REVIEW: LANY’S “gg bb xx”
by Aileen Tran
LANY released their fourth studio album gg bb xx on September 3, and lead singer Paul Jason Klein poses himself, yet again, as a hopeless romantic. The Los Angeles-based pop group stays true to their signature pop-synth sound (reminiscent of a-ha if the 80’s were more tame), with the occasional acoustic ballad sprinkled in throughout the album.
In gg bb xx, LANY explores fleeting moments of love, reminiscing about an ex while still in a relationship, being the heartbreaker, and ultimately breaking up.
Listening to the album in one sitting, each song was almost indistinguishable from the next as the production for most of the songs was extremely similar. Sonically, this album was comparable to their past work. gg bb xx sounded over commercialized, as if it was purposefully made to be palatable for all audiences, sacrificing artistic integrity.
This comes as no surprise since their previous album mama’s boy (deluxe) was released less than a year ago, likely forcing this album to be rushed and made with less forethought. Don’t get me wrong, the album is catchy, but it seems gg bb xx lost the emotional rawness and authenticity of their previous albums, self-titled LANY and Malibu Nights, in order to rake in more money.
Lyrically, LANY seems all over the place with their emotions. The album opens with “get away,” where Klein croons about how much he adores his new girlfriend and doesn’t understand how her ex could ever let her go. Strangely, the next track “up to me” starts, again, with how he’s falling in love with his new girl but then he goes on to talk about how he misses his ex with the lyrics, “I'm not sayin' that my girl's not amazing, I keep looking for a problem but there's nothing wrong, The only problem is I can't turn her into you.”
Throughout the album, I caught the feeling that LANY tried too hard to come off as profound. Unfortunately, you can’t force that kind depth of lyrically — you either have it or you don’t. It seems like in gg bb xx, LANY tried to force emotional depth at the expense of coming off as pseudo-philosophical.
The rest of the songs follow the usual topics of falling in love, being heartbroken, and dating in modern times. Less relatable, LANY explores themes of dating in LA where Klein seems to put on this façade of a nice guy with a pure heart who doesn’t belong in LA. In the song “dna,” Klein sings, “sorry I call again when you don't pick up, And tell you you're beautiful but probably too much, I tried but I can't treat ya like the rest of LA, Oh, it's just not in my DNA to love you only halfway.” Personally, I found it to be overdone and, at times, corny.
Paradoxically, in the song “ex i never had,” Klein opens up about a brief fling with a girl where he felt he never had to end things with her because they were never “official.” With the invalidating lyrics, “it was never real enough for you to be mad, so why you out there acting like the ex I never had?” Klein seems to contradict his nice guy persona and condemnation for LA dating culture.
Overall, LANY’s latest album has a Today’s Top Hits-esque feel where I kept thinking, “I’ve heard this before.” gg bb xx isn’t something you would put on at a party, but maybe something mellow to put on in the background when you’re getting ready in the morning before you rush out the door.