ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY HEART EYES MAGAZINE.
First, I would just like to say that I’m a big fan of The Mowgli’s. I’ve been a fan for a while, so when I got the chance to review their new EP I was thrilled. The Mowgli’s have received plenty of love after releasing American Feelings March 1, and rightly so. Judging by the title, it’s no surprise that they tackle modern American topics like relational insecurity, digital communication, complacency and *gasp* actually having a difficult conversation. Let’s take this EP track-by-glorious-track.
“Hard To Love”
The Mowgli’s tracks have always been a staple on my road trip playlists. “Hard To Love” is no exception. It’s the beginning of March and as I listen to this track, I can see myself driving down a road, windows down, sun shining with a perfect breeze blowing.
The musicality of the track carries feelings of excitement and new beginnings without straying too far from the sound of the 2016 album “Where’d Your Weekend Go?” Do you notice the underlying guitar part? It sounds so similar to that of “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” by Shawn Mendes. While Shawn Mendes ends his track with freedom from inhibitions, The Mowgli’s lyrics stay firmly grounded in them.
“I’m a little bit hard to love.
I think I do that on purpose.
I know I don’t give you much.
I know it makes you nervous.”
I have to chuckle at these lyrics. They seem almost ridiculous when written out, but aren’t they relatable? Somehow the Mowgli’s pair this fun, upbeat melody with lyrics that showcase insecurities — a classic alt-pop pairing reminiscent of COIN. The positive melodic spin on an otherwise unfortunate case of feelings makes for a semi-sardonic disclaimer that should probably come at the beginning of every budding romance.
The Mowgli’s use this track to make a not-so-subtle jab at today’s culture and our fascination with modern technology and communication. With the practically unlimited access we now have to information and channels of communication, the number of those suffering from social anxiety and similar struggles is staggering. Or is it?
“We are all Mr. Telephone,” says Katie Earl “seeking answers from a device in the palm of our hands, but after all is said and done, how much more connected are we? How much can we gain from spending time inside our phones, and how much do we lose? There is a lot of love and knowledge and connection outside of our little boxes, and finding a balance is more crucial than ever before” (quote from Sideways Media).
The production of “Mr. Telephone” fits naturally with the technological subject matter, bringing an electro-pop feel with a call to action: Fight the fear of rejection. Put the phone down and actually let your voice be heard.
I actually reviewed this song prior to the release of the full EP for Heart Eyes’ New Music Friday. And I have to say, this might be my favorite track from American Feelings. This one track encompasses all that The Mowgli’s are trying to communicate about our American ways of life. I could gush on and on about the ingenuity behind “Norman Rockwell.” I’ll spare you the outpouring of emotion and just give you all the love I previously shared:
This song is genius. Not just because of the killer vocals and melody. (Can you tell I love The Mowgli’s?) But the title matches the theme perfectly! The track Norman Rockwell is clearly inspired by the late American artist of the same name. Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) is most famous for his depictions of common American life in The Saturday Evening Post.
“Without thinking too much about it in specific terms, I was showing the America I knew and observed to others who might not have noticed.” – Norman Rockwell
In “Norman Rockwell” The Mowgli’s have done the same. But instead of depicting the blessings of family and freedom, The Mowgli’s build a case against mediocrity by mourning complacency. They depict an average American, craving so much more than what a day-in-the-life has to offer. This song is for every heart that longs to break free from the mundane. Dear The Mowgli’s, Count me in.
“Talk About It”
This track throws me back with more classic rock influences than are typical for The Mowgli’s. But it also stays melodically simple, focusing more on a central message than complex chord progressions. The melody and lyrics change very little, but I don’t think it’s due to lazy writing.
If you’ve ever been on the verge of a relationship, your head has probably flooded with questions
Does he like me as much as I like him?
Is she flirting with me or is it all in my head?
Will confessing my feelings ruin this friendship?
They seem like such silly questions, easily answered with some common sense and maybe an honest conversation. But that’s where the song hits home. The repetitive melody and lyrics nag us just like those questions that plague our minds.
We could resolve the repetition and anxiety if we could just bring ourselves to talk about it.
So there it is — my review of The Mowgli’s American Feelings. I’ve been a fan for quite a while and judging by the quality and depth of this new release, I won’t be leaving anytime soon. And with a tour alongside Jukebox the Ghost starting this month, I’m anticipating many feel the same. The Mowgli’s have officially put words to our American feelings.