On March 16 of 2017, Minnesota-based indie pop punk band Remo Drive released their bravely titled debut LP, “Greatest Hits.” After releasing a number of singles and a mixtape from 2014, this LP includes 10 songs and an album cover that could be one of Weezer’s future covers, albeit more aesthetically pleasing. Speaking of Weezer, Remo Drive seems to be having some trouble deciding whether the Blue Album or Pinkerton is better. We over at Phantomwork are here to inform you that the answer is Blue. It has always been Blue, and it always will be Blue.
The album opens up with their previously released single “Art School.” The music video for this track is so indie it could poison you. From the framing of the screen, to the high-school setting, to the poppy colours, to the dancing girls and guys jumping around hallways with their instruments and everybody tearing apart their classrooms and the typical absolute mayhem that ensues anytime you let high-schoolers listen to moderately fast-paced pop punk. Though these guys are significantly more well-dressed than Blink-182 or Weezer.
By the time the listener reaches the second track “Hunting For Sport,” if they haven’t listened to any previous Remo Drive songs, they will realize the singer has a very distinct voice, one that is absolutely perfect for pop punk music. Not only is this song absolutely brilliant in its structuring as a punk song, but the singer’s voice gives him a certain charisma that stems from teenage whininess, lovesick nostalgia, and harmless rebelliousness. It’s like listening to a child try to burn their house down but only succeeding in setting their favourite toys on fire. A huge overarching theme of this album is heartbreak and high-school love. If you can’t stand high-school problems and think they’re petty and stupid then you can just go ahead and leave. This is a safe-space for teenagers to bitch whine and gripe about stupid things and have hella fun while doing it.
On “Strawberita,” the listener gets the sense that the singer has a really serious love-hate relationship with their former partner. From the “I could lose all the will I had to stay the hell away from you.” to the ending chant of “I want nothing to do with you!” This theme is present in most songs on the album. Their most popular single “Yer Killin’ Me,” the singer talks about how he doesn’t “wanna fucking be here anymore,” but also how he’s “sick of being your shoulders, you know I need shoulders too.” This album presents inexperience in dealing with complex emotion and heartbreak. It’s not known why young humans love this child-like sophomoric madness. Maybe it’s just nostalgia, but how can we feel nostalgic over something we’ve never experienced before?
While the album is overflowing with greatness worthy of praise, it is not without its shortcomings. One of the most common negative aspects of pop punk projects is that they’re generally too focused on one recurring theme in the lyrics and/or one style of music throughout the album. While Remo Drive largely distances themselves from their contemporaries with uniquely charismatic vocals, relentlessly aggressive drums, and a bassist that actually exists, they still stick to their guns for every song. Fans of Remo Drive will likely also agree that Remo should attempt to expand their horizons. Maybe include some more chill, American Football type music, or some more aggressive, Minor Threat type music. Either way, Phantomwork is meant for reviewing music not “correcting” an artist’s methods, and in this sense, Remo Drive has succeeded with flying colours.