Human emotions are strange. They fluctuate, they cause a million and one responses, and are also ridiculously hard to translate. However, Bad News Bears new album Battle Scars is a prime example of how real people and emotions can be brought to life through music.
Immediately jumping into it, Bad News Bears present “Hold,” which is a summer-track to its core. Add to it the creative choice of words that make up each line, and Mike Sacchetti came up with the recipe for something wonderful. There is something about it that is open, honest, and, above all, blunt. It seems to be rare when a song is blatant about what it’s saying. “Hold” is straight-forward, which truly adds to its appeal.
“Best That We Can” is easily a favorite of mine (yes, it has group vocals, so of course I am a sucker for it!). There is also something about this song that makes me feel nostalgic. I don’t know if it’s because it reminds me of the music I listened to when I was younger or if it just makes me miss sitting with my friends and talking about the highs and lows of a day. Either way, this is the song I found myself pressing replay on more than a few times.
“One in the Same” seems to take on an edge, while still adhering to the alternative sound of the album. This is an alternative-rock song by every definition of the word, but it fearlessly straddles the boundaries put up by genres, and boldly staying true to the sound of Bad News Bears, which makes it more rock ‘n roll than something overly hardcore. The only thing that could make this track even more perfect is if Cartel’s Will Pugh joined Bad News Bears on stage to perform it.
“Run Part I” is the shortest track on the album, acting more so as an interlude than anything. The best way to describe it is the love song of a person given a second chance with “The One That Got Away.” This song is essentially the moment in a John Hughes’ film. It’s John Cusack holding up the boom-box. It’s Judd Nelson’s fist rising in the air when the chance is finally given. But more than that, this isn’t just a love song for a romantic relationship between two people. It’s the story of loss. It’s the feeling of, “Oh, if I could just have a do-over…” This interlude seems to act in place of a title track, truly encompassing the idea of the emotional scars we all have.
Of course, the interlude beautifully transfers into “Under The Carpet,” which has a bit more of a melancholy tone to it. There is a somewhat defeatist attitude, almost self-depreciating. It’s a very real insight into how certain situations can make us feel. Honest songwriting at its best.
“New Again” brings a slower energy, almost haunting; a startling contrast to the high-energy that Bad News Bears has provided in their other tracks. Then, this quick guitar shred kicks the track up, and it seems to act as a continuation of “Run Part I” by really exploring the idea of surviving the complicated aspects of life. Never mind that it has one of the catchiest choruses ever, and delves into a more hardcore progression.
“Bloodsucker” is a favorite of mine, just for its chorus, which progresses into an almost-slow-dance, then picks up again. With the melodic “oooh”s, it’s impossible to dislike this track. There is very little I can say to describe it; all I can do is encourage people to give it a listen, and dare them not to love it.
While “Run Part I” dealt with the idea of loss, which translates really well into the album overall, “Run Part II” seems to be a resolution to the story being delivered. I admit, I’m not typically “into” repetitive songs, but something about this struck me. I don’t know if it’s the guitar that goes along with it or just the emotion presented in the repeated lines of “I was lost.”
Battle Scars finishes on “Young Hearts,” which is the anthem for anyone who is going against the grain, chasing their dreams, despite the way the “adults” in your life may look at it. I heard this at the right time in my life, where I am surrounded by people who are shaking their heads at me, like I’m ridiculous. Hearing this is both comforting and inspiring; you’re not the only one trying to break the mold!
In all truthfulness, I was completely thrown for a loop when approaching this album. After listening to it, I can do nothing but praise it for how wonderful it has been to listen to. Human emotion is brilliantly channeled, in a way that seems to be difficult for so many artists in today’s industry. Bad News Bears have presented an album that is well-deserving of praise.
Check out the track by track for the album here.
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