Hello everybody! As you might know if you’ve read this post, I recently liked Oh Wonder’s debut album an awful lot. Thus, I’ve been listening to their sophomore quite a bit, and today I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on it. Onto the post!
Solo- this is a pretty strong opener to the album, it’s about a house party and feeling like you need to get away from people, which is pretty relatable. I really like the melody and rythym too, and I think the writing is super clever in the way it puts things. I LOVE the refrain. This doesn’t quite take Alessia Cara’s Here’s place as my anti-social anthem, but it is a great song about wanting to get away from people too.
Ultralife– this 100% deserves to be the title track, because it’s got such an upbeat vibe to it that it’s perfect for radio (even though I’ve never heard it on a single station in almost 2 years… honestly what is radio’s issue with indie pop?). It’s about finding someone or something that gives you a new perspective on life and it’s so gorgeously written and sung, and the melody is amazing. Josephine particularky shines on this track for me, especially on the chorus (which may be one of my fave choruses ever- I tend to prefer the pre-chorus but this is an excellent example of how to do a chorus!)
Lifetimes– this isn’t one of my absolute favourites of the album, but I do still really like it. It’s about climate change, which isn’t especially commonplace as a topic in pop music and I love that Oh Wonder are so original. I love how much this song does and how patchwork it feels (I’m totally stealing this description from Josephine, but it fits so ho hey), and the fact that Anthony gets some longer solos brings me much, much joy. I obviously love both members an awful lot and I think their voices sound gorgeous together, but I think Anthony’s is REALLY underappreciated by a lot of people.
High on Humans– it really makes me laugh that this is my fave on the album because I don’t think I could relate to it any less (it’s about getting a buzz from interacting with strangers) but it definitely is. Obviously Josephine and Anthony sound excellent on it, because they sound epic all the time, but I’m more obsessed with different aspects of music and the production here. The production is so strange but I LOVE IT, the melody is so fast but it always makes me want to sing along even though it’s impossible and those intermittent guitar riffs are just… I have no words. I could listen to it all day and never get sick of it
All About You- This song is about someone self-absorbed and selfish, and Anthony and Josephine have implied heavily it’s about politicians (they claim it’s not solely about a certain orange one, but it sounds an awful lot like it is in the lyrics…). I love how quietly scathing it is, and how cheerful it sounds doing it. The bridge is something special as well; I’m obsessed with the way it sounds!
Heavy- I do not usually enjoy disco music in the slightest, but Oh Wonder do it so well I’ll make an exception. This is really fun and upbeat, and especially enjoy the repetition sections and the refrain. Very different to my usual taste, but I’m a big fan overall. Also, it inspired Ultralife which makes me like it even more!
Bigger Than Us- this song is really beautiful, and it’s about a couple breaking up, but more because they’ve just grown apart; it’s very different to most break up songs so it’s really interesting for that reason, even though it doesn’t do anything revolutionary in terms of how it sounds (it sounds great, don’t get me wrong, it’s just quite simple compared to some of the others on here or even the last album), I just love the writing of it too.
Heart Strings– this has such a great synth line, and I love it for that alone. I also love it for its catchiness, and cleverness in using an upbeat melody to disguise the fact it’s actually a pretty sad song about feeling lonely and unloved in a relationship. It’s lots of fun to sing along to as well, and I just enjoy it a lot.
Slip Away- this is essentially Heart Strings but with a sadder sound to it and a bit more emphasis on how they’ve tried to make things work bit can’t. When I say “sadder”, think “I’ve just listened to it and tears are streaming down my face”. The pianos and soft vocals make this so soothing to listen to, and it’s simplicity makes it all the more stunning. Also, I keep saying this but Oh Wonder’s lyrical writing is just beautiful and I love the way they phrase such simple things in a way that makes them sound extraordinary.
Overgrown– don’t let the upbeat synths that kick this off fool you, it’s another tearjerker. It’s about wanting to go to any lengths to make someone feel less alone and it’s stunning. The imagery and description in this is just gorgeous, and that soaring chorus is absolute perfection. Also, the bridge is brilliant, and if you’ve ever read one of these music posts before you’ll know I love a good bridge. It makes me cry every time, and I love it utterly.
My Friends- this is apparently one of the most personal songs from Oh Wonder, because it’s about them feeling like they’ve abandoned their friends and that they’ll forget them because they’re always on tour. It is, as such, really sad and it definitely conveys the emotions they feel about the situation. I love the strings, the bridge and the chorus especially. However, I do think that the intro is a bit long for what it is, and I wasn’t sure if I’d like the song based on the first verse. Give it a chance if you think the same though, because it gets much better later on.
Waste- I’m going to be honest in that this is my least fave of the album, and I really wish it wasn’t because I’d love to have went out on a better note. I know it’s about being alone, but I can’t work out how specifically and I don’t really get it as a song. I also don’t really love the unusual structure because I don’t see why it *is* structured like that. Anthony and Josephine sound great, but overall I just don’t like this no matter how much I tried to convince myself I did.
Basically, this is brilliant (despite my finding the final track disappointing!) and I want Oh Wonder 3 to be released immediately. They are ridiculously underrated and if you’ve not heard their stuff before you need to give them a listen!
Have you heard of Oh Wonder/are you a fan? What’s your favourite song from Ultralife? If you’ve not heard of them before, do you plan to give them a try? I’d really love to hear in the comments!