Album Analysis: Moving On

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(“Moving On” Album Cover)

Joshua King, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The Happy Return is an American band currently consisting of 4 members: Max Pinamonti, Davin Eagleston, Gibson Anderson, and Erik Methot. Their first album, Moving On, was inspired by their experiences in high school. Love, betrayal, and nostalgia, this album is perfect for those who miss their high school days. Each song tells a unique story, and they all blend together to tell the cohesive story of teen drama.

The first track, “Jackson’s Song”, tells the story of a teenager sneaking around and getting in trouble. The song describes sneaking out, touches a bit on drug use, and the web of lies that stem from being reckless. The line “I just told another lie, seems like they’re never on my side” refers to Jackson lying to his parents over and over again to try to cover his tracks, but all this achieves is resentment from his parents.

When making this album, The Happy Return had a fifth member, Benji Vanzandt, a Swedish guitar player who had to leave soon after they finished this album. The band wrote the song “Swedish Farewell” to express the feelings felt by Benji, who knew he had to go back home to Sweden but wanted to continue making music. The song repeats the lines “I don’t want to go” and “I don’t know what to do right now”, expressing the painful feeling of not being able to do anything to stay in the United States.

“Love Triangle” is quite self-explanatory when it comes to meaning. This song describes the feelings of one man who finds himself “caught up in a love triangle”. One verse describes the situation as “a bummer about a singer and a drummer, and about a lover,” suggesting that this was a situation where two bandmates are both in love with the same girl, both in a struggle against each other to earn her love. This is further explored in the line “now I’m in a pentagon, try to stay strong, we can figure it out,” referencing a pentagon used for fighting, suggesting a struggle between multiple characters.

“Nonsense” explores the struggle of trying to earn your parents’ approval, but always falling short. The chorus repeats the line “fear of losing all I got has got me wasting all my time,” expressing the constant fear of being a disappointment and cracking under the pressure. Never being enough is brought up once again when the singer states “I feel I’ve been so right but I don’t know enough”, saying that anytime they feel like they’ve done good enough, they are always put down by their parents.

“Time Flies” is a very smooth and steady song that delves into the bittersweet feeling of looking back at your time in high school and realizing it’s all about to end. The chorus “oh my how time flies” expresses that heavy feeling of missing the past, but needing to move forward. The line “I sit and wait, that’s all I do when I could be here just loving you” represents regret and the feeling that you wasted your time. A close second to my favorite track from this album, “Lola’s,” is a silly addition, but an important one. This song describes a Hispanic food restaurant close to the hearts of all of the band members. Lines like “without you Lola, I would be nothing. Beans and cheese on a tortilla and now I’m munching” sound very funny when you hear them, and they are, but I understand that feeling. Lola’s represents that one restaurant that you can always fall back on, and love every time. “Lola’s” is very fast-paced and energetic, creating a song that’s very enjoyable to listen to, despite the silliness of the song.

Nearly the complete opposite of “Lola’s”, “Easy Peasy” describes the hardship of losing a romantic partner, still being in love with them, and watching them get together with someone else. In the Pre-chorus, the singer states “Now we’re talking And I’m awkward like a kid I really hate the stupid thing That beats behind my ribs,” explaining the heartache he feels and how he doesn’t know what to do around her. The song ends with the singer letting out a loud yell in frustration, knowing that he can’t have her back and doesn’t know how to move on.

The final song of the album, “Lemonade,” is all about nostalgia and missing your old life and friends from back then. At the beginning of the song, the singer describes the pain he’s feeling by saying “rewind every day’s sublime, but that was all then and today here I’m in a melancholy state,” using the contradiction between the word “sublime” and “melancholy” to express the longing to go back to those old days. The chorus “oh how I miss those days, you were the sugar in my lemonade, some days I wish I was in seventh grade” also focuses on this, using the phrase “sugar in my lemonade” to describe his friends as the best thing in his life, and saying “oh how I miss those days” to suggest that all of his friends and the happiness he felt is all gone. A very sad note to end the album on, but I think it’s quite fitting. At the end of one’s high school career, nostalgia takes over and emptiness is felt.