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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Minus the Bear’s new album deserves a close listen

Published: October 9, 2014
Section: Arts, Etc., Top Stories

On Oct. 7, indie band Minus the Bear released their new album “Lost Love.” The interesting and random band name “Minus the Bear” actually came from an inside joke between a friend in the band and lead vocalist Jake Snider.

The new album includes songs with original names that seem to represent a sort of pain (“Broken China” and “Cat Calls & Ill Means”) and irony (“Patiently Waiting” and “The Lucky Ones”), describing the feeling of loss toward the love that they refer to in each song.

Most of the songs seem to have a similar tune and are heavily packed with guitar riffs, but the lyrics contain much more depth than the album title seems to indicate.

A lot of the lyrics contain a setting that grounds the song into a more somber tone that the audience can appreciate. For instance, in “Cat Calls and Ill Means,” the metaphor for the day on the lover’s face is “just late night, bar light/ a street lamp, a moonlit bedside … falling apart before sunrise.”

The beautiful imagery emphasizes the representation of the woman’s transient nature, being compared to the night, disappearing before sunrise. Toward the end, the lyrics mention, “the sun on our skin will start fires,” which is another rhythmic comparison due to the alliteration that powerfully reflects the power that the woman has on the speaker as she turns into a sun, causing their “skin to start fires” which demonstrates the suffering and frustration that she has caused each of them.

The song “Electric Rainbow” is one of the songs that contains more irony than anything else. Even the title suggests it with its colorful appearance. Through the lyrics, we can also see the sarcasm in the speaker’s voice: “Your mark has made you his, / And if you want to live,/ Let me suggest this:/ Get a gun,/ And get a car./ Get on the 25 South to Mexico./ Find some place and lay low, just lay low.” A lot of different interpretations can be made from this excerpt, but what came to mind is that the speaker views the woman’s new lover as someone who has complete control over her.

“Patiently Waiting” is another satirical song that again captures the bitterness the speaker feels toward his lover finding someone new. Again the dark imagery is set up in the song, with the night and the hotel bar and the “losing track of time” through the emptying of the glasses. The speaker swiftly and clearly changes to point out his disdain: “He found your gaze but you made him yours/ did you know you could take a man so easily?”

And again we also see the fleeting moments of the “morning.” This time we see that karma has come around through the next scene of lyrics: “Morning came and saw you alone/ he had turned into a note:/ ‘thanks girl, next time in my town/ just pick up the phone’/ it found the floor/ you found you weren’t at home/ it was a note/ just like any other guy.” These lyrics stand out because they aren’t as generic as most songs. The wordplay of “found” creates an unexpected juxtaposition of the note “finding the floor” compared to the woman, negatively “finding that she wasn’t at home.”

Additionally, the man’s written note is a bit different and bit absurd—he tells her to “call him,” which just dramatizes the irony even more with the inclusion of such a ridiculous situation (usually, people involved in one night stands unfortunately don’t even bother to leave notes—keeping contact with each other after is even more unthinkable).

But even after everything the lover has done to the speaker, at least he still thinks about her and gives her advice through the songs: “move, baby, move/ your life is falling on you”. Even though it may be through a mocking tone, the mood switches like a double-edged sword. He makes fun of her because, through unfortunate situations, she ended up with her other lover. Yet, his words of wisdom indicate he still cares about her.

At first listen, “Lost Loves” seems to be a trite album full of love, heartbreak and simplicity, but the lyrics prove otherwise through their wit, cleverness, irony and powerful imagery. Like their original band name, Minus the Bear succeeds in writing up creative lyrics.