chorus, where he seems visibly lovestruck yet heartbroken, captivated by his longing for love. Through lines like “We were lying on the grass in reality” and “The wind ran through our forever hair…/ We were sunkissed,” The Vaccines successfully captures themes of love and yearning.

The Vaccines’ latest album did an excellent job at conveying the epiphany of love, all the while encouraging listeners to process and prioritize their emotional well being. Their meaningful lyrics and expressive beats illustrate the importance of closure and gratitude towards those we love and will forever cherish. Pick-up full of Pink Carnations is definitely worth giving a listen, along with The Vaccines’ extensive repertoire of studio albums. As someone who thoroughly enjoys all types of rock music, ranging from early 90s classics to present day artists, this album could be the very thing that exposes people to the endless rabbit hole that is rock music, making it no longer just a bliss to be preserved in the past.

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